Benny Mears Appreciation Night - San Bernardino, CA, USA - June 8
Former World Champion Billy "The Bullet" Hamill won all five of his races, including the main event, for a clean sweep of the program at Benny Mears Appreciation Night at Inland Motorcycle Speedway in San Bernardino.
Hamill's perfect score allowed him to pick his starting position for the main event first and he chose gate one. "Fast" Eddie Castro jumped at the start but stopped his machine just prior to hitting the tapes, but just as he stopped his momentum the tapes went up. His gamble came up snake eyes when he was last from the starting line and the race continued since he didn't gain an advantage and all the other riders had remained still. Hamill was first to turn one followed by former National Champion Charlie "The Edge" Venegas. Hamill immediately went to the ample cushion and blazed away from the field. After four extremely fast laps, Hamill scored a runaway triumph. Venegas finished second, Aaron Fox narrowly beat Shawn "Mad Dog" McConnell for third, and Castro was fifth.
Hamill started round two by beating Gomez. Venegas defeated Castro for his second straight win. McConnell finished the second round by beating Steve Russell.
McConnell began the final round with a defeat of Gomez for his second straight win. Castro used the outside to beat Russell in the final corner in event 18. In a match up of unbeaten riders, Venegas made the start but Hamill sliced up the inside then cut off Venegas on the back straight to take the lead and raced away with the win to remain perfect.
Venegas won the first semi with McConnell following him into the main event. Hamill flew to his fourth victory in the second semi with Castro's second place finish giving him the other transfer to the main. Gomez led the Last Chance race for a lap before Fox used the ample outside to take the lead, the win, and the final transfer to the main.
Mike Salyer led the Second Division Main Event for a lap but "Rattlesnake" Steve Bowen took the lead on the second time on the back straight. Bowen never looked back from there and raced away with the victory. Mike Wiley finished second, Mitch Pierson was third, Kip McClain finished fourth, Ron Davis was fifth, and Salyer ended up sixth.
Steve "Beach Ball" Brown scored a popular wire-to-wire victory in the Third Division Main Event. Brown, won despite it being just his second night back after an injury in the off-season. J.C. Masters was second, Jake Hansen finished third, Phill Santolucito was fourth, Rick Howard finished fifth, and Tom Bryant was sixth.
Courtney Crone took the lead ahead of Michael Wells at the start of the Youth 200cc Main Event while Braydan Galvin charged from 60 yards back. Galvin went around Wells and caught Crone at the end of the second lap. He went around her in turn two and raced off into the sunset. Crone held on to second and Wells finished third.
Sterling Martin and Alex Martin, sons of former First Division speedway rider Steve "Volcano" Martin, travelled from Northern California and impressed the crowd all night with their sibling duels in the Pee Wee Open heats and in the main. Sterling was a close victor in the main event over Alex.
The event at honored Benny Mears, an IMS staff member who puts in countless hours at the track not only on the day of the race, but throughout the week and the winter as well. The next event at IMS will have all divisions of speedway and also include the sidecars.
First Division Heat Scoring123T
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