American Speedway  

1997 Champion Speedway
Race Results

All Speedway Race Results

1997 Race Results

US Speedway History

Champion Speedway
344 East River Drive
Owego, New York 13827

1997 Grand Reopening
July 19, 1997 Champion Speedway

Bobby Schwartz ( multiple world titles and USA Champion titles) and current USA Champion Steve Lucero came from California to ride match races against each other as a half time show.

They also put on a school on the 20th. Kelcey Gordon (NJK Leathers), also came from California, and finished 4th in the Division One Final.
Ivan Mauger flew in from New Zealand to join the list of speedway celebrities for the event! (6 times World Finals Champion and 3 LT Finals)

Four members of the speedway e-mail fan club attended. Ryan Morris (Oxford), Gary Roberts (California), Roger Stevens and Kim Gregory (Canadian) added to the international impact of this event by attending! Their photos and views of the racing are added below.

Larry McBride has a video for sale of the entire reunion event for $20 US. Including shipping.
"From the opening ceremonies, interviews with several riders, the introductions of the riders, past and present, all the celebrates, and most importantly each and every race of the event." E-mail: mcbride70@juno.com Phone: 1 (607) 723-2387

Video clip of the final!

inal Results:
1st Warren Diem (NY)
2nd Lenny McBride (NY)
3rd Tom Burge (NY)
4th Kelcey Gordon ( California - NJK Leathers )

Pts    Rider    Heat    1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8  9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
12 Warren Diem    #  4  3           3                             3     3
12 Lenny McBride  # 71           3     3              3        3
10 Kelcey Gordon  #64g           1        3              3                       3
 9 Marco Morrello # 82        3                 3     0                    3
 9 Tom Burge      # 15        2  2                       2                    3
 9 Len Dillon     # 83        1                    3        3                    2
 8 Kelvin Herrala #191  2                    3              2  1
 8 George Lazor   # 51     3                 2           1                 2
 6 Joel Monell    # 4x                    2     2                 2        0
 5 Gene Bonsignore# 64     0        2                       1  2
 5 Fred LeGault   # 68     2                       1  2        0
 5 Jeff Orosz     # 31                 1           2              1     1
 4 Biff Waczynski # 48  1           1                 1                    1
 4 Guy Fafard     # 23     1                    1                    1           1
 4 Dale Wakefield # 76              0  0                             2  2
 3 Bruce Nelson   # 17        0              1              0                 2
 3 Sobec Muszynski #15x                2     0                    0           1
 3 Bobby Muszynski #18                    0     0                    3        0
 1 Gary Hesmer    # 37                    1        0     0             DNS
 0 Andy Harris    # 19  0        0                                     DNS       DNS
 0 Chris Hesmer (R)                                                  0           0
   Rider               Semi (1)  Semi (2)  Consolation  Final
18 Warren Diem    #  4    3                               3
17 Lenny McBride  # 71             3                      2
12 Tom Burge      # 15             2                      1
12 Len Dillon     # 83             1            2
11 Marco Morrello # 82    1                     1
11 George Lazor   # 51    0                     3
 9 Kelcey Gordon  #64g    2                               0
 8 Kelvin Herrala #191             0            0
Owego 1997

Photo from Champion Speedway 1997 Opener:
Left back: Ryan Morris 95144927@brookes.ac.uk, Right back: Gary Roberts, Foreground, Left to right: Pam, Doug, Jessica, Kim.

From: Kim Gregory
Overall, an unbelievably great night. The enthusiasm of the fans (1500), the fantastic riding, the celebrities!
On the downside, the track was terribly rough, and little done through the night to improve it. Gary Hesmer, and Gaetan Carrignon both refused to ride during the evening. Ryan Morris said a British team would have refused to ride it. Even Bobby Schwartz nearly hit the wall after the main hole in turn one launched him. I did the same on the second lap of my Division Two Final, (while in second) but was unable to recover as nicely as Schwartz! Boy, are my ribs sore!

The local New York riders were very fast on the rough track, perhaps because that is the conditions they have had to practice on. The track expects to get a proper grader to get the track smoother for the next event.
The fans were introduced to a fireworks show after the first heat was completed, and a (long) introduction to all the 'legends' that rode there. Perhaps this could have been split up into several shorter segments through the evening, but the fans sat through it and cheered loudly for all their old stars.

Chris Hesmer filled in as a reserve rider. His first time on a bike after his knee injury just a couple of weeks earlier.

Roger Stevens - Owego 1997

From: Roger Stevens
Went to the reopening of Speedway at Owego in New York State this past weekend.....great match, lots of action and passing on the "Costa Mesa" style track.
Photo, left to right: Roger, Joannie and Jeff Orosz.

From: Ryan Morris 95144927@brookes.ac.uk
It was a great night of entertaining speedway at Owego. Compared to British speedway the riders were wild, hitting all the bumps. But this just added to the entertainment value.

The meeting was much cheaper than British speedway, and the racing went on for well over 3 hours!! The crowd was large and very enthusiastic, looking forward to the reopening of the track. They were not disappointed!!

The track seemed to be in poor condition however, with large bumps on the inside of the track which made the inside line rather dangerous! The first few races went through with amazingly little incidents. However as the track loosened up and the riders gained a little more confidence with the track there was some great entertainment and aggressive riding. After a while few races finished without a little controversial incident!

Warren Deim and Lenny McBride seemed to ride the track with ease. These two riders were involved in the thrilling final with a brilliant pass by Deim on the 2nd lap to win the meeting!

Bobby Schwartz and Steve Lucero showed their class with some short exhibition races, managing to ride the middle of the track avoiding some of the bumps. Accident of the night went to Kim Gregory himself...hitting one of the inside bumps and spectacularly hitting the fence on the 2nd bend! However even with the bad riding conditions there were no injuries and most incidents involved riders spinning or laying down.

Overall there was good entertainment. The meeting was different to British riding (for those who haven't seen US racing). The track was much smaller, but the crowd was noticeably more enthusiastic.

Bobby Schwartz - Owego '97

From: Andy Harris
Kim, your comment about me being unwilling (to ride due to the track conditions) is completely wrong and could you please amend it. (done - editor) I was hit from behind while leading heat 1 by Biff and it hyper-extended my left thigh muscle. I tried to ride in my next heat but could not put any weight on it, and this made my decision to withdraw an obvious one. I consider myself as professional as anyone on the circuit and I went to support Jason's event and I would have ridden with NO reservations and to the best of my ability.

Bobby Schwartz and Steve Lucero came from California for the event as well as an appearance by Ivan Mauger, who may just be sticking around for our Canadian National next Saturday at Welland.

Photo: Bobby Schwartz helping a new rider on a 250cc speedway bike.

Grand Reunion of Champion Speedway - $2,000 Purse!
It was '20 years ago today' that Californian Bobby Schwartz ("I never thought I could beat these guys.") won the 1977 U.S. Open at Champion Speedway ), and now, 40 riders are to race on opening night from New York, California and Canada.

The Grand Reunion race featured retired stars such as 'Stormin' Norman and Mike Robinson, 'Rowdy' Rick Stone, 'Hurricane' Hank Bassett, 'Jumpin' John Leale, 'Pistol' Pete Atwater, Lenny McBride, 'Fast' Frank Watson, 'Rocket' Rodney Payne and Howie 'The Hammer' Oakden. There was also old J.A.P. and 2 valve speedway bikes on display.

1979 USA East Points Champion "Mean Gene" Bonsignore,
1988 USA National ICE Champion George Lazor,
1991 Canadian National Champion Lenny McBride,
1988, 1990 World ICE Champion Warren Diem,
Tom Burge, Marco Morello, Dave Wakefield, Damien Cornwall, Joel Monell, Kelvin Herrala, Randy Stauff, Matt Otto. Russ Cornell, Tom Sephton, Nick Ciardi, Tim Mathewson.

1985 AMA East Coast Champion Bruce Nelson.
Steve Watson, Ricky Close.

Canadian Riders

The Canadian riders tried thier best, but none made it to the Division 1 Final

Current Canadian 1/2 Mile Champion, Jeff Orosz
13 times Canadian National Champion, Len Dillon
Chris Hesmer ( 2nd in Canada 1996 )
Sobec Muszynski (3rd - 1996)
Bogden Muszynski (4th - 1996)
Andy Harris ( 4th - 1996, former British League rider )
Gary Hesmer ( 6th - 1996, 1996 ICE Rookie of the Year )
Kim Gregory ( 6th in 1996 USA ICE Championship )
Fred Legault ( 13th, made it to the North American Final )
Guy Fafard (10th in 1996)
Nick Fafard (16th in 1996)
Ghetan Carigan (16th in 1996)

www.speedwaybikes.com - All rights reserved.