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1997 Fairgrounds Raceway
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Fairgrounds Raceway
Santa Maria, California

April 26, 1997 - Fairgrounds Raceway
From: Gary Roberts

On April 26, Fairgrounds Raceway held the third meeting of the season, which included a full program of speedway, go-carts and flat-trackers. The flat trackers were divided into two classes, with brakes, which was mostly Yamaha TTs and Rotax engined machines and the without brakes class, which was exclusively 52-67 Triumphs. They sounded great. Speedway rider Gerry Duttweiler won most of the without brakes class races.

Throughout the afternoon there were practice races, because this was the week of the Santa Maria Strawberry Festival. It was a scorchingly hot day, which took its toll on the track. By the end of the evening there were some fairly heavy duty potholes in it. It did not however detract from some excellent racing. The general standard of all riders has really improved. Many races had riders confidently going into the corner 2, 3, and 4 abreast. Many of these riders had not even sat on a speedway bike a year ago. Since then they have bought bikes which are mostly 2 valve and twin-cam Jawas and become good support class riders. Almost as impressive as their performance is the sponsorship that many of them have put together. In seeking information for the US www page that Kim Gregory, up in Canada, has been kindly building for us, several riders gave me their lists of sponsors and I was impressed.

The format was the usual GP format.

Brian Thompson     15
Robbie Sauer       12
Terry McCurdy      12
Marvin Sonnier     10
Tim Appel          10
David Enloe         9
Brad Sauer          9
Gerry Dutweiler     9
Billy Lyons         6
Jeff Smith          6
Charlie Powell      6
Mark Hitchcock      4
Jason Montgomery    3
Jimmy Collins       2
John VanderMuellen  2
Paul Baldwin        1 reserve, 3 rides.

D final:
VanderMuellen, Collins, Maynard, Montgomery
C final:
Powell, Lyons, Hichcock, Smith, VanderMuellen
B final:
B. Sauer, Powell, Appel, Duttweiler, Enloe
A final:
B. Sauer, R. Sauer, McCurdy, Sonnier, Thompson 

Robbie and Brad Sauer have been first and second for the past 2 weeks. This week Brian Thompson, who has been showing much progress, with a win in the support class at Bakersfield, arrived with the only laydown in the field, to provide some more competition. In heat 11, all three came together. Brian Thompson led with Robbie Sauer just behind. Each lap Robbie exitted turn 4 close to the pole with notable advantage and it was clear that he planned his overtake at this point. Meanwhile brother Brad was close behind, a good distance ahead of rookie, Jason Montgomery. As Robbie came up to overtake on the exit of the last turn, he lost it, and finished up on his back 10 yards short of the finish line. At about the same time, brother Brad lost it going into turn 4. Neither were hurt, but neither finished.

In heat 22, Brad was disqualified for touching the tapes, so his 9 points only gave him a place in the B final, which he easily won, putting him through to the A final.

The A final was a close race, but lead all the way by Brad Sauer. Brian Thompson made an early challenge, then drifted back.

The only disappointment of the evening, was again the number of spectators. It was hoped that the Strawberry Festival would attract a larger crowd, but it didn't happen. From the sponsorship that these riders have achieved, there is certainly interest in the area, but people don't seem to come and watch. A radio and TV advertising campaign is underway in an effort to fix the problem.

Gary Roberts - gary_rob@ix.netcom.com

Fairgrounds Raceway turns 3 and 4 Fairgrounds Raceway turns 1 and 2

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