2012 USA team member and former World Champion Billy Hamill was first to the chequered flag at the Inaugural Speedway World Cup Challenge Cup at Perris Raceway on June 17th, but American Speedway came out of the event as the clear winner!
Riders, fans and sponsors came out in good numbers on father's day to help raise funds for the USA World Cup cause. The meeting was only conceived of three weeks prior but it caught the imagination of the speedway community who could actively partake in America's dream like comeback to the international big time by riding, sponsoring heats or simply coming to the races.
The First Division class featured 16 riders and four rounds of heats. This placed them into A, B, C and D Main events depending upon their points scored. All of the A finalists finished on at least 11 points - Charlie Venegas was the only unbeaten rider with Hamill, Jimmy Fishback and Tyson Burmeister all off of 11 points.
Hamill made a lightening gate in the final and was a deserved winner of an event he copromote with Geoff Arnold and Steve Evans. Southern California points champion Jimmy Fishback was 2nd place with former World Team Cup rider Venegas in third place.
The B final saw Shawn McConnell lead home Russell Green who passed Neil Facchini on the final lap. Aaron Fox was a faller. Eddie Castro, who had a mixed big of heats, starting with two lasts and ending with Hamill's only defeat led home the C Main from Jason Ramirez, Troy McConnell and John Marquez. Injuries and bike troubles meant the D Main was a one man show with Geoff Herkner taking the win.
1982 World Cup winner Bobby Schwartz also partook in the Division One program and was a hugely popular participant. Schwartz, who won all 5 of his rides in White City London almost 30 years ago also had his winning race bib from the event on display.
Division Two was owned by 15 year old Max Ruml who won both heats and the Main. Likewise a clean sweep in Division Three was done by Philip Santolucito The 250 Junior Main took four attempts with Broc Nicol winning after Dillon Ruml took both heats. Braydan Galvin also did a clean sweep in the 200cc Junior Class. The Pee Wee Main event was a thriller with Dakota Shockley pipping Sara Cords at the line.
The event raised a good amount of funding for the SWC with heat sponsors and many T-shirt sales adding to the funding.
Perris Speedway, the biggest track in California resumes racing on July 28th under its regular promotion of Carrie Hancock, Freddie Edwards and Vince Graves.
Division One Heat Scorers: Charlie Venegas 12, Billy Hamill 11, Jimmy Fishback 11, Tyson Burmeister 11, Shawn McConnell 9, Neil Facchini 7, Aaron Fox 6, Russell Green 5, Eddie Castro 5, John Marquez 5, Troy McConnell 3, Jason Ramirez 3, Bobby Schwartz 3, Robert Mellor 3, Geoff Herkner 1, Joey Donaldson 1.
A Main: Hamill, Fishback, Venegas, Burmeister
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