Fast Fridays Speedway
Gold Country Fairgrounds
Fast Friday's Motorcycle Speedway
Gold Country Fairgrounds
USA wins Fast Friday's Finale
By Michael Kirby (Story & Photos)
AUBURN, CALIFORNIA, October 12, 2012
YouTube Video Compliments of Anthony Bernardi
USA beats the World 57-54 in Fast Friday's Motorcycle Speedway season finale.
They came thousands of miles and across the ocean to try to outwit the Americans on their home turf. Six world speedway riders from five nations took on six American riders in the annual Fast Friday's Motorcycle Speedway season ending finale Friday night at the Gold Country Fairgrounds in Auburn. This is the tenth USA vs. the World speedway goodwill meeting hosted by Fast Fridays, with many fans sporting their countries colors and waving their countries flags in the stands.
For the World team the riders included Joonas Kylmakorpi of Finland, Kenneth Hansen of Denmark, Lewis Bridger and Rob Mear of England, Cameron Woodward of Australia, and Adrian Gomolski of Poland. All riders with successful European racing credentials, with Kylmakorpi just crowned with his third consecutive FIM World Long Track Championship. All of the men race professionally in Europe on speedway teams. Riding for the USA was Billy Janniro, Tommy Hedden, Bart Bast, Bob Hicks and Charlie Venegas, all experienced veteran speedway riders up for the challenge of defending USA's honor on the speedway track.
With the World team out to avenge last year's 56-53 loss to the USA, they didn't show up to eat their lunch, and right from the first heat race it was on. The riders were teamed in pairs and they raced six rounds of three heats each scoring three points for first, two points for second, one point for third and no points for fourth in each race. It did not take long for the World riders to dial in the shorter oval at Fast Friday's, a track roughly half the size of the tracks they race on in Europe. On barrowed bikes the World led 10-8 after the first round with impressive first place finishes by Cameron Woodward and Lewis Bridger, as the two men set the tone. By the end of the second round the World had increased their lead to four points at 20-16. The score stayed steady with the World leading the USA by four points until the 11th heat race when a first place finish by Auburn's Bart Bast and third place finish by teammate Bob Hicks closed the gap to two points at 34-32 with the World still leading.
In heat race 12 the last race of round four, the USA took a one-two punch from Woodward and Gomolski from the World team with first and second place finishes and a combined score of five points in the heat that boosted the score to 39 points for the World and 33 points for the USA. Down by six points the USA decided to use their one time tactical "Joker" in heat 13 substituting Charlie Venegas for Tommy Hedden with Venegas' points double for that heat race. This move can only be used once and the team must be down by six or more points.
The move proved to be a wise one for the USA team as Venegas finished first gaining six points and teammate Janniro added two for his second place finish and the USA added eight points to their score and led for the first time since the first heat race 41-40. By heat race 17 it was clear that the winning team would be decided in one last heat race. The score after 17 heat races was the USA 53-the World 52, as Venegas and Yarrow walked to the start line for the USA in the final race. Bridger and Mear would represent the World and try to preserve the win. As the tapes went up it was Venegas and Mear battling for the inside line and Venegas who pulled ahead. Mear made a few fast, hard charging attempts to pass Venegas on the outside, but swung wide and lost ground. Venegas held on finishing first, Mear was second, USA teammate Yarrow was third, and World teammate Bridger was fourth. The USA added four points and the World added two points to their score. The final score was USA 57-the World 54.
The racing was exciting and the camaraderie inspiring as the two teams gathered at the winner's podium after the race and shared a handshakes and laughs, with talk of next year's international competition.
USA vs. World Scoring
USA 57 - World 54
Charlie Venegas 2 3 3 1 6 0 3-18
Billy Janniro 3 2 3 2 2 3-15
Bart Bast 2 2 2 3 2 3-14
Tommy Hedden 1 1 0 1 (dnr) 2-5
Bryan Yarrow 0 0 0 0 2 1-3
Bob Hicks 0 0 1 1 0 0-2
Joonas Kylmakorpi 2 2 3 3 3 2-15
Cameron Woodward 3 3 2 3 1 1-13
Lewis Bridger 3 3 2 2 1 0-11
Adrian Gomolski 1 1 1 2 3 0-8
Rob Mear 1 0 1 0 0 2-4
Kenneth Hansen 0 1 0 0 1 1-3
200cc Junior Main
1st Sterling Martin
2nd Colton Hicks
3rd Alex Martin
Photos By Michael Kirby