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1997 Costa Mesa Speedway
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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.

Handicap Main:
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

Scratch Main:
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

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