Fast Fridays Speedway
Gold Country Fairgrounds
Fast Friday's Motorcycle Speedway
Gold Country Fairgrounds
North wins classic match-up
By Michael Kirby (Story & Photos)
AUBURN, CALIFORNIA, July 19, 2013
Fast Fridays Results for the Annual North vs. South Challenge July 19, 2013
A long standing speedway tradition continues at Auburn's Fast Fridays as the 22nd annual classic North vs. South Challenge was staged at the Gold Country Fairgrounds Friday night. The team racing format pitted six of the best Southern California speedway riders against six the best Northern California riders. It's a grudge match that dates back to 1991 and each year the teams battle for a year's worth of bragging rights. This year the North will again keep the Blue Gray trophy for another year by beating the South 78-57 in an outstanding night of racing in front of a near sell out Fast Friday's crowd.
This year's South's team consisted of Bobby Schwartz, a veteran in his 40th year of speedway racing, Charlie Venegas, Aaron Fox, Josh Larsen, Tyson Talkington and Mike Faria. The North's team included Billy Janniro, Bart Bast, Bryan Yarrow, Tommy Hedden, Bryce Starks, and Bob Hicks. The teams rode in 18 heats and raced in pairs. For the South, Venegas was paired with Fox, Larsen with Talkington, and Schwartz with Faria. The North paired riders Janniro with Starks, Bast with Hicks, and Hedden with Yarrow. Points in the heat races were scored three points for first, two points for second; one point for third and fourth place received no points. At the end of the heat rounds the A and B main event bonus rounds increased the scoring and the possibility of erasing a deficit or sealing a victory.
Going into Friday night's North vs. South Challenge the North led in the overall tally 14-8. The South came in wanting to avenge last year's loss, but from the beginning was out raced by the North. After the first round which ended with a tie score the South team never led in points. The score was also knotted again at 21-21 after seven races, but the North put the hammer down and the South was always battling from behind. At the end of 18 races, numerous tactical substitutes, and the use of a wild card rider which doubled the score for a win the score going into the main events was 62-48.
In the B main event which increased the scoring for finishes the North sent out Yarrow and Hicks to challenge Fox and Faria from the South. Fox surprised the Hicks-Yarrow duo riding great race and taking the checkered flag. Yarrow was second, Hicks third and Faria fourth. Each team received five points and the score going into the final race was 67-53 with the North still holding a commanding lead. Points for the A main event went up again and a win would tally six points, five for a second place finish, four for third and three points for fourth.
The final race brought out the four riders who scored the most points for their teams during the evening. Janniro and Bast lined up for the North and Venegas and Larsen for the South. At the tapes Venegas rolled a false start and was disqualified leaving only Larsen with the impossible task of scoring enough points to close the gap. From the gate it was the North all the way putting on demonstration of superior team riding. Janniro and Bast held off Josh Larsen and Janniro scored the win, Bast picked up second, and Larsen was third. "Lately the track has a little more moisture on it and that gives me a little more grip, I can go around and ride different lines." Janniro said. "I felt confident going into the last race, I told Bart, I'll take gate three, I know I can win it out of gate three." The final 2013 North vs. South score was 78-57 and the North racked up another classic victory.
Janniro was the high scorer of all riders with a perfect night and 24 points. He is coming off double main event wins last week and just riding at the top of his game at Fast Fridays. For the rest of the North team Bast had 19, Yarrow had 13, Hicks had 11, Starks had six and Hedden had five points. Larsen led the South team in points with 18, followed by Fox with 16, Venegas had 15, Faria had seven, Talkington scored one, and Bobby Schwartz scored none.
Though the North team won the event, all the riders came away winners sharing a good time together doing what they do best, for an appreciative crowd.
Results for North vs. South 7-19-13
Billy Janniro 3 3 3 3 3 3 6-24
Bart Bast 3 0 3 2 3 3 5-19
Bryan Yarrow 2 2 0 2 3 1 3-13
Bob Hicks 2 1 2 1 1 2 2-11
Bryce Starks 0 1 2 0 2 1-6
Tommy Hedden 3 0 1 0 1 0-5
Josh Larsen 1 3 1 3 4 2 4-18
Aaron Fox 2 2 2 1 0 2 4 3-16
Charlie Venegas 1 3 3 2 2 3 1-15
Mike Faria 1 2 1 1 1 0 1-7
Tyson Talkington 0 1 0 0 0 0-1
Bobby Schwartz 0 0 0 0 0 0-0
Photos By Michael Kirby