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Inland Motor Speedway
National Orange Show
San Bernardino, California

Benny Mears Appreciation Night at IMS
June 8, 2012
By: Ryan Evans
Photos by: Dorcey Wingo

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It's Benny Mears Appreciation Night at IMS, no wonder they're so excited! 1st Division challenger Aaron Fox will appreciate the outside cush, before the night is over. Thirty Minutes to Race Time: Former WC Billy Hamill addresses the group.
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A remote controlled aerial camera platform performing a test for June 22nd @ 8PM sharp. There were mud issues throughout the first round. The riders dealt with it. "Lightning Luke" Whitcomb races to the checkered flag.
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Alex and Sterling Martin raced in the Pee Wee Open category, as in FAST. Michael Wells (left) and Courtney Crone - wheel to wheel rounding turn four. 200cc Ace Braydan Galvin is on a tear.
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Dalton Leedy drew 1st Division riders throughout the evening. Steve "Beach Ball" Brown celebrates his 3rd Division win. Last Chance. Fox will advance.
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The battle between Aaron Fox (outside) and Tim Gomez was epic. Main Event finalists gather with IMS Track Doctor Benny Mears. Main Event. The track is lightning fast.
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  Billy "The Bullet" Hamill, heading for another checkered flag.  

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 kicked off the heats with a win over Fox. John Marquez held off Castro to win the second heat. Venegas beat Tim Gomez to end round one.

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.

Luke Whitcomb led all four laps en route to victory in the Pee Wee Main Event. Nick Dunn finished second, Gavin Kearney was third, and Sean Tannerberg finished fourth.

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.


Pee Wee Main Event
27 - Luke Whitcomb
76 - Nick Dunn
49 - Gavin Kearney
4 - Sean Tannerberg

Pee Wee Open Main Event
31 - Sterling Martin
30 - Alex Martin

Youth 200cc Main Event
45 - Braydan Galvin 60
4 - Courtney Crone 0
214 - Michael Wells 0
28 - Adam Herkner 0(non starter)

Third Division Main Event
211 - Steve Brown 0
202 - J.C. Masters 0
123 - Jake Hansen 10
200 - Phill Santolucito 0
188 - Rick Howard 0
220 - Tom Bryant 20

Second Division Main Event
177 - Steve Bowen 10
101 - Mike Wiley 10
192 - Mitch Pierson 0
316 - Kip McClain 0
163 - Ron Davis 0
333 - Mike Salyer 0(fell, remounted)

First Division Heat Scoring123T
6 – Shawn McConnell 1337
14 – Eddie Castro 2237
23 – Steve Russell 1225
30 – Tim Gomez 2226
41 – John Marquez 3014
43 – Charlie Venegas 3328
46 – Aaron Fox 2114
48 – Tyson Talkington F112
104 – Billy Hamill 3339
114 – Troy McConnell 0000
177 – Steve Bowen 1102
208 – Geoff Herkner FR00

Heat Results
1: Hamill, Fox, Russell, T. McConnell
2: Marquez, Castro, S. McConnell, Talkington (fell)
3: Venegas, Gomez, Bowen, Herkner (fell)
9: Hamill, Gomez, Talkington, Marquez
10: Venegas, Castro, Fox, T. McConnell
11: S. McConnell, Russell, Bowen, Herkner (retired)
17: S. McConnell, Gomez, Fox, Bowen
18: Castro, Russell, Marquez, Herkner
19: Hamill, Venegas, Talkington, T. McConnell
Semi #1: Venegas, McConnell, Russell, Marquez
Semi #2: Fox, Gomez, Marquez, Russell (retired)

First Division Last Chance
46 - Aaron Fox
30 - Tim Gomez
41 - John Marquez
23 - Steve Russell (retired)

First Division Main Event
104 - Billy Hamill
43 - Charlie Venegas
46 - Aaron Fox
6 - Shawn McConnell
14 - Eddie Castro

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