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1998 Niagara Raceway
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Niagara Raceway
Netherby Road / Townline Tunnel
Welland, Ontario, Canada

1998 Canadian National Championships - Round One
July 25, 1998 Niagara Raceway
By Duncan Luke luke99@idirect.com



Consistency and not leaving one rock unturned in preparation saw Chris Hesmer stay in the top right from the beginning to end. After four qualifying heats and the top 2 from two qualifiers and a runoff for the fifth spot saw Chris Hesmer going into the main on 27 points, Defending Champ Jeff Orosz on 25, Longtrack champion John Kehoe on 25, Roman Spitaler from Slovania on 25 as well, with Bogden Muszynski winning the runoff with 16 points.

With Kehoe not coming out for introductions for the main, you could tell the atmosphere was very tense and that even the two point lead that Hesmer had on the next three riders could easily have been forfeited to any of the above if Chris were to finish in third position or less.

Hesmer had gate choice as he took gate 5 right out closest to the fence (very odd). Thus to the inside lined up Orosz on 4, Muszynski on 3, Kehoe on 2, and Spitaler on 1. With long delays on the line for creeping wheels, everyone backed off and went to clear their goggles, exempt Hesmer whose crew went to the extent of a new type of goggle with a fan inside to clear them!

As the tapes went up everyone came out even but it was Hesmer closing the door hard on the other four. Hesmer opened the gap extensively every corner and straight. Orosz pressed hard but seemed to be losing ground. Then on the third lap Orosz slid harmlessly out exiting turn two, and as Hesmer came around to receive the last lap flag meaning three laps complete and one to go, the CMA referee brought out the red flag for the fallen current Champion who was already on his feet and out of the way.

Controversy arose as a race is official if three laps completed, but the referee chose to listen to no appeal and rerun the race with Orosz on the ten yard penalty line. To further the note , he chose to only run a three lap restart?!

Again a now internally fuming Hesmer shot out from gate five and led all three laps crossing the checkered a very comfortable distance over Roman Spitaler of Slovania capturing second, Orosz hanging on for third , with Muszynski and Kehoe rounding out the rest of the field.

This puts Hesmer in the points lead heading into round two to be held during the Paris fair on Sept 6. at Paris Speedway. (Chris' home town track!)

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