AMA National Speedway Series
Round 2: Victorville Speedway
Story by Steve Evans
Photos by Jim Thorn/BackItInPhotos and Kurt Bauer/www.dirtbauer.com
VICTORVILLE, CA, SEPT. 22, 2013
USA World Cup team manager Billy Hamill takes the narrowest of points leads over rival Billy Janniro going into Friday’s final round of the 2013 AMA National Speedway Series in Auburn, California, but it was his two protégés, Gino Manzares and Max Ruml, who stole the show with first- and second-place finishes, respectively, at Victorville Speedway.
Despite the sometimes difficult track conditions in the daytime event, the large crowd on hand was thoroughly entertained by some fabulous racing. This second round of the three-round series once more used the Speedway Grand Prix format, which produced high drama throughout.
Billy Janniro led home State Champion Charlie Venegas in heat one to extend his unbeaten series run to eight races.
Hamill answered back with a victory over Tyson Burmeister in heat two.
Heat three produced more position changes than your typical entire British League match. Mike Faria led Buck Blair before a mistake let Max Ruml into the lead and track favorite Eddie Castro into second. Blair got the second spot back on the line.
The first round was completed with Aaron Fox putting points pressure on Manzares by leading his rival home.
Heat five saw Burmeister lead home Castro, who made a trademark outside pass on Manzares, who was now under pressure on three points.
Hamill led his protégé Ruml home, ahead of Fox and Venegas, in heat six.
Jason Ramirez made a stunning outside pass on Faria to win heat seven.
Janniro also had to use the outside to get by Blair to win heat eight.
Round three began with Hamill going three for three, defeating Faria.
Heat 10 saw Burmeister move onto eight points with a victory over a hard-working Bryce Starks and Blair. Venegas was in trouble, having run a second last place in a row.
Next, Fox took his second win of the day, ahead of Tommy Hedden, who suddenly found his groove in heat 11.
Heat 12 was another stunner: Janniro was leading, but Ruml found more grip on the inside and made a pass that stuck and brought the crowd to its feet. Meanwhile, Manzares was third, and he needed a rally to make the semifinals.
Heat 13 saw Ramirez score his second win of the day, over Fox, in a re-run race after Fox and Blair tangled in turn three on lap one. Blair received medical attention and did not take his last two rides.
Heat 14 saw Venegas leading Manzares before Charlie’s bike stalled momentarily, which was enough for Gino to take a much-needed win.
Bryan Yarrow suddenly burst into life and was never troubled en route to his win over Ruml and Burmeister.
Heat 16 saw the battle of the Billys: Janniro got the gate and restored his three-point series lead over Hamill.
The first race in the final round of heats saw Ruml lead home Tyson Talkington in heat 17, giving him 13 of 15.
Next up, Venegas made late claim for a semifinal spot, leading home Yarrow.
Hamill beat a closely challenging Manzares in heat 19.
Mike Faria produced a vintage ride to beat Janniro, Burmeister and Fox in heat 20.
This led to the semifinals: four riders tied on seven points for the last two spots. The count-back rule eliminated Faria (who’d been defeated by Venegas in the heats) and Yarrow (who had less second places) per the supplementary rules. Ramirez, the only rider to get two wins, was the leader of the pack.
Semi one saw a real upset on the cards. Hamill was leading Ramirez, and both riders were pulling away before Ramirez hit the fence on the back straight on lap two and took a hard fall. Despite being okay, Ramirez was excluded.
Hamill gated again in the rerun, with Manzares defeating Burmeister for the last spot.
Semi two was another upset: Ruml got his now almost expected win, but it was Venegas who also outgated Janniro and left a stunned championship leader eliminated. Fox finished fourth.
The big final saw Manzares, coming out of gate one, and Ruml, coming from four, outgate their professor, Hamill. By now the track was very blue-grooved, and despite the fact that all three were very close, it was AMA Long Track National Champion Manzares who led home Ruml in one of the biggest upsets of the season.
In support of the main show were four other classes. Dave Troutt won both Support-class heats, but it was Steve “Beach Ball” Brown who led home Jeremy Dunn in the final.
Nick Dion defeated Kayle LeoGrande in the trophy dash for Division One riders who did not qualify for the main show.
The Juniors raced for the Nick Varner Memorial trophies to honor their former colleague who passed away in 2011 from injuries sustained after a motocross crash. Broc Nicol won his two heats and the final; Dillon Ruml won the other heat.
In the 150cc class, two trophies were awarded, as riders from different divisions rode together. Sebastian Palmese won the final as well as heat one. Sara Cords, who’d won heat two, and was second in the final and got the Division Two trophy.
This was the first and only speedway race of 2013 at Victorville, and the first speedway-only race since the AMA National Series last visited in 2004. The track plays host to 14 Speedway Sprint Car races this year and occasionally runs sidecars.
The AMA National Speedway Series will conclude on Friday, September 27, at Fast Fridays Motorcycle Speedway in Auburn, California, with the title still very much up for grabs.
Results: September 22, 2013 (Round 2 of 2)
MINI 150 NICK VARNER MEMORIAL MAIN: 1. Sebastian Palmese; 2. Sara Cords; 3. Travis Hamilton; 4. Dakota Shockley; 5. Anthony Dion.
JR 250 NICK VARNER MEMORIAL MAIN: 1. Broc Nicol; 2. Kurtis Hamill; 3. Gage Geist; 4. Dalton Leedy; 5. Michael Wells; 6. Dillon Ruml.
SUPPORT MAIN: 1. Steve Brown; 2. Jeremy Dunn; 3. Pam Bennett; 4. Dave Troutt; 5. Michael Bretzing; 6. Tim Dunn.
TROPHY DASH: 1. Nick Dion; 2. Kayle LeoGrande; 3. Davey Shaw; 4. Dan Eddy.
HEAT 1: 1. Billy Janniro; 2. Charlie Venegas; 3. Tyson Talkington; 4. Kevin Chapman.
HEAT 2: 1. Billy Hamill; 2. Tyson Burmeister; 3. Jason Ramirez; 4. Tommy Hedden.
HEAT 3: 1. Max Ruml; 2. Buck Blair; 3. Eddie Castro; 4. Mike Faria.
HEAT 4: 1. Aaron Fox; 2. Gino Manzares; 3. Bryce Starks; 4. Bryan Yarrow.
HEAT 5: 1. Tyson Burmeister; 2. Eddie Castro; 3. Manzares; 4. Jamison Dilkey. HEAT 6: 1. Billy Hamill; 2. Max Ruml; 3. Aaron Fox; 4. Charlie Venegas.
HEAT 7: 1. Jason Ramirez; 2. Mike Faria; 3. Bryce Starks; 4. Kevin Chapman.
HEAT 8: 1. Billy Janniro; 2. Buck Blair; 3. Bryan Yarrow; 4. Tommy Hedden.
HEAT 9: 1. Billy Hamill; 2. Mike Faria; 3. Bryan Yarrow; 4. Tyson Talkington.
HEAT 10: 1. Tyson Burmeister; 2. Bryce Starks; 3. Buck Blair; 4. Charlie Venegas.
HEAT 11: 1. Aaron Fox; 2. Tommy Hedden; 3. Eddie Castro; 4. Kevin Chapman.
HEAT 12: 1. Max Ruml; 2. Billy Janniro; 3. Gino Manzares; 4. Jason Ramirez.
HEAT 13: 1. Jason Ramirez; 2. Aaron Fox; 3. Tyson Talkington.
HEAT 14: 1. Gino Manzares; 2. Charlie Venegas; 3. Tommy Hedden.
HEAT 15: 1. Bryan Yarrow; 2. Max Ruml; 3. Tyson Burmeister; 4. Kevin Chapman.
HEAT 16: 1. Billy Janniro; 2. Billy Hamill; 3. Eddie Castro; 4. Bryce Starks.
HEAT 17: 1. Max Ruml; 2. Tyson Talkington; 3. Tommy Hedden; 4. Bryce Starks.
HEAT 18: 1. Charlie Venegas; 2. Bryan Yarrow; 3. Eddie Castro.
HEAT 19: 1. Billy Hamill; 2. Gino Manzares; 3. Kevin Chapman; 4. Jamison Dilkey.
HEAT 20: 1. Mike Faria; 2. Billy Janniro; 3. Tyson Burmeister; 4. Aaron Fox.
SEMI 1: 1. Billy Hamill; 2. Gino Manzares; 3. Tyson Burmeister.
SEMI 2: 1. Max Ruml; 2. Charlie Venegas; 3. Billy Janniro; 4. Aaron Fox.
FINAL: 1. Gino Manzares; 2. Max Ruml; 3. Billy Hamill; 4. Charlie Venegas.
AMA National Speedway Series Points Standings (After 2 of 3rounds) (Top 8 automatically qualify for 2014): 1. Billy Hamill (36); 2. Billy Janniro (35); 3. Gino Manzares (31); 4. Max Ruml (27); 5. Aaron Fox ( 21); 6. (TIE) Buck Blair (16)/ Eddie Castro (16); 8. Charlie Venegas (14); 9. (TIE) Bryan Yarrow (11)/ Tommy Hedden (11)/ Tyson Burmeister (11); 12. (TIE) Jason Ramirez (10)/ Josh Larsen (10); 14. Bryce Starks (9); 15. Mike Faria (7); 16. Tyson Talkington (5); 17. Bob Hicks (3); 18. Bobby Schwartz (2); 19. Kevin Chapman (1); 20. (TIE) Jamison Dilkey (0)/ Davey Shaw (0).