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Mark Williams

Costa Mesa Speedway
Orange County Fairgrounds
Costa Mesa, California

SRA U.S. National Championship
October 1, 2011
By: Ryan Evans
Photos by: Paul Flanders - Dorcey Wingo - JT Thorn

U.S. National Championship Final
1 - Billy Janniro
43 - Charlie Venegas
39 - Buck Blair
63 - Michael Raines

Costa Mesa Speeday Costa Mesa Speeday Costa Mesa Speeday

Billy Janniro won 6 straight races at Auburn followed by 5 straight races at Costa Mesa within 28 hours to “unify” the National Championship again.

Charlie Venegas rode to a fine 2nd place for the championship.

Buck Blair battled to take 3rd while Michael Raines just missed the podium before heading off to England with the American Touring Team.

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Kenny Hansen and Bobby Schwartz at work in the pits changing a tire between races.

Hedden, Fishback, Burmeister, Janniro and Abbott keep the safety fence from defying the laws of gravity while the track is drug between rounds.

Duane and Bryan Yarrow were there after Bryan took second the night before at the AMA national at Auburn.

Photos Below By Dorcey Wingo

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Here's what the 43rd Annual National Speedway Championship T-shirt looks like. They SOLD OUT before the race was over. Kurtis Hamill hones his balance, a popular skill among good riders. Costa Mesa Speedway Promoter and former National Champion Brad Oxley personally applies the track's hydration.
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Brad Oxley's riders meetings are highly detailed and instructional; and he don't need no stinkin' loud speaker, neither. The Main Grandstand at Costa Mesa Speedway is a nocturnal beauty.
Costa Mesa Announcer Terry "Ike" Clanton keeps the large crowd informed and involved.
Costa Mesa Speeday Costa Mesa Speeday  
When the smoke cleared, the top two had totally redeemed themselves, and Buck Blair to boot! While back-to-back 2nd Place finisher Venegas plays with his cork, back-to-back National Champ Billy Janniro hoses a slow-moving Trophy Girl, and 3rd Place Buck Blair gives Billy a close-up and personal blast of bubbly. * And will someone please get the Anthem singer a tele-prompter, for cryin' out loud?!

Photos Below by JT Thorn - Back It In Photos

Costa Mesa Speeday Costa Mesa Speeday Costa Mesa Speeday
Maverick Molloy and Gino Scopellite Inside Hayley Perrault with Tristan Britt Not sure.
Costa Mesa Speeday Costa Mesa Speeday Costa Mesa Speeday
L Buck Blair - R Billy Janniro Billy Janniro Billy Janniro
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Tyson Burmeister    

Billy "The Kid" Janniro won the United States National Speedway Championship for the second consecutive year and the fourth time overall with a flawless performance at the world famous Costa Mesa Speedway.

Janniro entered the National Championship Final as they only undefeated racer and first choice of starting position. The defending champion has spurned gate one in the past, but wasted little time in choosing gate one on this occasion. Two-time National Champion Charlie "The Edge" Venegas then picked gate two. Michael Raines, a surprise Finalist in just his second full year racing speedway, selected gate three. "Battling" Buck Blair, who made the Final via the Last Chance, was left with gate four.

When the tapes went up Janniro held a slight lead over Blair as they entered turn one. Janniro stuck to the inside line while Blair used the cushion to find enough traction around the outside. Janniro took control of the lead on the back straight and Venegas charged up the inside of Blair to take second as they entered turn three. Janniro opened up a comfortable lead by the end of the first lap and left Venegas to only hope for a catastrophe from the leader. Janniro continuously stretched his lead and took a peak back to surmise his lead the last time he exited turn two. His confidence and excitement became evident in the final corner when he ripped off his goggles, through them into the crowd, and pulled a one-handed wheelie across the finish line in a spectacularly single spectacular motion. Janniro received a loud ovation from the large crowd and he reciprocated by saluting them with several wheelies during what turned out to be several victory laps. Venegas finished second, Blair was third for his first National podium finish, and Raines finished fourth.

Four rounds of heats were kicked off with Janniro firing the first shot by blazing to victory over Charles Ermolenko and Venegas. Blair followed that with his first victory of the evening ahead of Northern California's Bryan Yarrow. Southern California season points leader Jimmy "The Little Animal" Fishback began his evening on a high note with a win over former Youth National Champion Jason Ramirez. Raines started fast by using the outside in turn one to take the lead and the victory over Steve Russell in event four. Doug "The Destroyer" Nicol, who was a reserve until a late withdrawal put him into the program, stunned legends Shawn "Mad Dog" McConnell, Bobby "Boogaloo" Schwartz, and "Flyin" Mike Faria by winning the last race of round one.
2010 National Runner-up Tyson Burmeister began round two by defeating Yarrow. Venegas trapped from the outside and held off Nicol in event seven for his first win. Janniro handed Raines his first defeat with a resounding victory in event eight. Aaron Fox led event nine for two laps but left an opening on the inside that McConnell exploited to take the lead and the win. Schwartz finished the second round with a win over Northern California's Tommy Hedden.

Janniro started the third round as the only unbeaten racer and he kept his streak alive by beating Burmeister. Raines got back on the winning track by beating Ermolenko in event 12.

Faria, trying to get his evening going, got the best of Venegas at the start of event 13. Venegas didn't go away quietly and he hounded the leader throughout the race. It appeared that Faria would withstand the challenge but Venegas snuck up the inside coming out of the final corner and stole the victory at the finish line.

Blair overcame his previous scoreless race to beat Fishback for his second victory. Hedden beat Nicol to end round three with this first victory.
The final round began with McConnell being penalized for touching the tapes. On the restart Burmeister went over backwards exiting turn four and brought out the red flag. Blair beat Josh Abbott on the third attempt for his third win in a row. Hedden used the ample outside dirt to control and win event 17.

Venegas and Raines both entered event 18 with their eyes squarely on qualifying directly to the Final. Venegas made the best start and led Raines all the way to the finish. Both riders put themselves in prime position to be in the Final.
Janniro and Nicol both came to the tapes in event 19 with aspirations of making the Final directly. Janniro only needed a second to guarantee a spot while Nicol could force a runoff for the direct qualification for the Final with Venegas and Raines, and possibly Janniro, by winning. Janniro ended any suspense by romping to his fourth victory and transferring straight to the Final. Nicol's third put Venegas and Raines into the Final and placed himself in the Last Chance.

Faria beat Russell in the final heat and put himself into a runoff to get into the Semi Final.
Faria, Ermolenko, and Ramirez tied with six points and needed to runoff to determine the last two riders in the Semi Final. Faria and Ermolenko showed their experience by finishing one-two and dispatched their teenage opponent to move into the Semi Final.
Burmeister kept his championship hopes alive by leading all four laps of the Semi Final to move on to the Last Chance. Fishback finished second, Ermolenko was third, and Faria finished fourth.

Nicol's went for broke in the Last Chance and his gamble cost him any chance at making the Final by going through the tapes and getting excluded. When the tapes finally went up Blair made a brilliant start and was hardly troubled by his competitors en route to victory. Blair moved on the Final, Hedden finished second, and Burmeister was third.

The 43rd National Championship was not the final event on Costa Mesa's 2011 calendar. The Fall Classic this Saturday, October 8 will be the final speedway event of the season for International Speedway Inc. Janniro will be making the trek from Northern California and will certainly want to show his fans and competitors that his championship hasn't decreased his will to win.


Youth 200cc Second Division Main Event
7 – Gino Scopellite
34 – Maverick Molloy
214 – Michael Wells
108 – Chase Sanborn

Youth 200cc First Division Main Event
98 – Broc Nicol
45 – Braydan Galvin
222 – Dalton Leedy
18 – Sebastian Palmese
23 – Shea Bendykowski

Youth 250cc Main Event (restarted twice) (awarded)
0 – Hayley Perrault
111 – Dillon Ruml (penalty line)
21 – Braden Sauer (penalty line)
104 – Kurtis Hamill (non starter – restart)
308 – Max Ruml (fell, excluded)

U.S. National Heat Scoring1234T
1 – Billy Janniro 333312
6 – Shawn McConnell 23005
8 – Bryan Yarrow 220F4
9 – Mike Faria 01236
11 – Bobby Schwartz 13015
14 – Eddie Castro 00112
15 – Charles Ermolenko 21216
23 – Steve Russell 20E24
25 – Jimmy Fishback 31228
26 – Tyson Burmeister 13217
39 – Buck Blair 30339
40 – Tommy Hedden 12339
41 – John Marquez 00101
43 – Charlie Venegas 133310
46 – Aaron Fox 021E3
48 – Tyson Talkington 11002
63 – Michael Raines 323210
66 – Jason Ramirez 21126
98 – Doug Nicol 32218
141 – Josh Abbott 00123
22 – Mike Bloom (R) Did Not Race
30n – Devin Defreece (R) Did Not Race

Race Results
1: Janniro, Ermolenko, Venegas, Castro
2: Blair, Yarrow, Hedden, Marquez
3: Fishback, Ramirez, Burmeister, Fox
4: Raines, Russell, Talkington, Abbott
5: Nicol, McConnell, Schwartz, Faria
6: Burmeister, Yarrow, Ermolenko, Russell
7: Venegas, Nicol, Fishback, Marquez
8: Janniro, Raines, Faria, Blair
9: McConnell, Fox, Talkington, Castro (fell, remounted)
10: Schwartz, Hedden, Ramirez, Abbott
11: Janniro, Burmeister, Marquez, Talkington
12: Raines, Ermolenko, Ramirez, McConnell
13: Venegas, Faria, Abbott, Yarrow
14: Blair, Fishback, Castro, Schwartz
15: Hedden, Nicol, Fox, Russell (engine failure)
16: (restarted) Blair, Abbott, Burmeister (penalty line), McConnell (tape penalty) (fell, remounted)
17: Hedden, Fishback, Ermolenko, Talkington
18: Venegas, Raines, Schwartz, Fox (engine failure)
19: Janniro, Ramirez, Nicol, Yarrow (fell)
20: Faria, Russell, Castro, Marquez

9 – Mike Faria
15 – Charles Ermolenko
66 – Jason Ramirez

National Championship Semi-Final
26 – Tyson Burmeister
25 – Jimmy Fishback
15 – Charles Ermolenko
9 – Mike Faria

National Championship Last Chance
39 – Buck Blair
40 – Tommy Hedden
26 – Tyson Burmeister
98 – Doug Nicol (tape exclusion)

U.S. National Championship Final
1 – Billy Janniro
43 – Charlie Venegas
39 – Buck Blair
63 – Michael Raines

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