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1998 Fast Fridays Speedway
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Fast Fridays Speedway
Gold Country Fairgrounds
Auburn, California

Season Opener
Friday May 8, 1998 - Fast Fridays Speedway
By: Gary Roberts and RC Jones

Fast Fridays opening night for the 1998 season took place on Friday, after an overcast day, which made the danger of cancellation look a strong possibility. 6 days earlier the Auburn Speedway school and practice session was called off, because the track was under water. Yes, El Nino has a lot to answer for. Even as racing got underway, a mist came over the stadium and although it wasn't actually raining, those of us on the back straight stand found that we were getting wet. I therefore found a seat in the covered front straightaway stand, but the downside of this was with the limited lighting and my limited eyesight, I had extreme difficult in filling out my program. Apologies for missing and possibly, inaccurate results.

On the track the mist made the top of the DG rather slippery and some riders found themselves over shooting the corners, nevertheless, the opening night saw some extremely good racing, a full program of 3 divisions of Speedway riders, 3 divisions of junior Speedway riders and 6 quad races.

The first division included new entries, Mike Faria, Charlie Venegas, Randy DiFrancesco and Rick Pearce, normally only seen in Southern California.

Division 1 Scratch Main
1. Bart Bast
2. Mike Faria
3. Jim Sisemore
4. Louis Kossuth
One of the many great races, Faria got the gate, and after a couple of side by side laps, Bast got past.

Scratch Consolation
1. Bobby Hedden
2. Charlie Venegas
3. Tommy Hedden
4. Chad Felicio
All riders on laydowns, even Chad turned up with a brand new laydown Jawa.

Division 1 Handicap Main
1. Bart Bast
2. Billy Janniro
3. Mike Faria
4. Jim Sisemore
+ Randy DiFrancesco and Charlie Venegas, not sure which order Youngster Billy Janniro, also on a laydown, lead for the first few laps until Faria moved around the outside and Bart Bast came up on the inside. Bast eventually got through, moving Janniro out, which blocked Faria for the rest of the race.

Division 1 Handicap Consolation
1. Bobby Hedden
2. Ian Ferris
3. Robert Curry
4. Tommy Hedden
5. John Gregg
6. Kelly Bennett

Division 2 Main
1. Bill Newby
2. Harlan Bast Snr.
3. Cecil Watson
+Tom Adams, Scott Olney and Doug Mignano, not sure which order Tom Adams lead the race until the last corner, when he fell down.

Division 3 Main
1. David Lee
2. Derek Silva
3. Glenn Scott
4. Billy Dixon
5. Brian Leventon
6. Danny Chipman
David Lee, dressed with enough padding that he would have looked more at home playing American Football, won both his heat and the main.

So with the weather slowly looking better, Auburn now open, and Dixon opening next Saturday, Northern California is beginning to look a bit more palatable. It looks to be a promising season with packed stands on Friday at cloudy Auburn and recently re-located to the area, Mike Faria planning to ride every week.

Results for Junior Speedway

Division 1
1. Ryan Fisher
2. Chris Kerr
3. Bryan Yarrow

Division 2
1. AJ Jones
2. Jonathan Curry

Division 3
1. Josh Newby
2. Ray Linn
3. Brenton Bast

In all 3 races there were other finishers. Apologies for lack details. Ryan Fisher demonstrated his unquestionable ability by winning his heat, then going on to win the Division 1 main starting with half a lap handicap. Donny Robinson lead for a couple of laps, then his bike stopped, but restarted when the field had passed him. Both these kids came up 500 miles from Los Angeles to ride. A high number of both new junior Speedway riders and new Division 3 senior riders is a promising indication of the healthy state of Speedway in Northern California.

Gary Roberts - gary_rob@ix.netcom.com

From: RC Jones

It sure was good to see, hear and smell some speedway again. The weather was miserable as is was misting for most of the night. The poor weather during the day caused the total attendance to be down somewhat as I know that some fans did not want to drive from Sacramento to Auburn when it looked like it could be pouring down rain any minute.

For those who made the trip it was worthwhile. Bart Bast started the season off with a rare double main event victory. In both the handicap main and scratch main Bart had to beat the National Champ Mike Faria in some great racing. In the scratch main Bart and Mike went wheel to wheel for the four lapper with Bart not able to take a lead until the last lap. This might be the year that Bart becomes the National Champ....

Since the weather was so lousy the races actually went off at a better pace and it was really nice to get out of the stadium before 11PM.So I hope it rains every week. No more 20 minute track dragging nonsense three times a night...

As I understand it Mike Faria, Charlie Venegas and maybe a couple of other Southern California riders are going to contest the northern tracks instead of the south... Should prove to be interesting....

RC Jones
I Love Speedway

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