Big Time Speedway Presents 9/11 Tribute 2013
Prairie City OHV Park
Story by Karen Gould
Photos by Karen Gould/Checkered Flag Photography
RANCHO CORDOVA, CA, SEPT. 7, 2013
This day was perfect to honor the memory of the many lives lost in the 9/11 tragedy, as well as the families that gave so much. To begin the day’s events, several fly-overs were performed by a CalStar helicopter, followed by a military color guard presenting the colors and singing the national anthem.
Big Time Speedway’s custom is to present all first responders present with special Big Time Speedway commemorative medals during the opening ceremonies of this special annual tribute. On this day, medals were given to the ambulance personnel, the track medics, and many other first responders in attendance.
The opening ceremonies also included a fly-over by a California Highway Patrol helicopter. It was a very moving tribute.
The well-groomed track was sprinkled with water in preparation for the first heat race of Division One speedway riders. Those riders included Billy Janniro, the AMA National Speedway Champion in 2008, 2010 and 2011. Janniro also represented the USA in the Speedway World Cup in 2007 and won the U.S. National Speedway Championships in 2004, 2008, 2010 and 2011. Danny Faria was also present and riding, along with “The Tiger,” Chris Kerr, both of whom are well-known and decorated riders.
The first and second heats finished with Janniro leading Faria and Kerr to the checkers, in that order.
In the main event, Janniro and Faria were one and two, but Kerr finished fourth, behind Dave Fonts.
Racing continued through Division Two and the Junior speedway classes. Young Charlie Trana was entered and riding his first organized speedway race on this night, aboard a shiny-bright 150cc bike. He finished fourth in both his heats and the main event. Though he’s slightly small for his bike, Charlie exhibits great talent on the track. Dylan Wagner, Anthony Moore and Gregory Deon finished one, two, three, in this Junior 150cc class.
Gage Geist was very excited to win the Junior 250cc event.
One racing event that was organized just for some fun competition on this day included classes of lawn mowers, quads, and flat-track riders, all racing in the speedway format of two heats and a main event (rather than a flat-track format of a practice session a heat and a main event).
Newly married Kristi Cornelius (née Bolin) from Fresno, California, showed the other quad riders the fast way around the track in her first heat race, but she finished third in the second heat. She was back on the track and in front of the class in the main event, taking the checkers in front of Billy Stark, Eric Crespo and Nick Deon. Congratulations, Kristi, on your marriage – and your win!
Kristi’s brother Bobby Bolin put on a show with his flat-track bike, much to the surprise of the folks watching. Bolin rode all eight laps of all three of his events in the front, with Joe McCoy doing his best to try catching him. At the end, it was Bolin, McCoy and Lars Kotrlik on the box.
Bob Newman led his competition to the finish line aboard his modified race mower. Long ago, Newman was the sole survivor of a plane crash in which both his legs were badly injured, and therefore he has to wear special shoes and braces that don’t allow flexibility of his ankles for the throttle and the brake. However, Newman rides with a hand throttle and controls that allow him to race. (For more information about mower racing, please go to www.facebook.com/pages/Sac-Valley-Mower-Racers/133992196624598 on Facebook.)
Paul Sanburn, a flat-track rider for 10 years, began riding speedway two years ago. A Division Two rider, Sanburn competes regularly in local speedway races. Although he finished his first and second heat races in second place, in the main, he was number one. Getting the lead off the line, Sanburn rode it like he stole it to take the class home. Gage Geist and Kurt Kornchech joined him on the podium in second the third places, respectively.
Some of the night’s most fun and exciting things to watch included Janniro sneaking on to the track during the flat-track main event aboard a Harley-Davidson street bike, turning left and sliding his way around the track.
One of the night’s special events was a Harley race: two Harley-Davidson street bikes on the short track. Once again clowning around, Janniro crashed the race, coming onto the track aboard a PW50 to show the Harley boys how it’s done. Had he ridden all six laps, he might have won!
The night ended with commemorative awards being given to all the finishers, while track announcer Frank Rundall did his best to keep the riders involved and moving along. The best laugh of night came while Janniro and his class were on the podium. A lady friend of his who was visiting from England rushed Janniro, tossing a cup of beer in his face after he’d received his medal. Cost of the beer – a mere pittance; the look on Janniro’s face – priceless!
Big Time Speedway’s Steve Elstins and Steve Stasiefski not only provide some the best racing surfaces on which to ride but also put together some of the most fun events. Both Steves have been involved in motorcycle racing for a good part of their lives and both love the sport; though they no longer ride themselves but wanting to stay involved, they have plans – plans to create some other great events not only at Prairie City but also at the Placerville Fairgrounds. Follow Big Time Speedway on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Bigtimespeedway or check out their website for information on upcoming events: www.BigTimeSpeedway.com.
Prairie City will be host to two days of racing during the weekend of September 14 and 15, featuring a DTX race on Saturday and a Supermoto (the fifth in the series) Extreme TT on Sunday. Visit https://www.facebook.com/pages/Prairie-City-Dirt-Track/117292168435136 on Facebook for more information or go to www.supermotousa.com.
Prairie City OHV Park
Rancho Cordova, California
Results: September 7, 2013
KIDS FLAT TRACK: 1. Cameron Krezman; 2. Timothy Dion; 3. Samuel Wadell.
FLAT TRACK: 1. Bobby Bolin; 2. Joe McCoy; 3. Lars Kotrlik; 4. Neal Jones.
MOWERS: 1. Robert Newman; 2. Greg Sheley.
JR 150: 1. Dylan Wanger; 2. Gregory Moore; 3. Anthony Dion; 4. Charlie Trana.
JR 250: 1. Gage Geist; 2. Blake Borello; 3. Chase Guerrero.
SPEEDWAY DIVISION 1: 1. Billy Janniro; 2. Chris Kerr; 3. Dave Fonts; 4. Daniel Faria; 5. Jameson Dilkey; 6. Nick Dion.
SPEEDWAY DIVISION 2: 1. Paul Sanburn; 2. Gage Geist; 3. Kurt Kornchech; 4. Rick Gutzke; 5. Brian Leventon,
SPEEDWAY DIVISION 3: 1. Lars Kotrlik; 2. Dorian Jewett; 3. Matthew Bergland; 4. Michael Bretzing; 5. Tim Dion.
QUADS: 1. Kristi Cornelius; 2. Billy Stark; 3. Erik Crespo; 4. Nick Deon.