Fast Fridays Speedway
Gold Country Fairgrounds
1273 High Street
Fast Friday's Motorcycle Speedway,
Gold Country Fairgrounds
Janniro Wins 7th National Speedway Championship
By Michael Kirby (Story & Photos)
AUBURN, CALIFORNIA, September 16, 2016
YouTube Video - by Anthony Bernardi
In a career that spans over 21 years of speedway racing Billy Janniro added another major accomplishment to a long speedway racing resume. Friday night at the Grand Final and fourth round of the AMA Speedway National Championship Series at Fast Fridays Motorcycle Speedway in Auburn at the Gold Country Fairgrounds Janniro won his seventh national championship tying speedway racing legend Mike Bast’s long-standing record set in the 1970’s. The win also brings Janniro just one national championship away from the current national record of eight championships held by world speedway champion Greg Hancock.
“It’s a relief, I’ve had a hard couple of weeks with my injury, but it didn’t hurt all night until the last few race I began to feel it,” said Janniro. “I honestly thought I would come here and win the ten or 12 points I needed to win the championship and watch the rest of the races but the competitive side of me said finish this out,” he said. Looking forward to next year Janniro said, “I have to win eight (championships) and maybe Greg (Hancock) will retire and come back here and we can battle it out for the next couple of years.”
The championship is decided in a four series format of total points accumulated over the four meetings, the final night here in Auburn Friday. Riders seeded in the championship earn three points for a win, two points for second, one points for third and zero for a fourth place finish. Over the four championship rounds Janniro finished with a total of 77 points and was never outscored in any round and was perfect with 21 points in two of the rounds including Friday night’s final. The riders rode in five heat race rounds then the top eight points holders in the fourth round were seeded into two semi-finals and the top two finishers then transferred into the AMA Series Grand Final. The top four finishers in the championship series qualify to race in Europe and the top eight series finishers are seeded into the 2017 championship series.
Chasing Janniro over the four rounds was Southern California’s Max Ruml. Ruml, just 19 years old has been building a very impressive resume of his own in a career that began in the junior ranks in 2008. Ruml came into the final round just 10 points behind Janniro. Ruml would need a fantastic night and Janniro a really bad night for Ruml to add his first national championship to his list of racing accomplishments. There was a chance, but the possibility was slim. Stacking the odds in Ruml’s favor was that just three weeks ago Janniro 36, was injured racing in a flat track event and broke his collarbone. On just three weeks rest Janniro was in a championship contest being chased by an excellent young rider close to half his age riding with a broken collarbone.
Through the five heat rounds Janniro was perfect. After three heats Luke Becker and Gino Manzares were just one point behind him but they had not faced him yet. Each race the riders started in different gates. Janniro, unfazed by his starting position was winning with excellent starts from any gate first to the inside position on turn one each time. Ruml dropped points in round two, three and four finishing second in each of those heats. After five heat rounds based on points Janniro with 15, Luke Becker with 11, Aaron Fox with 9, and Bart Bast with 9 points were seeded into semi-final one. The story played out the same again with Janniro inside in turn one and just increasing his lead to the finish line. Fox was second with an excellent effort, Becker was third and Bast fourth.
Ruml, after five heat rounds with 12 points, Gino Manzares with 11, Ruml’s brother Dillon Ruml had 10, and Broc Nicol with 8 points were seeded in to semi-final two. A great race between these young stars but Manzares lost control of his bike in turn three and went down causing a restart. Max Ruml raced to first place but not without some dogging from little brother Dillon Ruml who finished second. Broc Nicol was third and Manzares fourth.
Transferring to the grand final was first and second place semi-final finishers Janniro, Max Ruml, Dillon Ruml and Fox. Picking starting spots by points Janniro choose lane one, Max Ruml picked lane two, Dillon Ruml picked three and Fox was left with four. Janniro was mathematically already the national champion after round three, but with a win he would be perfect for the fourth round with 21 points. A crash or mechanical issue causing a fourth place finish for Janniro and a first place finish for Max Ruml would have tied the two top riders for the grand final round and caused a round four runoff. But none of this happened and is was business as usual for the now seven time national champion as he beat Max Ruml to the inside on turn one and just poured it on increasing his lead with each lap taking the checkered flag ahead of Max Ruml who was second, Dillon Ruml who was third and Fox who was fourth. “I came into the night thinking it was possible and I did all I could, but it is what it is, Billy (Janniro) is an animal, when he gets out in front it really hard to catch up to him,” Ruml said. “There is always next year, I’m not to bummed about it, my little brother (Dillon Ruml) ended up third on the night and third overall in the points as well, to go two-three with my little brother is a cool deal,” he said.
Janniro finished with 21 points for the final round and 77 total points for the four round series winning round four and the 2016 AMA Speedway National Championship. Janniro dropped just seven points over the complete four round series in 28 races. Riding like the true champion he is Janniro looks to have a least a few more championship seasons still in him. Even with a young group of talented riders chasing him each season it might be a few years before he turns it over to this excellent crop of future champions.
Along with the excellent and exciting championship program, a youth program was run. Kyle Cunningham won the Youth 250 A division main event, Timmy Dion picked up a win in the Youth 250 B division main event. Sterling Martin finished first in the Youth 150 main event.
2016 AMA National Speedway Championship Round 4 Results
1-Billy Janniro 21, 2-Max Ruml 17, 3-Dillon Ruml 13, 4-Aaron Fox 11, 5-Luke Becker 12, 6-Gino Manzares 11, 7-Bart Bast 9, 8-Broc Nicol 9, 9-Charlie Venegas 7, 10-Bryan Yarrow, 11-Tommy Hedden 7, 12-Gage Geist 6, 13-Kurtis Hamill 3, 14-Dalton Leedy 3, 15-Mike Faria 2, 16-Rick Valdez 0.
2016 AMA National Speedway Championship Series Results
1-Billy Janniro 77, 2-Max Ruml 63, 3-Dillon Ruml 46, 4-Gino Manzares 43, 5-Aaron Fox 42, 6-Luke Becker 41, 7-Broc Nicol 40, 8-Bart Bast 40, 9-Austin Novratil 31, 10-Tommy Hedden 25, 11-Charlie Venegas 22, 12-Gage Geist 19, 13-Kurtis Hamill 18, 14-Mike Faria 11, 15-Eddie Castro 8, 16-Bryan Yarrow 7, 17-Shawn McConnell 6, 18-Ryan Bast 5, 19-Dalton Leedy 4, 20-Tyson Talkington 3.
Youth 250 A
1-Kyle Cunningham, 2-Anthony Dion, 3-Cameron Krezman
Youth 250 B
1-Timmy Dion, 2-Adian McNutt, 3-Sammy Tetrault
1-Sterling Martin, 2-Alex Martin, 3-Sammy Waddill
Photos By Michael Kirby
||Billy Janniro won his seventh AMA Speedway National Championship Friday night at Fast Fridays in Auburn with a perfect score in round four of the championship series.
||Billy Janniro (left) is congratulated by Mike Bast (right) after his win Friday night. With Janniro’s seventh national championship win he ties Bast’s longtime winning record of seven national championships in the 1970s.
||Billy Janniro (right) and Max Ruml (left) get ready for the Grand Final Friday night. Janniro won the race and the national championship.
||Max Ruml in an early heat race shows his winning form. Ruml finished second in the 2016 AMA Speedway National Championship series.
|| Racing with a broken collarbone, Billy Janniro still managed to pull off a perfect score in the Grand Final and pick up his seventh AMA Speedway National Championship Friday night in Auburn.