Broc Nicol celebrates World Cup call up in Style – Perris Raceway, California, 9 May 2015
17 year old Broc Nicol, a rising star in the USA, won the Main Event at Team USA Night at Perris on May 9th. Earlier in the evening team manager Billy Hamill announced to the excited crowd in attendance that Nicol was named to the ten man USA squad for the 2015 World Cup in June, though the four starting riders for the opening event have yet to be decided.
Nicol lined up against Team USA 2014 members Max Ruml and Aaron Fox, alongside last chance winner Neil Facchini in the Main. After two failed attempts due to first bend incidents, Nicol made a blinding a start and was comfortable throughout all four laps to win. Triple 2014 Premier League winner Aaron Fox held on for second whist Ruml, who made a poor start, rounded Facchini at the end for third place.
Being that the event was a celebration of the rebirth of Team USA and the grooming of its next group of riders, it was fitting the main portion of the show was a 16 heat team event that replicated the basic format of the Speedway World Cup – four teams, one rider per team per heat. An added twist into this was that heats 5-12 would run using the 'earned handicap' format, where a rider was handicapped based on their finishing position in their previous heat. This proved to be an excellent call, as these middle heats filled the show with non stop entertainment with daring passing inside and out in every single race, Both Nicol and Fox remained unbeaten after three races, despite two heats each from a 30 yard penalty.
The team event saw the Vikings and the Aces pull away from the Eagles and struggling Rebels. Double point Joker wins for Dalton Leedy (Rebels) in heat 14 and Gage Geist (Eagles) heat 15 closed things up and left the scores Vikings 26, Aces 24, Eagles 24 and Rebels 22 going into the last heat. A victory for Vikings Max Ruml over Aces Nicol secured victory with the Aces second and Rebels third.
Standout performer on the evening was Vikings Dryden Gayle, who scored 8 point from his heats and showed much improved pace and speed.
Outside of first division there was a supporting cast of divisions that on their own produced a show worthy of headline.
Eleven Sidecars made the meeting and ran a traditional heats, semis and mains format. Heat 1 went to National Champions Bryan Motis and Josh Bennett, Heat 2 to 'Superbeast' Jeff Rowe and Ashley Gibbons, Joe Jones and Tom Summers the third. Veteran Jeff Medberry and Niki Davis won the Last Chance Heat for one of the two remaining semi spots. The powerhouses of Jones / Summer and Motis / Bennett were the semi final victors. Motis and Bennett got a lightning start to win the Main from flag to flag, but behind them an epic battle ensued with all three teams trading places, Jones and Bennett coming through for the runners up spot.
The Support Class had 11 entries. Each rider got two heats and points scored sent the riders to A or B Mains. The earned handicap format was used in round two of the heats. Ron Davis and Steve Bowen won the first round of heats. When the handicapping was employed, David Lynch held off Bowen to win heat 3, with Bentley Barrett, from the 30, winning heat 4. The Main produced a fantastic battle, initially a copy of last time with Lynch holding off Davis. However Barrett, recently returned to speedway after 14 years away, found the outside line and made a charge from 4th to 1st. Davis was able to get by Lynch to once more claim he runner up spot.
Though the three race wins by Sebastian Palmese in 250 Juniors is not surprise, it was very welcome to see a full class of four riders including two making their debut. Both Sara Cords and Jake Isaac impressed. The 150 Mini Class provided exceptional and evenly matched racing. Andrew Russell scorched to victory in heat 1, with Slater Lightcap winning heat 2. The main saw Dakota Shockley get a fantastic start holding off Russell for the win.
The event, held in memory and honor of long time speedway photographer Jim 'JT' Thorn who passed away last month, was the finale of a successful 6 race winter and spring schedule held at Perris. There is a one off summer race on August 1st, a Testimonial for the recently retired Eddie Castro, who is currently battling cancer. The 2015/16 season is scheduled to start on December 5th.
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