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1999 Fast Fridays Speedway
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Fast Fridays Speedway
Gold Country Fairgrounds
Auburn, California

1999 Auburn Track Championship / 1999 Junior National Championship
Fast Fridays Speedway, Auburn, CA
Friday August 27, 1999
From Gary Roberts

Fast Fridays interlaced two major events on Friday night, the 1999 Auburn Track Championship and the 1999 Junior National Championship.

The track was well prepared although a few riders complained that it was very sticky to start with. It seemed to improve as the night went on.

The Track Championship in itself was three different events. The format for the 16 top point scorers in Division One was a regular 5 rides, 20 heat, 4 riders per race, with no A, B, C or D final. (To my mind, that's the way it should be.) The format for the top 8 division two riders was to split them into two semi-finals, with the first two finishers from each semi-final qualifying for the final. Same for Division 3.

Winner of the Auburn Division 1 Track Championship was Mike Faria. No surprise really, Mike has gone well all year, and although Charlie Venegas had a great winning streak for the past few weeks, Mike rode well when it mattered. He lost only one point, and everyone there is still trying to puzzle out how he lost it. He was sailing along with everything under control, with Jim Sisemore a few yard behind him. On the third lap Jim took a wide exit from turn two found some traction, accelerated like mad along the back straight and squeezed between Mike and the wall. I think Mike was as surprised as every member of the large crowd watching.

At the end of 5 races, Mike and Auburn's Bart Bast were tied on 14 points and Mike won the runoff. In third place, and riding better than he has since his return from England was Chris Manchester. Chris looked more like the old Chris of 4+ years ago. It will be interesting to see if he can maintain the same form in next week's AMA National Championship.

Unofficial results:

Mike Faria 3 3 3 2 3 14
Bart Bast 3 2 3 3 3 14
Chris Manchester 2 2 3 3 2 12
Jim Sisemore 1 3 1 3 3 11
Charlie Venegas 3 1 3 2 2 11
Bobby Hedden 3 0 2 2 3 10
Ryan Fisher 1 0 2 3 2 8
Tommy Hedden 2 3 1 1 1 8
Chad Felicio 2 0 2 2 2 8
Robert Curry 1 3 2 0 0 6
Ian Ferris 2 2 0 1 0 5
Bob Hicks 0 1 1 1 1 4
Ian Essary 1 2 0 0 0 3
Matt King 0 1 1 0 1 3
Scott McNeil 0 0 0 1 1 2
Dave Booth (res) 1 ride 1
Rick Shafer 0 0 0 0 0 0

I had expected Charlie Venegas to do better. His chances disappeared in his second race when he came up against Bart Bast and Mike Faria and despite trying everything to get around the outside of Bart, he had to settle for third. In his fourth race Chris Manchester took a point from him and in his final race, Bobby Hedden took another.

As well as performing the most outstanding overtaking maneuver of the evening, Jim also took a point from Chris Manchester. Jim would have scored at least one more point, had his engine not failed in his first race, and another had he not hit the wall on the last corner of his third race, trying to catch Bart. He caused third place man Robert Curry a worrying moment, but crossed the finish line ahead of him, only to have the positions reversed by the referee, for getting in Curry's way.

Bobby Hedden lost three points in his second race. He fell on the first corner and was clearly expecting a restart. Earlier, in the same race, Ryan Fisher found himself rolling down a rut at the starting gate, into the tapes and was disqualified. Ryan put on a respectable show, but was expected by many to score more points in view of his recent Auburn wins over Bast and Faria.

At the other end of the scale I expected Bob Hicks to do better. Four third places and a last is a very different performance to what he has been putting on in recent years.

The division two event produced some good races. The first semi-final had sixty something year old Harlan Bast up against three teenagers. Rachalle Kerr took the lead and left Harlan and Matt Browne to battle for second place. The battle was narrowly won by 16 year old Matt Browne. In the final, Rachelle fell down and Matt had to fight it out with Harlan's grandson, Ivan Sevart. Both rode extremely well with Matt Browne narrowly winning. Ivan moved up to second division half way through the season and scraped into the track championship with eighth place in the points listings. A product of the Northern California Junior Speedway program, Matt Browne ended a very successful first year riding a 500.

The division three event was less exciting. Top points scorer Kevin Fereira was way out in the lead starting the final lap in his heat when the second and third men tangled. One of them did not make the restart and a reserve was brought in. In the rerun Kevin fell on the first corner and another rider fell and got back up on the other corner. I was expecting a restart, but it didn't happen. The final produced a good scrap between Ron Woodsford, Robert Mellor and John Knapp, the win going to Knapp.

The 1999 Junior National

The Junior National was also three events in one. Three divisions of various sizes, each rider getting four rides.

Eric Carrillo won the Junior National Division 1 class, winning all his races. Not really a surprise, although Bryan Yarrow has been very competitive in recent weeks. After Ryan Fisher's three year domination of this title, it was good to see Eric get recognition at last. Division 1 Juniors were a bit disappointing in terms of quantity, with only three riders, but absolutely no complaints about the quality. Missing were Chris Kerr (fractured skull from bicycle accident) and JJ Martynse (broken arm from skateboarding accident). Stick to Speedway in futures, lads, it's safer!

No surprise in Division 2, JT Mabry has ridden well all year and was unbeaten in all his races. Second place Greg Hooten was only beaten by Mabry and Los Angeles visitor Tim Gomez did well to finish third, considering that he was only able to race at Auburn a couple of times earlier this year.

Division 3 was much more competitive and really came down to the last race to determine the winner. Danny Easley was beaten once by Mark Carrillo and until the last race Carrillo was only beaten once by Easley. Carrillo had to win his last race and it would have put him and Easley into a run off. But Paul Johnson, who had really got the hang of it in the last couple of weeks stole Mark's other point, leaving him in second place. Most of Division 3 riders are riding at a much higher level than was previously expected in Division 3 so should move to Division 2 next year. I hope there are some replacements waiting out there to fill their places next season. The rider I thought would win the Division 3 class was Chris Olney. Chris had a disastrous night, getting blocked at the start, and falling down three times. It was a disappointing end to what has been a great first season for him.

Unofficial results:

Division 1
Eric Carrillo 12
Bryan Yarrow 8
Jon Curry 4

Division 2
JT Mabry 16
Greg Hooten 14
Tim Gomez 9
Alex Marcucci 8
Brenton Bast 7
Justin Boyle 5

Division 3
Danny Easley 15
Mark Carrillo 14
Paul Johnson 12
Chris Olney 10
Amanda English 8
Jeff Butler 6
Krystal Cramer 5

Next week is the final scheduled event of the year at Auburn, the AMA National. It will be the highest profile event ever held at Auburn. Hamill, Hancock, Larsen, Faria, Bast, Venegas, the list goes on. Picking a winner wont be easy. Last year Greg Hancock was in a class of his own at the National, but Sam Ermolenko was too at the American Final. The Auburn regulars just seem to have become more competitive, especially on their own track. It should be a great night.

Gary Roberts - gary_rob@ix.netcom.com

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