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1997 Fairgrounds Raceway
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Fairgrounds Raceway
Santa Maria, California

June 7, 1997 - Fairgrounds Raceway
From: Gary Roberts

Saturday's speedway started off looking a bit dismal with a track that was so slippery going into turn one, that it was difficult to stand up on. But after the first half dozen races, the track evened out to what is now expected as a pretty much perfect track.

Despite all riders getting exploratory laps in before the first four races, accidents happened. Mark Hitchcock, last week's highest points scorer was the first victim, damaging his knee. He withdrew for the rest of the evening.

In between rounds of speedway races we had 2 classes of flat-track, with the rare sight of a Harley Davidson beating a whole bunch of Triumphs. A couple of years ago I saw a similar event at Victorville speedway, where a Triumph won the Harley Davidson race.

Fairgrounds Raceway is located in a fairly thinly populated area of California's central coast. It was recognised early on that for the facility to succeed, it was necessary to develop some home made talent, rather than depend on riders from Los Angeles and Bakersfield. Since Costa Mesa changed from Friday to Saturday, making a more atractive alternative to the 175 mile drive from the Los Angeles to Santa Maria, most of our top riders have been from inland Bakersfield. Not this week. We were pleased to see our own home grown 17 year old Charlie Powell score maximum points in the qualifying rounds and a win in the A final. Young Charlie was riding a new machine recently purchased from fellow Paso Robles rider, Jake Zemke. Charlie's victory was not hollow. Top Bakerfield contenders, Robbie and Brad Sauer and Marvin Sonnier were also in the A final.

We stole an idea from Costa Mesa. At half time we held what some call Australian Pursuits. Does it originate from Australia? Do you ever do it in Britain? We took 5 riders, and had four single lap races, eliminating the last finisher each time and rotating the starting positions. The winner of the final race, (by now down to 2 riders) was Billy Lyons. The idea went down well with the crowd, so will become part of the regular program.

Charlie Powell     15
Marvin Sonnier     12
Brad Sauer         11
Billy Lyons        10
Robbie Sauer       10
John VanderMuellen 10
Gerry Duttweiler    8
Mark Maynard        8
Jimmy Collins       6
Tim Appel           6
Paul Baldwin        6
Kitt Nay            6
Jason Montgomery    5
Jason Chabot        3

A final:
Powell, Brad Sauer, Robbie Sauer, Sonnier, Lyons
B final:
Robbie Sauer, VanderMuellen, Duttweiler, Maynard, Appel (n/s)
C final: 
Appel, Nay, Collins (n/f), Chabot (n/f), Baldwin (disq)
D final:
Chabot, Montgomery

Next week is the American final down at Costa Mesa, we'll all be there, so Santa Maria will be closed. The following week, John VanderMuellen, rider, track manager, advertising coordinator, and cheif organizer is getting married, so that week will be closed too.

Next event is June 28.

Gary Roberts - gary_rob@ix.netcom.com

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

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