2012 IMS Season Opener - San Bernardino, CA, USA - April 20
Former World Champion Billy "The Bullet" Hamill won a titanic battle with National Champion Billy "The Kid" Janniro and captured the first event of the Southern California regular season at the 2012 Season Opener at Inland Motorcycle Speedway in San Bernardino.
Janniro and "Battling" Buck Blair both entered the main event with perfect scores. Janniro won the draw for first gate choice and selected gate one. Blair stated, "I don't want to be the meat in that (Janniro and Hamill) sandwich" and picked gate four. Hamill, having only been defeated by Janniro in the heats, chose gate two which left Tyson Burmeister with gate three.
Hamill exploded from the tapes and held the advantage entering turn one and down the back straight, but Blair's race ended when he fell in turn two. Janniro didn't concede the victory to Hamill after just one lap and closed ground on the leader. Both racers went deep into turn three but Janniro cut his corner a little tighter to try to charge under Hamill on the front straight, but couldn't manage enough speed to get by. Hamill remained on the cushion and Janniro tried the same strategy as they reached the white flag, but again it was to no avail. Hamill withstood the constant pressure and was first to the checkered flag. Janniro had to settle for second, Burmeister finished third, and Blair was credited with fourth.
Hamill dominated the first heat while Burmeister's evening began on a sour note when a bike problem caused him to miss the race. Jimmy Fishback, the Southern California season points champion last year, began his season with a heat win over Aaron Fox. Janniro stormed to victory in the third heat. Blair held off "Fast" Eddie Castro to win heat four. Shawn "Mad Dog" McConnell ended round one with a victory over Tim Gomez.
Blair began round two by beating Fishback. Burmeister won the next hear while Neil Facchini made a brilliant outside move to get second. Hamill defeated Bobby "Boogaloo" Schwartz in event 15. McConnell was awarded the victory in the next heat with Michael Raines getting second. Janniro finished the second round by defeating Castro.
Hamill started the third round with a defeat of Steve Russell for his third straight win. Janniro matched Hamill's three consecutive wins by handing McConnell his first loss in the next heat. Schwartz led the first lap of event 28 before Burmeister went around the outside of him for the lead and his second win. Gomez was leading the next heat handily when a problem with his throttle on the last lap handed the victory to former Under 21 National Champion Justin Boyle. Blair kept pace with Hamill and Janniro by with his third win in a row to complete round three.
McConnell opened the final round by defeating Castro. Fox beat Facchini in event 35. Burmeister made it three straight wins with a win over Gomez.
Event 37 was the heat race everyone had circled in their program. Hamill and Janniro squared off in a battle of undefeated riders with Fishback joining them at the tapes. Janniro made the best start with Hamill in tow. A fierce four-lap battle ensued with Janniro holding off every challenge that Hamill could muster for a hard-earned victory.
Blair made a great start from gate four in the final heat to remain undefeated and place himself directly into the main event along with Janniro.
Hamill and McConnell were tied for the third and final direct spot in the main event. However, in an effort to expedite the program and in a great show of sportsmanship, McConnell put his promoter hat on and declined a runoff with Hamill and placed himself in the Last Chance.
Schwartz, Castro, and Facchini had to contest a runoff to fill the final spot in the Last Chance. Schwartz led for two laps, but a bit of grip in the wrong spot in turn two straightened him up and sent him toward the wall. By the time he recovered, Castro was past him and he went on to victory.
Burmeister led from gate one in the Last Chance with McConnell trying to make the outside work through turns one and two. Burmeister secured the lead on the back straight and never looked back. His victory put him in the four-rider main event.
Jake Hansen led the first lap of the Third Division Main Event, but was overtaken by Kayle LeoGrande as they entered turn one the second time. Kayle LeoGrande was never challenged the rest of the way and was first to the finish line. Tim McGrath finished second, Hansen was third, Ron Davis finished fourth, Dan Eddy was fifth, and J.D. Myerscough was credited with sixth.
Dalton Leedy was the initial leader in the Youth 250cc Main Event, but Max Ruml went past him on the second lap. Max Ruml lengthened his lead with each lap and went on to victory. Dillon Ruml finished second and Leedy was third.
Adam Herkner started the Youth 200cc Main Event at the front but was under attack from Sebastian Palmese as they entered turn three. Both riders went wide in turn four and Braydan Galvin made a brilliant cutback move to storm underneath both riders. Galvin immediately pulled away and cruised to victory. Palmese was second, Herkner finished third, Dryden LeoGrande was fourth, Michael Wells finished fifth, and Chase Sanborn was sixth.
Sara Cords was victorious in the Pee Wee Main Event. Luke Whitcomb was second, Julia Pierson finished third, Juliann Copeland was fourth, Nick Dunn finished fifth, Gavin Kearney was sixth, and Jonas LeoGrande was seventh.
Joe Jones and Johnny Glover led from start to finish and won the Sidecar Main Event. Rod Requejo and Gene Stone finished second, Dual Anderson and Matt Davis were third, and Jeff Rowe and Josh Bennett finished fourth.
The event marked the beginning of the fourth consecutive season of speedway at IMS. The pits were full as more than 60 racers and four sidecar teams competed. The competitors were greeted by a large and enthusiastic crowd and a well-prepared track allowed the racers to provide great racing. IMS will host the most speedway events in the United States in 2012 with the season concluding on October 5.
Third Division Consolation
First Division Heat Scoring1234T
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