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Champion Speedway
East River Drive
Owego, New York

Hank Basset Cup
Champion Speedway, Owego NY
July 21, 2012
by Kelvin Herrala

Mother Nature lent a helping hand to the drought conditions we have been having this summer by providing much needed rain on Friday the day before the Hank Basset Cup Race. "Dr. Dirt " Russ Cornell has been working his tail off to keep a good racing surface for the boys. With the water truck breaking down and the pond drying up a little rain went a long ways.

Hank Basset is an East Coast Speedway legend who's Racing career got cut short to the terrible disease of MS. I still can remember the headline in the News Paper " A New Fork in His career "that ran back in the early-mid 80's when he was dominating Speedway. Hank is the only reason that I started racing speedway. I was a motocrosser and stopped in his bike shop quite often. He said you need to try speedway and I did and was hooked.

The rider turn out was low due to the Canadian Nationals going on in Canada. That did not take away from the quality of program that was offered or how hard the boys raced for the Hank Basset Cup. In the first round of heats we saw Russ Cornell, Jesse Diem and Dave Clark ( Keith Hawkins went out with mechanical ) As the tapes went up Clark railed around the outside from the fourth gate position and down the backstretch bouncing his rear tire off the wall as he entered into turn three to go around Diem who had the inside covered. Diem did not let Clark get away and the two provided quite a show for the fans with Clark taking the win followed by Diem and Cornell. Heat 2 had the return of John "Boogie man " Lewis who was part of the Weslake wrecking crew back in the 80's, Zack Peters, Gene Bonsignore and Adam Mittl. Mittl who is known for his riding antics on the outside did not disappoint. There was a lot of dirt on the outside and very similar to the first heat Bonsignore rode a brilliant in side line holding the lead through the corners but the massive speed Mittl generated carried him to lead as they went down the straights. Finishing order was Mittl, Bonsignore, Peters and Lewis. Heat 3 saw the return of Tuff McBride who has his share of injuries this season. Joining him at the tapes were Jerry Harmon, Andy Crawford and track promoter Jason Bonsignore. McBride wasted no time showing the fans that he is still one of the finest shows on the east coast winning hands down with a brilliant ride start to finish.

McBride continued his winning ways and went into the A final on 11 points. Clark was the only man who denied him a perfect night after four rounds of racing and they would meet again in the A final. The four riders that joined McBride were all level on 9 points apiece and McBride looked well on his way to adding the 2012 Hank Basset Cup to his collection. As the tapes went up and the riders entered turn 1 side by side there was just not enough room for everybody and Clark found himself on the ground. McBride had made a superb start and emerged as the early leader but the ref threw the red and Clark was sent to the penalty line for stoppage of the race as he was slow to get up. McBride was not able to duplicate the start he had on the first go round as it was Mittl who made the track work for him and charged to the lead. When the checkered flag flew it was Mittl taking home the top honor followed by Harmon, McBride, Gene Bonsignore and Clark dnf.

Jesse Diem sitting on 8 points missed out on the A final but looked to be the man to beat in the B final. After the tapes went up and the riders headed down the backstretch for the first time it was Diem to the point followed by Lewis, Peters and Cornell. The young Diem made the bike work and showed he has what it takes to be in the A main by winning the B main.

A Final
1.) Adam Mittl
2.) Jerry Harmon
3.) Tuff McBride
4.) Gene Bonsignore
5.) Dave Clark

B Final
1.) Jesse Diem
2.) John Lewis
3.) Zack Peters
4.) Russ Cornell

1.) Don Wheeland

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