Costa Mesa Speedway
Orange County Fairgrounds
Costa Mesa, California
1997 Spring Classic
Costa Mesa Speedway
March 22, 1997
From: Gary Roberts
Costa Mesa staged the Spring Classic season opener last Saturday. A
good crowd saw some excellent racing.
The track started out a bit wet, but after the first 3 or 4 heats,
looked very good.
1. Rick Pearce
2. Shawn "Mad Dog" McConnell
3. Steve"Bad Boy" Lucero
4. "Rad" Brad Oxley
5. Bobby "Boogaloo" Schwartz
6. Robert "The Gator" Pfetzing
7. Pat Linn
8. Brian Pappalardo
1. Bobby "Boogaloo" Schwartz
2. Steve"bad boy" Lucero
3. Rob Pfetzing
4. Andy "The Enforcer" Northrup
5. Brad Oxley
Support class main:
1. Brian Thompson
2. Randy DiFrancesco
3. Steve Donovan
4. David Lynch
5. George Fox
6. Mike Reed
Rick Pearce has made outstanding progress since last season. He was
second in the Santa Maria championship at the end of the season but has
obviously been out practicing a lot. I saw him at Maely's ranch a month
ago and he looked fast, but his rides on Saturday were flawless. He was
second in his heat behind Rob Pfetzing, won his semi final, and rode a
perfect main event. John Edwards (60 years old, ex-Wimbledon), who was
sitting behind me commented that it was only 6 months ago that he lead
Rick for 3 laps at Santa Maria, and look at him now!
The other handicap semi had one of the most horrendous looking
accidents I have seen. "The Iceman" John Aden rode around the outside to over take
Brian Pappalardo on turn one and two and was just ahead in turn three,
when he over slid, and Brian had nowhere to go but hit him sideways on.
Close behind came Steve Lucero and Pat Linn who added to the heap.
Bobby Schwartz, who was also close behind managed to miss them somehow,
and was the only rider not down. It looked very serious, they all made
the re-start, except Aden, whose new laydown machine was damaged.
The laydowns are starting to appear here. Brian Thompson rode one to a
good win in the support class. The support semis were also plagued with
accidents, one re-starting 5 times. Kon Baur won the prize for the most
elegant looking recovery from looping his laydown and climbing back on,
while warming up for his heat.
Bobby Schwartz and Steve Lucero had a neck and neck 4 laps in the
scratch main, very fast, very close, with Bobby winning at the finish.
Who else was there? Mike Faria, who I have always thought of as being an outstanding rider
won his handicap heat and his scratch heat, both in his usual impeccable
style. In his handicap semi, he just seemed to get blocked all the way
and failed to qualify for the main. In both his scratch semi and the
last chance qualifier he made great starts, but lost ground in the
first corner from which he was unable to recover. I understand Mike
will be here for the season, as he has not been picked up for an Elite
team. I wonder why, he is probably the most consistently good rider
here and pulls off some of the cleverest passes. So your loss in the UK
is our gain this season.
Bobby Hedden was last in his handicap heat and third in his scratch
heat. He too has ridden well here in the past.
Buck Blair appeared for what I believe
to be his first appearance at
Costa Mesa (editor's note: no, he has ridden there twice before, once winning the handicap).
He too was last in his handicap heat and third in his
scratch heat. "Bucky" had some bad luck in Costa Mesa, kept getting hit by Flying
Mike. He needed to get 1st or 2nd in last chance to make main, only got 3rd." - from Jay "Do or Die" Gruetzmacher and Hal Blair.
After John Aden's accident he didn't ride again. I have heard rumours
that he was to ride in England this year. Any one know any more? He is
very fast and goes particularly well on larger tracks. He's certainly
ready for a season in the UK.
Well that's probably going to be my first and last for a while at Costa
Mesa. I've moved up to San Jose, for job reasons and hope to get to
Auburn some Fridays and Santa Maria most Saturdays.
Regards to all, Gary Roberts