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Venegas earns Challenge Series Spot
By Michael Kirby (Story & Photos)
AUBURN, CALIFORNIA, June 19, 2015
YouTube Video - by Anthony Bernardi
Veteran speedway rider Charlie Venegas won the third of five spots in the Challenge Elimination Series Championship Friday night at Auburn’s Fast Friday Motorcycle Speedway. The third round of the Challenge Elimination Series was cancelled June 5 when thunderstorms shortened the program and the event was made up Friday night. Venegas who on any night can beat anyone with flashes of brilliance on two wheels has struggled this year at Fast Friday’s and has yet to win a main event this season.
The challenge sets up five riders in one lap races where the best gate is critical eliminating the last place finisher with each one lap race. The final two riders run two laps for a spot in the five man championship on August 28. Venegas outlasted Billy Janniro, Bob Hicks, JT Mabry and Daniel Faria. It was Venegas and Hicks in the final two lap race which Venegas won leading Hicks the entire race. Venegas will join Bryce Starks, Tommy Hedden and round four and five winners in the championship.
Bryan Yarrow continues to demonstrate tremendous skill in the Division I scratch program. In this seventh week of the Fast Fridays season, Yarrow has made five of the meetings winning three of the scratch main events including Friday night’s finale. Yarrow drew lane one, and faced Greg Hooten in lane two, Billy Janniro in lane three and Bart Bast in the outside lane four. The inside lane has been hot this season with five of seven scratch main events winners leaving this gate including two of Yarrow’s three scratch main event wins this season.
There were two restarts in the main event with Janniro having bike issues and Hooten going down in the first turn. On the third start Yarrow grabbed the lead and held off Janniro who charged tightly trying to get around Yarrow who held his line the entire race forcing Janniro go wide if he wanted to pass. Yarrow increased his distance from Janniro and finished first. Janniro fell in line in second, Hooten was third and Bast was fourth. Yarrow’s no pressure relaxed riding style makes him hard to beat in any race and he continues to be a force in division one. Of the seven scratch main events this season Yarrow has won three and he missed week two and three, and is equaled only by current national champ Janniro who also has won three main events this season. “I felt good all night, I won my scratch heat and semi and just kept going, I’m just having fun and it’s always good to win the main event,” said Yarrow after the races.
Young Luke Becker continues to make a big splash in the Division I handicap program. Friday night Becker picked up his third Fast Friday’s handicap main event win this season. Becker, now riding off the 30 yard line was undefeated in the handicap program winning his heat and semi-final races to get into the main. “I’m feeling great, I just came back from Industry Racing and I actually won the handicap main event there too,” Becker said. Becker was chased hard by Bob Hicks who off the 50 yard line gave him the best challenge in the main, but the 20 yards difference was too much for Hicks to overcome. Next week Becker adds another 10 yards to his handicap and the racing should get more interesting for the sixteen year old. Hicks was second and Dalton Leedy was third.
Will “The Farmer” McCloskey picked up his second Division II main event win. McCloskey rode off the ten yard line Friday night and will now add 10 yards for next week. McCloskey won his heat race to transfer to the DII main event. McCloskey was able to keep Louie Mersaroli, who also won his heat race to transfer, at bay to secure the win. Mersaroli was second and Colfax’s Nick Dion was third. John Gauthreaux took the third division main event his second of the season. In an exciting race for second and third, Foresthill’s Cameron Beck, a newcomer this season to Fast Friday’s and speedway racing, was second and Harlan Bast was third.
In a talent filled Youth A 250cc division, racing against Auburn’s Colton Hicks could be frustrating but Napa’s Dylan Wagner 11, found a way to win the main event Friday night. Wagner has hung in there all season working hard riding against the likes of Hicks, Kyle Cunningham and Chase Guerrero. Friday night he was all smiles from the podium finally taking home the hardware. “I was just holding the pole going all the way around the track giving it full throttle and holding my line,” Wagner said. Guerrero was second and Cunningham was third. Hicks moved back to almost half way around the track and had his hands full trying to make up the yardage. In the Youth B 250cc division Landon Norton was first, his third main event win of the season. The Youth A 150cc division main event was won by Charlie Trana, and the Youth B 150cc main event was won by Aidan McNutt, his first of the season. Jay Fodrini won the Run What U Brung competition and Louie Mersaroli took the trophy dash.
Fast Fridays Results for 6-19-15
Division I Scratch Main Event
1-Bryan Yarrow, 2-Billy Janniro, 3-Greg Hooten, 4-Bart Bast
Division I Handicap Main Event
1-Luke Becker, 2-Bob Hicks, 3-Dalton Leedy
Division II Main Event
1-Will McCloskey, 2-Louie Mersaroli, 3-Nick Dion
Division III Main Event
1-John Gauthreaux, 2-Cameron Beck, 3-Harlan Bast
Youth A 250cc Main Event
1-Dylan Wagner, 2-Chase Guerrero, 3-Kyle Cunningham
Youth B 250cc Main Event
1-Landon Norton, 2-Sammy Tetrault, 3-Rich VanderMeeden
Youth A 150cc Main Event
1-Charlie Trana, 2-Cameron Krezman, 3-Sterling Martin
Youth B 150cc Main Event
1-Aidan McNutt, 2-Sammy Waddill, 3-Gregory Moore
1-Louie Mersaroli, 2-Derik Denzin
Run What U Brung
Elimination Challenge Round Three
1-Charlie Venegas, 2-Bob Hicks, 3-JT Mabry, 4-Billy Janniro, 5-Daniel Faria
Photos By Michael Kirby
||Auburn’s Aidan McNutt won the Youth B 150cc division main event, his first of the season.
||John Gauthreaux won his second Division III main event of the season.
||Will “The Farmer” won his second Division II main event of the season, also winning his heat race to transfer.
||Napa’s Dylan Wagner won the main event in the highly competitive Youth A 250cc division Friday night.
||Luke Becker continues to make an impact in the Division I handicap program at Fast Friday’s. Becker moved up from the youth divisions this year and has won three handicap main events so far this season.
||The start of the Run What U Brung main event. Jay Fodrini (far left) won the event.
||Charlie Venegas (right) won the third spot in the Challenge Elimination Series Championship to be held August 28 at Fast Fridays. Venegas shown here in a division one heat race against Shawn Eldredge (left).
||Bryan Yarrow was the fastest man of the night winning the Division I scratch main event Friday night, his third of the season at Fast Friday’s in Auburn.