Fast Fridays Speedway
Gold Country Fairgrounds
1998 American Final
Friday June 5, 1998 - Fast Fridays Speedway
By: Gary Roberts and RC Jones
From Gary Roberts
Sam Ermolenko won the 1998 American Final with a 15 point maximum. His
score says it all, he made no mistakes. Second was Mike Faria, followed
by Chris Manchester and Charlie Venegas.
For the first time this season, the weather conditions were very
comfortable, This attracted a near capacity crowd, who all went home
fully entertained. The track was smooth and racing was very fast.
Sam Ermolenko 15
Mike Faria 13
Chris Manchester 12
Charlie Venegas 12
Bart Bast 10
Brent Werner 9
Louis Kossuth 9
Bobby Hedden 9
Eddie Castro 7
Dukie Ermolenko 6
Billy Janniro 5
Bobby Schwartz 3
Matt Becker 3
Pat Linn 3
Tommy Hedden 2
Randy DiFrancesco 2
Ian Ferris 0 reserve 4 rides
Kelly Bennett 0 reserve 1 ride
Heat 1 Manchester, Bast Werner, Linn
Heat 2 Venegas, Castro, DiFrancesco, Schwartz
Heat 3 B. Hedden, Kossuth, T. Hedden D. Ermolenko
Heat 4 S. Ermolenko, Becker, Faria, Janniro
Heat 5 Venegas, Bast Janniro, Ferris (D. Ermolenko disq, tapes)
Heat 6 Werner, Castro, Becker, T. Hedden
Heat 7 S. Ermolenko, Manchester, B. Hedden Schwartz
Heat 8 Faria, Kossuth. Linn, DiFrancesco
Heat 9 Faria, Bast, B. Hedden. Castro
Heat 10 S. Ermolenko, Venegas, Kossuth, Werner
Heat 11 C. Ermolenko, Manchester, DiFrancesco, Becker
Heat 12 Janniro, Schwartz, Linn, T. Hedden
Heat 13 Kossuth, Bast, Schwartz, Bennett (Becker, Ferris disq)
Heat 14 Werner, B. Hedden, Janniro, DiFrancesco
Heat 15 Faria, Manchester, Venegas, Ferris (T. Hedden disq tapes)
Heat 16 S. Ermolenko, D. Ermolenko, Castro, Linn
Heat 17 S. Ermolenko, Bast, T. Hedden, DiFrancesco
Heat 18 Faria, Werner, D. Ermolenko, Ferris (Schwartz disq, tapes)
Heat 19 Manchester, Castro, Kossuth, Janniro
Heat 20 Venegas, B. Hedden, Linn, Becker
Chris beat Charlie in the run off for third place.
Generally speaking the overall result was not unexpected. Some riders
did slightly better than expected. Bobby Schwartz did much worse than
expected. Matt Becker surprised even himself by beating Faria in his
first ride, but his campaign fizzled out after that. Local favorite,
Bart Bast has been riding competitively against Mike Faria in the
earlier events this year was expected by many to be a qualifier. He
seemed a bit down on power in a couple of races, but given the
competition, he put on a credible performance.
So Sam Ermolenko, Mike Faria, Chris Manchester and Charlie Venegas go to
Poole next Sunday. All have ridden there before and understand exactly,
the level of competition to expect.
There were also Division 1 Junior Speedway races:
1. Ryan Fisher
2. Eric Carillo
3. Bryan Yarrow
4. JJ Martynse
I ran into a couple of injured warriors in the crowd. Don Chipman , who
hit the wall in the third division main and bravely hobbled off the
track was sporting a cast round a broken foot. Junior rider Chris Kerr had a cast on his broken arm. Chris was not clear when he broke it. It
was either when he hit the wall in the season opener, or playing
baseball the same week. He had ridden in two events since then!
I sat down on the back straight with fellow internet distribution
contributor RC Jones. After half a dozen races I looked at the bloke
sitting next to me, on the other side, and there was Bill Mathieson. He
is, no doubt, remembered by many UK Speedway people, as the promoter at
Rye House, for many years. Bill had helped me last year with my
California Speedway 97 book. What are the chances of that in a crowd of
So next week it is back to Auburn's regular program on the Friday, and
the opening night at Cal Expo on the Saturday. It will be the first
Speedway there since 1993.
Gary Roberts - firstname.lastname@example.org
New photos taken: Sam, Kelsey, Dukie, Tommy, Brent. See their pages.
From: RC Jones
Some comments for those who were unable to attend.
Rider of the night to me was Chris Manchester...He wooed the crowd
with daring outside passes. Best race of the night was the run off
between Chris and Charlie Venegas..Chris followed Charlie for two
laps and on lap 3 put on a brilliant display of riding to get around
Charlie for the win.
Most of the action took place between turn 1 and 2.It did not matter
who got the gate, it was who could fight through the traffic and hook
up out of two to lead the first lap and normally win.
Biggest disappointment for me was to see Dukie Ermolenko get goose
eggs in the first two heats.
Most confusing was to see Tommy Hedden in a run off with Louis Kossuth
and Brent Werner.
And yes, Sam was a cut above all of the others, for sure...
A great night of racing... Glad I was there. And Roone Dog kept us
going...The new Star Spangled Banner Singer is a keeper... Ban the