Saddlemen

Bast Fights for Scratch Main-Event Win

| 7 July 2014 9:16 am

Fast Fridays Motorcycle Speedway
Gold Country Fairgrounds

Story and Photos by Michael Kirby
AUBURN, CA, JULY 4, 2014

It took nine weeks into the 2014 speedway season for Auburn’s own Bart Bast to finally be able to take down Billy Janniro and win the Division One Scratch main event at Fast Fridays Motorcycle Speedway. As the fireworks were being set to go off at the Gold Country Fairgrounds, Bast went to work. With five second-place Scratch main-event finishes so far this season, Bast took advantage of a favorable track for him and stayed in the dusted-off blue groove to keep ahead of Janniro for the win.

Auburn, California’s Bart Bast (87) won the Division One Scratch main event, his first of the season. Bast rode the blue groove to pick up the win, ahead of Charlie Venegas and Billy Janniro.

Auburn, California’s Bart Bast (87) won the Division One Scratch main event, his first of the season. Bast rode the blue groove to pick up the win, ahead of Charlie Venegas and Billy Janniro.

Janniro drew the sought-after lane one and got to the inside first on turn one but slid outside, as Bast came inside, where he does his best work. Bast held steady on the inside, and Janniro was forced to work higher on the track, as Charlie Venegas also sneaked past him on the inside, following Bast by less than a bikelength. Bast held low on the track next to the tube on the dusty track and took the checkered flag, Venegas was second, and Janniro was forced to settle for third. Bryce Starks in followed.

“The track was much different this week, and it came down to the draw, and Billy drew [lane] one, which he wanted, because it was so slick,” Bast said. “He made a little mistake, and I just happened to be in the right spot. He went into [turn] three a little hot and past the groove, and you had to stay in the groove tonight.”

In the Handicap main event, it was P.J. Byrne who also broke through into the winners’ circle with his first-main event victory of the season. After starting on the zero line all season in the Handicap program, Byrne will now start on the 10-yard line.

Byrne held off visiting current AMA Under 21 National Champion Max Ruml, who followed Byrne across the finish line for second by less than a bikelength. Tommy Hedden was third.

P.J. Byrne (61) won his first Division One Handicap main event Friday night.

P.J. Byrne (61) won his first Division One Handicap main event Friday night.

“It was awesome!” Byrne exclaimed. “I finally got off the zero line and am back on the 10-yard line now. I stayed right on the groove and never slipped and held on to it.”

Janniro, for the first time this season, did not make the Handicap main event; because of a rare fall in his semifinal, he did not transfer.

Max Ruml (308) made the trip up north from Southern California and finished second in the Division One Handicap main event.

Max Ruml (308) made the trip up north from Southern California and finished second in the Division One Handicap main event.

Nick Dion, back from an injury sustained a few weeks before, won the Division Two main event. Dion, a mainstay in both the Division Two and Run What U Brung programs, rode a great race, holding off David Mersaroli and Louie Mersaroli. Handicapped at the 30- and 40-yard lines, the Mersaroli twins were unable to get ahead of Dion, who rides off the 10-yard line. David Mersaroli was second and Louie Mersaroli was third.

Nick Dion (233) returned after recuperating from an injury and tallied a first-place finish in the Division Two main event.

Nick Dion (233) returned after recuperating from an injury and tallied a first-place finish in the Division Two main event.

Ron Davis, who was visiting from Southern California for the fireworks, easily won the Division Three main event. Matthew Berglund was second and William McCloskey was third.

Kurtis Hamill, son of legendary speedway champion Billy Hamill, was also visiting from Southern California, and he made good use of the trip. Kurtis put some pressure on Luke Becker in the Youth 250cc program and picked up the main-event win. Both aggressive riders, and soon to be matched up in the Youth National Championships in August, these two went head to head. At this meeting, it was Hamill who won the main event. Becker was second, and Blake Borello was third. Both Hamill and Becker will be riding in adult divisions next season, with long careers ahead of them.

Visiting from Southern California, Kurtis Hamill (right) picked up the 250cc Youth main-event win. Here, Hamill lines up next to Luke Becker (12) on the 50-yard line for the start of a heat race on Friday night.

Visiting from Southern California, Kurtis Hamill (right) picked up the 250cc Youth main-event win. Here, Hamill lines up next to Luke Becker (12) on the 50-yard line for the start of a heat race on Friday night.

The Martin twins, Alex and Sterling, scored first- and second-place finishes in the Youth 150cc A division. Alex was first and Sterling second. Kyle Cunningham was third.

The Martin twins, Alex (30) and Sterling (31), come out of turn three on Friday night at Fast Fridays. Alex was first and Sterling second in the Youth 150cc A main event.

The Martin twins, Alex (30) and Sterling (31), come out of turn three on Friday night at Fast Fridays. Alex was first and Sterling second in the Youth 150cc A main event.

Anthony Dion picked up the Youth 150cc B-division main-event win.

The Extreme Sidecar teams made their third appearance this season at Fast Fridays and set off some fireworks of their own! The adrenaline-charged program was an exciting addition to an already thrilling Fourth of July speedway program. The sidecar team of Jeff Medberry & Heather Bennett won the sidecar main event. All the visiting sidecar teams put on an excellent riding exhibition for the fans at Fast Fridays.

The Extreme Sidecar team of Jeff Medberry & Heather Bennett won the Sidecar main event.

The Extreme Sidecar team of Jeff Medberry & Heather Bennett won the Sidecar main event.

Fast Fridays Motorcycle Speedway at the Gold Country Fairgrounds
Auburn, California
Results: July 4, 2014

DIVISION 1 SCRATCH MAIN: 1. Bart Bast; 2. Charlie Venegas; 3. Billy Janniro; 4. Bryce Starks.

DIVISION 1 HANDICAP MAIN: 1. P.J. Byrne; 2. Max Ruml 3. Tommy Hedden.

DIVISION 2 MAIN: 1. Nick Dion; 2. David Mersaroli; 3. Louie Mersaroli.

DIVISION 3 MAIN: 1. Ron Davis; 2. Matthew Berglund; 3. William McCloskey.

YOUTH A 250 MAIN: 1. Kurtis Hamill; 2. Luke Becker 3. Blake Borello.

YOUTH A 150 MAIN: 1. Alex Martin; 2. Sterling Martin; 3. Kyle Cunningham.

YOUTH B 150 MAIN: 1. Anthony Dion; 2. Charlie Trana; 3. Landon Collins.

SIDECARS: 1. Jeff Medberry/ Heather Bennett.

Billy Hamill Speedway Academy landscape 590 x 204

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