October 16, 1998 - Cycleland Speedway
By: Gary Roberts
Last Friday evening, Cycleland Speedway in Chico ran Speedway for the first time in around 11 years (1987) on a banked 1/6 mile track, that had previously been used for
go-cart racing. The track was basically a clay track, with a thin layer
of damp sand on top. The track held up well and there were 18 good
speedway races plus around half a dozen class C flat track races.
Considering its location, which is basically miles from anywhere, there
was a good crowd of an estimated 300 spectators.
There were no starting tapes, so every race was a flag start, which
worked OK. The only thing that I didn’t like about the track was an
armco barrier round each corner. Apart from that, it was an excellent
track with short straights, and the banking on the wide corners enabled
the top riders to run faster than at other tracks.
Division 1 and 2 got combined into a single class, with scratch and
handicap. Division 3 plus one junior rider provided support racing.
Division 1 Scratch Main Event
5.Pat Linn fell
6.Matt Becker qualified but was a non starter.
Division 1 Handicap
8.Matt Becker qualified but was a non starter.
Division 3 Support Main
Both division 1 mains were hard fought events. Billy Janniro’s double win was
quite outstanding, considering that Bart Bast is currently on top form,
as was witnessed at the Costa Mesa National. This is a brand new track
for the Speedway riders, so nobody had home track advantage. As the last
event of the year, here in Northern California, Billy Janniro has
certainly left us all inquisitive as to whether next season will be his
time to rise right to the top. Still only 18 years old, he is another
fine product of California's Junior Speedway program, where he raced for
6 years before transferring to the senior class, since when he has
steadily improved each week.
In the scratch main, he led from the tapes, with Bart breathing down his
neck all the way. Third place man, Bobby Hedden was a larger distance
In the handicap main, Bobby Hedden, Bart Bast and Billy Janniro started
back on the 50 yard line and Janniro was the first to work his way to
the front. But it took him 5 laps to get past fast riding zero yard man,
Ian Essary. Bart was not as quick off the mark as Billy, but followed
him through the pack, and it took him another couple of laps to get
around Essary. Bobby Hedden was riding well, but was not able to make up
the distance. Tommy Hedden, rode what turned out to be an unnecessarily
hard race. He started from the 40 yard line got past Ferris and Curry
only to fall down. He remounted, over took them again, only to fall at
the last corner.
Matt Becker looked extremely fast in his early heats, but was extremely
unlucky to have his cam-chain break just as he was when lining up for
the handicap main, causing him to miss both main events. Also unlucky
was Mat King, whose frame front down-tube broke before coming out for
the semi-final. He came out on a mis-firing borrowed machine, but did
not complete a lap.
The support class main was hard-fought between Brian Leventon and junior
rider AJ Jones. Leventon lead the first couple of laps with Jones close
behind, then a lap side by side, followed by the final lap with Jones in
front. Behind them, handicapped second division riders Dennis Cassidy
and Dick Vargas fought it out for third and fourth. Local hero Tom
Odekirk, who had more supporters than the rest of the field combined
easily won his heat, but fell in the main, while working up through the
field. He re-mounted but fell again, then again, then again.
This really was the last race of the year for California, as far as I
know. If anything else springs up from anywhere, it'll be posted on our
Gary Roberts - email@example.com