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1996 Costa Mesa Speedway
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1996 Costa Mesa Speedway

June 14, 1996 Costa Mesa Speedway
From: Gary Roberts

Scratch Main:
1. Steve Lucero
2. Robert Pfetzing
3. Gary Hicks
4. Shawn McConnell
5. Bobby Schwartz
Handicap Main:

1. Jerry Black
2. Bobby Schwartz
3. Shawn McConnell
4. Steve Lucero
5. Gary Hicks
6. Brad Oxley
7. Andy Northrup
8. Robert Pfetzing
Support Main:
1. Jason Daniels
2. Larry Rowley
3. Jeremy O'Neil
4. Danny Holt
5. David Lynch
6. John DeVries (n/s)

Some good racing, earlier on, but by the end of the evening the track was bare. Jerry Black started on the 30 yard line and the rest started on the 40 and 50. And that was pretty much the finishing order, because nobody succeeded when venturing off the blue groove.

Racing here is generally more interesting to watch than in the UK. There is normally plenty of overtaking, particularly in handicap races, and when there is dirt on the track. Costa Mesa is 180 yards around, so a more powerful machine is not much of an advantage, so skill plays a major role. A very small number of riders have laydowns, but interestingly the top riders still use uprights. Those that have tried laydowns have run into teething problems, notably carburation. I suspect the knowledge base is less here, and the top riders have stuck with a setup they know.

Another factor is that there is less money in the sport here to experiment with new equipment.

I went out for a practice ride on Sunday and met up with a rider who used to ride first division, but has not competed for around 5 years. Reason, he works nights and cant afford the time off work, or the expense of racing. He did a few laps on my friend's Godden and looked every bit as good as he did 5 years ago. Its unfortunate that his (and probably dozens of others) talent is not displayed to the paying public.

By the number of tracks, Speedway here has less popularity now than any other time in the 14 years I've been here. Having said that the crowd at Costa Mesa has been up so far this season, usually between 4 and 5 thousand. Glen Helen has closed, Lake Perris is running 3 races this year. Victorville is specializing in sidecar racing. Looking to the future, there is a handful of junior speedway riders who show enormous potential. I hope there are still tracks for them to race on, when they are ready.

Gary is planning to travel and watch some Speedway in England and Canada next month, and will not be sending reports from Costa Mesa, can anyone out there do it in his place? - (Editor)

Gary Roberts - gary_rob@ix.netcom.com

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