Fast Fridays Speedway
Gold Country Fairgrounds
1273 High Street
AMA Speedway National Championship Series Final
Fast Friday's Motorcycle Speedway,
Gold Country Fairgrounds
Gold Country Fairgrounds
Janniro Wins Eighth National Title
By Michael Kirby (Story & Photos)
AUBURN, CALIFORNIA, September 16, 2017
YouTube Video - by Anthony Bernardi
Billy Janniro came into Saturday night’s fourth round of the 2017 AMA Speedway National Championship at Fast Fridays Motorcycle Speedway at the Gold Country Fairgrounds with a target on his back. But Janniro has had that big bull’s eye on his back as the man to beat in national speedway for so long it is now just a part of his racing leathers. It looks like that target will stay where it’s at for at least another year as Janniro won his eighth national championship in convincing style Saturday night in Auburn.
Coming into Saturday’s fourth and final round of the 2017championship Janniro 36, held seven national championships from the years 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2013-2016 and was looking for his eighth a goal that would tie him with world champion Greg Hancock. Hancock began racing in Europe in 1989 and is a four time Grand Prix world champion. Hancock last won the AMA Speedway National Championship in 2009.
Chasing Janniro for a share of the $10,000 championship purse were several young riders who watched him race as they were coming up through the youth program and began riding in Division I and regularly give him a good run for his money. Max Ruml 19, came into Saturday’s fourth round just four points behind Janniro after three rounds and was seen as Janniro biggest threat. Ruml also has been the runner-up for the last two years finishing second to Janniro in 2015 and 2016. Also coming into round four in the national championship hunt was Luke Becker 17, who won round one and Broc Nicol 17, who won rounds two and three and brought 44 points into round four. Gino Manzares 23, and Dillon Ruml 17, each could play the spoiler and could make it tough for Janniro.
The racing was scored three points for first, two points for second, one point for third and zero points for a fourth place finish. Two titles were at stake. There would be a series winner of round four and of course the crowning of the national championship. Janniro scored 20 points for the night just one point off a perfect score to win round four and ended the championship series with 72 total points to win the national championship. The one point he dropped was to Ruml when the two met in heat five.
Ruml rode well all evening and was seriously challenging Janniro. Ruml beat Janniro in heat five but stumbled in heat13 finishing third dropping two points. The top eight riders of the night after 20 heat races were then seeded into two semi-final races with the top two finishers from each semi-final advancing to the Grand Final. The first semifinal Janniro won and Aaron Fox was second, and the second semifinal was won by Max Ruml and Luke Becker finished second to advance to the Grand Final with Janniro and Fox.
For the Grand Final, Janniro already had enough points to have his eighth AMA Speedway National Championship. But up for grabs still was the winner of the fourth round of the championship series. Janniro brought 17 points and Ruml brought 16 points to the table. Fox came in with 12 points and Becker brought 13 points. Janniro chose lane one, Ruml took lane two, Fox was in three and Becker was out in four. As the tapes went up it was clear that Janniro was out to make a clean sweep and though Ruml pestered him a little Janniro closed the deal with the win. Ruml was second, Fox third and Becker fourth. Janniro finished with 20 round four points and 72 national championship series points and his AMA number one plate. Ruml finished with 17 round four points and 65 national championship series points. “It was a tough week, I was only four points up coming into the last round, to tell you the truth I haven’t been doing great lately, but when I showed up tonight I was 100 percent focused taking one race at a time,” Janniro said. “We are definitely looking for nine, then ten, and then we’ll talk about it after that.”
In the Junior program Sterling Martin won the Youth Speedway Main event, Kyle Cunningham was second, Dylan Wagner was third and Timmy Dion was fourth. In the Consolation Main event Landon Norton was first, Anthony Dion was second, Greg Moore was third and Landon Collins was fourth.
AMA Speedway National Championship 9-16-17
1-Billy Janniro 72, 2-Max Ruml 65, 3-Broc Nicol 52, 4-Gino Manzares 50, 5-Luke Becker 45
6-Dillon Ruml 41, 7-Aaron Fox 33, 8-Austin Novratil, 9-Gage Geist 24, 10-Eddie Castro 10,
11-Russell Green 21, 12-Daniel Faria 20, 13-Tommy Hedden 17, 14-Ryan Fisher 14, 15-Bart Bast 10, 16-Bryan Yarrow 7, 17-Charlie Venegas 6, 18-Bobby Schwartz, 19-Robbie. Sauer, 20-Neil Facchini.
AMA Speedway National Championship Round 4
1-Billy Janniro 20, 2-Max Ruml 17, 3-Aaron Fox 13, 4-Luke Becker 13, 5-Gino Manzares 11, 6-Bart Bast 10, 11-Tommy Hedden 6, 12-Danny Faria 5, 13-Gage Geist 4, 14-Russell Green 3, 15-Kurtis Hamill 3, 16-Eddie Castro 2.
Youth Main Event
1-Sterling Martin, 2-Kyle Cunningham, 3-Dylan Wagner, 4-Timmy Dion
Youth Consolation Main
1-Landon Norton, 2-Anthony Dion, 3-Greg Moore, 4-Landon Collins
Photos By Michael Kirby