Perris Raceway, California 24 Jan 2015
Winter League Round 2
For the third time so far in the USA off season, Perris Raceway hosted a thrilling Speedway event on its European sized track, and once more the rapidly improving and growing young rider base gave good reason for every single American Speedway fan to be excited for the future.
As per the December 6th event, the main show was two 15 heat team events using the 2014 British Elite League race format. It was a busy night, however as in addition to 30 team races, there were 24 heats for other classes, and the 54 race show was completed in less than three and a half hours, including a 20 minute intermission where the track was re-bladed.
A closely fought match saw the Rebels edge out the Vikings by just three points. The Rebels opened with a 5-1 with Russell Green team riding Sean McDougall for the Rebels and Kurtis Hamill spectacularly crashing out as he bravely fought to break up the maximum. Mike Dalbey led a Vikings 4-2 in heat 2. Heat 3 was highly anticipated with Swedish star Kim Nilsson guesting for the Vikings. Nilsson, however, slid out on his own in turn 1. Green was the winner but team mate Luke Becker crashed out while on a 5-1 on lap 3, so the final result was a 3-2. Heat 4 was a 3-3 with 2015 Dream Teamer Dalton Leedy claiming a confident win for the Rebels. The Rebels took an 18-11 lead when Green and Becker combined for a 5-1 in heat 5, But a Kim Nilsson & Kurtis Hamill 5-1 over Leedy in heat 6 brought the lead back to 3. After a tied heat 7 the 'Little Missile' Luke Becker got the Rebels lead back to 5 with a 4-2 advantage in heat 8. A 4-2 back with a Dalbey victory in 9, followed by a 5-1 from Nilsson and Dillon Ruml over Green, swung the Vikings ahead 30-29 after 10. The lead did not last, however, as the Rebels, with Becker's third win in a row, got a 4-2 in heat 11. Two tied heats followed, including Kim Nilsson's untroubled third win in heat 13. Nilsson, however, blew his motor as the race finished and his night was ended. Leedy won again in heat 14 and this gave the Rebels a 3 point lead going into heat 15. The Vikings needed a 5-1, but it was not to be – Green made a spectacular gate but the 15 year olds battling behind him had the crowd on their feet. Dillon Ruml pressured inside with Becker winding it on outside. Ruml pulled off a stunning inside pass on the run into the line to win, but the 3-3 heat score gave the Rebels a 46-43 point win. The Vikings, again agonizingly close, picked up a consolation league point for the less than 6 points defeat.
The Aces won big, but the Eagles kept it as close as can be with two perfect double point Jokers. The top heavy Aces, led by USA's rising stars of Max Ruml and Broc Nicol, were simply too strong. The event opened with a 3-3 with Max Ruml leading home Eagles #1 Austin Novratil. Ricky Richards won for the Aces in a tied heat 2. Heat 3 had Nicol and team mate Neil Facchini on a 5-1, but Novratil passed Facchini to break the maximum and keep the score 10-8. Rocco Scopellite and Ricky Richards scored an Aces 5-1 in heat 4, with Ruml and Facchini repeating the feat in 5. Nicol won heat 6 and the resultant 4-2 put the Aces 24-12 up. Heat 7 saw Gage Geist rise to the occasion to win a double point Joker ride, reducing the deficit to just 7. However, Nicol and Scopellite bounced back with a 5-1 in heat 8, and Richards led an Aces 4-2 in 9 to make the score 35-22. Ruml's third win in heat 10 and Nicol's win in 11 put the lead to 15 points. The Eagles fought back in 12, with River McDougall, on a double point Joker, passing Hayley Perrault for the win. A 4-2 with Ruml's fourth win in heat 14 made the score 49-35. Geist and Scopellite were in an epic battle in heat 14, Scopellites challenge being ended early when Bruce Marteney's crash brought out the red flag after 3 laps. Ruml and Nicol team rode to a 5-1 and 57-39 victory in heat 15, but Novratil was challenging throughout in an epic battle of three of the best young talents in America.
The March 14th finale will have a Play Off element, with the top two teams (Rebels and Aces) meeting and the winners being Champions! In the event of a tie, the title will go to the Rebels based on better match points differential. The Eagles will need to defeat the Vikings by 7 points or more to lift themselves of the foot of the table.
Aside from the team races, 8 other classes competed. Luke Whitcomb dominated all three 150cc Mini Heats Division. 2 races, with Jake Isaac doing the same in Division. 1. Travis Horn (D1) and Rachel Schnakenberg (D2) also won all of their races, as did Sebastian Palmese who is already looking almost unbeatable on the 250. The Support Class raced combined in the heats, which were won by Mike Dalbey (2), Brad Moreau and Bentley Barrett. The Division. 2 Main was also won by Dalbey, with Wade Whitcomb and Greg Willis trading the lead several times in a thrilling D3 match race main. James Kinne and David Salke won the first Sidecar heat, but National Champions Bryan Motis and Josh Bennett struck back to win the 2nd heat and the thrilling Main Event.
The Winter League wraps up at Perris on 14th March with a 5pm race start.
Team Averages after 2 rounds
Averages are calculated – Points scored (inc bonus) divided by number of heats, X 4
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