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1996 Costa Mesa Speedway
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1996 Race Results

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1996 Costa Mesa Speedway

September 6, 1996 Costa Mesa Speedway
From: Gary Roberts

Scratch Main:
1. "Rad" Brad Oxley
2. Bobby"Boogaloo" Schwartz
3. Eddie Castro
4. Shawn McConnell
5. Rob Pfetzing

Handicap Main:
1. Don Odom
2. Jesse Finch
3. Rob Pfetzing
4. Shawn McConnell
5. Bobby"Boogaloo" Schwartz
6. Steve"bad boy" Lucero
7. John Aden
8. Eddie Castro

Support Class Main:
1. Brian Burch
2. David Lynch
3. John DeVries
4. Paul Binnquist
5. Charlie Cooley
6. Paul Colston

More good, fast, exciting, clean (mostly) racing form Costa Mesa. Last nights meeting was the penultimate regular Friday night session. Next Friday will be the Season Finale, then a 2 week gap till Saturday the 28th, then the US National. Qualification for the National is mostly established, except for 2 remaining places. Contenders for these, and still scoring points, are Jesse Finch, Eddie Castro, Jake Zemke and Don Odom. Needless to say competition between these riders was fearce.

Steve Lucero has been top points scorer this season, so his absence in the Scratch Main, left things wide open. Lucero failed to qualify for the Scratch Main for the first time in many weeks, due to two mistakes. Either would have been unusual for him, but both on the same evening put paid to his place in the Scratch Main. He had a convincing win in his first qualifying heat, but took time out to do a 360 on the first bend in his semi final. In the last chance race he touched the tapes and was disqualified. This was in the second attempt to start the race. In the first attempt, Don Odom did the same thing. The Scratch Main itself was good. The five starters reduced to 4 when Rob Pfetzing demolished the tapes in an attempt to get one of his super good gates. He was out. McConnell fell, but quickly remounted. The race was won in the last 10 yards by Brad Oxley, having followed Bobby Schwartz for all 4 laps. Bobby has an incredibly fast line making a circle out of the Costa Mesa oval, tight on the corners and by the wall on the straights. Brad Oxley cut inside him at the finishing tapes.

The Handicap Main was, as always was the last race of the night. Rider (and crowd) adrenalin was at a high. Potential National contenders Castro, Odom and Finch all qualified, all from the 40 yard line. A rider starting before the tapes go up in a handicap race, getting an unfair start is clearly less obvious than a scratch race. It is quite usual for Eddie Castro to qualify for this race and more often than not get penalized for false starts. Last night, several riders made a false start. It was so obvious to Schwartz and Lucero, that they didn't move when the tapes went up, several riders made false starts, the red lights went on, the red flag came out, but Castro and Odom continued in very close formation. Castro went down. Odom then got into a blows with Castro's pit crew, across the crash wall. The referee had words with Castro and it was announced that he was disqualified because of the behaviour of his pit crew. He still came out to take part in the re-run. All the other riders went back to the pit gate, the referee came out, sorted things out and the race was re-run. Because the track was glazed with a hard blue groove, there was only one real racing line, so the race itself was a bit of a procession. Odom and Finch, starting from the front, stayed there. It is unfortunate to see this type of behaviour, in what I still like to consider a gentleman's sport. Having said that, the crowd loved it. Castro's exclusion resulted in very clear customer feedback from the crowd to the referee.

Back from his 5 week absence with a broken collar bone, regular first division contender Paul Colston tried to ease himself into things at a slower pace, with a support class ride. He easily won his heat, but it was clear in the Support Main that he has not fully recovered. The Support Main was won, for the second time in 3 weeks by newcomer Brian Burch, who started from the front and stayed there.

The other fantastic piece of news is that Santa Maria speedway is starting up again under new management, on September 14. The previous promoters ran into financial difficulties and sold the operation this week to a Mr. David Chan, who I had the pleasure of sitting with last night. David is planning second division racing there every Saturday into October. From the one visit I had there back in July, I believe it will be a success. The track was very good, and there is a lot of local support. So the 6 month cultural vacuum that we all have to suffer in the winter will be postponed a few weeks.

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