Speedway World Cup Try-Outs
Story by Steve Evans
Photos by Dorcey Wingo
PERRIS, CA, MAR. 22, 2014
USA Team boss Billy Hamill recently rallied the growing rider base in the USA to compete for the four remaining spots on the 2014 SWC Squad, and several riders have already staked their initial claim, during a fantastic day of racing at Perris Raceway. This was the first speedway race at the venue in almost two years; ironically, the previous one was an SWC fundraiser. The riders simply rose to the rare occasion of racing on a European-sized track and looked quite at home on the bigger racing surface.
The main show consisted of a team event using the 15-heat U.K. Premier League format. The Vikings, managed by Steve Graham, led from the start, edging the Aces and team boss Peter Davenport, 49-44.
Max Ruml won his first four races before dropping his only point, in heat 15, to Tyson Burmeister, who himself only dropped points to the astonishing Ruml. The two had three closely fought battles that astounded those in attendance, as they seemed to be side by side for four laps each time they met on the track.
Broc Nicol provided solid backup for Ruml, with 11 points from four riders. Nicol, in only his second meeting on a 500cc bike, showed that he truly is one to watch in 2014.
Russell Green was very fast in scoring 9+1 for the Vikings from the difficult number-five position, while Travis Henderson, returning after a four-year break, won heat eight and scored a vital 5-1 with Ruml in heat 10. Dalton Leedy and Dryden Gayle, also in their second meetings on 500cc bikes, both scored vital second-place finishes in closely fought races, with veteran Rudy Laurer scoring 2+1.
The Aces had Burmeister, who has made no secret of his desire for an SWC call-up, as a solid leader, with 13. Austin Novratil opened with two second-place finishes and then scored a vital double-point tactical win in heat 11. His bike failed in heat 13 while he was in third, and that curtailed his evening. Rocco Scopellite, who missed the bulk of the last two seasons due to various injuries, scored a solid seven in backup. Ryan Bast was the top-scoring reserve, with 5+1, while Dan Faria ended his night with a win by topping heat 14. Jamison Dilkey started slow but scored a good second in heat eight and a vital third in heat 11. Hayley Perrault gave a gritty performance for her two points, including putting a pass on Laurer.
U.S. Team boss Hamill was in attendance, working with his son Kurtis, but no doubt the determined display put on by several riders will already have him making notes of who is in contention for a World Cup call-up. With more than a dozen riders already voicing their intention to be one of the final four, the first three months of the U.S. domestic season promise to be very exciting in determining the final places.
Four other divisions raced in individual competition.
Davey Shaw was untroubled in the Support class, winning both of his heats and the main event. Other heat wins went to Mike Wiley and Steve Bowen, with Jonni Jade winning the last-chance qualifier.
Kurtis Hamill won two of the 250cc heats; the other went to Luke Becker, but Becker had bike trouble while leading his second heat, which ended his evening. However, it was National Champion Dillon Ruml who put on the “late show,” winning the last-chance qualifier and the main event.
Sebastian Palmese won all three 150cc Mini heats.
Northern California rider Cameron Krezman was awarded the Division Two trophy.
Jake Troutt won the first Pee Wee heat, but newcomer Cameron Titterness won the second heat and the main event.
The next race, Best Pairs, will be held Saturday, April 12, with the start time being moved to 6 p.m.! This will be the last race at Perris Raceway until the off season, as the venue, making a welcome return on the U.S. scene, is primarily being used as an off-season training base for Team USA and its affiliated projects.
Results: March 22, 2014
PEE WEE MAIN: 1. Cameron Titterness; 2. Jake Troutt; 3. Zerek Krezman; 4. Jose Navarette.
150 MAIN: 1. Sebastian Palmese; 2. Sara Cords; 3. Cameron Krezman; 4. Dakota Shockley.
250 LCQ: 1. Dillon Ruml; Michael Wells; 3. Gino Scopellite.
250 MAIN: 1. Dillon Ruml; 2. Kurtis Hamill; 3. Gage Geist; 4. Michael Wells.
SUPPORT LCQ: 1. Jonni Jade; 2. Steve Brown; 3. Kevin Fife; 4. Lewis Hughes.
SUPPORT MAIN: 1. Davey Shaw; 2. Steve Bowen; 3. Brad Moreau; 5. Mike Wiley; 5. Jonni Jade.
HEAT 1: 1. Max Ruml; 2. Austin Novratil; 3. Travis Henderson; 4. Jamison Dilkey (4-2).
HEAT 2: 1. Ryan Bast; 2. Dryden Gayle; 3. Rudy Laurer; 4. Hayley Perrault (7-5).
HEAT 3: 1. Broc Nicol; 2. Rocco Scopellite; 3. Dalton Leedy; 4. Dan Faria (11-7).
HEAT 4: 1. Tyson Burmeister; 2. Russell Green; 3. Hayley Perrault; 4. Rudy Laurer (13-11).
HEAT 5: 1. Broc Nicol; 2. Austin Novratil; 2. Dalton Leedy; 4. Jamison Dilkey (17-13).
HEAT 6: 1. Max Ruml; 2. Tyson Burmeister; 3. Travis Henderson; 4. Ryan Bast (21-15).
HEAT 7: 1. Russell Green; 2. Rocco Scopellite; 3. Dan Faria; 4. Dryden Gayle (24-18).
HEAT 8: 1. Travis Henderson; 2. Jamison Dilkey; 3. Rudy Laurer; 4. Hayley Perrault (28-20).
HEAT 9: 1. Tyson Burmeister; 2. Broc Nicol; 3. Ryan Bast; 4. Dalton Leedy (30-24).
HEAT 10: 1. Max Ruml; 2. Travis Henderson; 3. Rocco Scopellite; 4. Dan Faria (35-25).
HEAT 11: 1. Austin Novratil (Joker); 2. Russell Green; 3. Jamison Dilkey; 4. Dryden Gayle (37-32).
HEAT 12: 1. Broc Nicol; 2. Rocco Scopellite; 3. Ryan Bast; 4. Rudy Laurer (40-35).
HEAT 13: 1. Max Ruml; 2. Tyson Burmeister; 3. Russell Green; 4. Austin Novratil EF (44-37).
HEAT 14: 1. Dan Faria; 2. Dalton Leedy; 3. Hayley Perrault; 4. Dryden Gayle (fell) (46-41).
HEAT 15: 1. Tyson Burmeister; 2. Max Ruml; 3. Russell Green; 4. Rocco Scopellite (49-44).
OVERALL: 1. Vikings (49) – Max Ruml 14 (5), Broc Nicol 11 (4), Russell Green 9+1 (5), Travis Henderson 7+1 (4), Dalton Leedy 4 (4), Laurer 2+1 (4), Gayle 2 (4); Aces (44) – Tyson Burmeister 13 (5), Austin Novratil 10 (4), Rocco Scopellite 7 (5), Ryan Bast 5+1 (4), Dan Faria 4+1 (4), Jamison Dilkey 3 (4), Hayley Perrault 2 (4).