Saddlemen

Becker Shines but Yarrow and Nicol Top Fast Fridays Opener

| 13 May 2015 2:06 pm

Fast Fridays Motorcycle Speedway
Gold Country Fairgrounds

Story and Photos by Michael Kirby
AUBURN, CA, MAY 8, 2014

Fast Fridays Motorcycle Speedway racing fans got a glimpse of what looks like is going to be a great season last Friday night at the Gold Country Fairgrounds in Auburn, California. As many waited to see how the new crop of younger riders moving up to Division One this season would fare, the underclassmen did not disappoint and showed the seasoned veterans that this year will a whole new ball game and that they intend to shake things up a little. For speedway fans, this means some great racing!

Riding in his first season in Division One, 16-year-old Luke Becker (12) had an outstanding evening on Fast Fridays’ opening night. Becker had three first-place finishes and placed second in the Handicap main event.

Riding in his first season in Division One, 16-year-old Luke Becker (12) had an outstanding evening on Fast Fridays’ opening night. Becker had three first-place finishes and placed second in the Handicap main event.

A good crowd filled Fast Fridays’ McCann Stadium, and after the singing of the national anthem, which opened the 20th season of Fast Fridays, things got good real fast. Sixteen-year-old Luke Becker of Brentwood, California, who has been a staple in the Youth division until this year, showed up in a big way. In the Handicap and Scratch programs, Becker came out swinging and held his own against the seasoned veterans.

In the Handicap program, Becker won his first Division One race at Fast Fridays, riding off the 10-yard line. Becker transferred to the Handicap semi and proved his first win was no fluke, as he again took the checkered flag first.

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In the Scratch program, Becker again won his first heat race, against veterans Charlie Venegas, Ryan Bast and J.T. Mabry.

Bad luck struck Becker in the Scratch semi, as he took a hard fall in turn one, right out of the gate. After a few tense moments, Becker got off the track with the help of some of the crew, but he could not return to finish the semi and was out of the Scratch program for the evening.

“Overall, it was just a great night; I was not expecting to make the semis,” said Becker. “It is going to be a great season. We have so many young riders coming up at the same time, the Under 21 National Championship is going to be absolutely crazy.”

Becker finished the night with a great showing and a second-place finish in the Handicap main event.

Broc Nicol (left) and Bryan Yarrow get going against each other in an early-evening heat race. Both riders scored main-event wins Friday night.

Broc Nicol (left) and Bryan Yarrow get going against each other in an early-evening heat race. Both riders scored main-event wins Friday night.

Winning the Handicap main event was another young rider, who is in just his second year of Division One racing. Broc Nicol, 17, who came north from Southern California, picked up his first hardware of the new season in impressive style during a great start to his season. Placing third in his Handicap heat race and then winning his semi, the young man faced some heavyweights in the main event, including veterans Bart Bast and Tommy Hedden. Showing racing savvy beyond his years, Nicol held on for the win, and the young riders scored a one-two punch, as Becker took second. Another young rider looking fast this year is Auburn’s own Tyler Warren, who grabbed third.

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In the Scratch program finale, it was all about the veterans, as Bryan Yarrow turned in a stellar performance, picking up a win in the Scratch main event. The rider from Vallejo, California, started racing Juniors in 1994 but took time off last year to explore some career opportunities; however, he is back this year, and he has not missed a beat.

Yarrow had first- and second-place finishes, transferring to the Scratch main event. There, he faced Bob Hicks, five-time National champ Billy Janniro, and Bart Bast. It was all veterans in this race, and not a one was nervous about being in the final race of the evening.

Drawing the inside lane, Yarrow took the lead on the inside and only had to worry about Janniro, who, coming from lane four, was pestering him on the outside. Yarrow refused to yield and held his line, forcing Janniro to stay outside. Janniro came inside once, trying to nudge past Yarrow, but Yarrow stayed just ahead of him and pulled out the win. Janniro was second, Bast was third, and Hicks finished fourth.

Bryan Yarrow takes a victory lap around the track after winning the Division One Scratch main event.

Bryan Yarrow takes a victory lap around the track after winning the Division One Scratch main event.

“Tonight was awesome!” Yarrow exclaimed. “I came here tonight not expecting anything, just to ride and have fun. It just kept getting better and better. I haven’t ridden for a while. In the final, I saw Janniro and knew that if I gave him the room, he was going to go faster than me, so I just held my line.”

Yarrow proved to be the fastest man of the first night at Fast Fridays.

Broc Nicol (left) and Bryan Yarrow (right) celebrate their wins on the Fast Fridays winners’ podium. Nicol won the Handicap main event and Yarrow topped the Scratch main event.

Broc Nicol (left) and Bryan Yarrow (right) celebrate their wins on the Fast Fridays winners’ podium. Nicol won the Handicap main event and Yarrow topped the Scratch main event.

Division Two is shaping up to be exciting this year as well, as many riders were back, blowing off the dust on the first night of the season. Eddie Marsalla, a veteran of several seasons, took first place. Undefeated for the evening, Marsalla won his heat race and then led Louie Mersaroli and Michael Achilles across the finish line in the main event.

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In Division Three, with much crowd approval, 79-year-old Harlan Bast won the main event. Riding in his 47th speedway season, Bast beat John O’Neil, who finished second. Back this year after several years off, Auburn’s Billy Parino grabbed third.

Seventy-nine-year-old Harlan Bast (82), who has been riding since 1968, won the Division Three main event, proving that sometimes the old guys do really do rule.

Seventy-nine-year-old Harlan Bast (82), who has been riding since 1968, won the Division Three main event, proving that sometimes the old guys do really do rule.

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The Youth movement is alive and well, as Fast Fridays presents two 250cc divisions, two 150cc divisions, and a Pee Wee division each week that is sure to continue to produce some talented up-and-coming riders.

Auburn’s Colton Hicks and Chase Guerrero picked up their first 250cc Division wins of the year.

Landon Collins and Timmy Dion scored wins in the 150cc Divisions.

Jay Fodrini won the popular Run What U Brung main event.

Weimar, California’s Jay Fodrini won the Run What U Brung main event.

Weimar, California’s Jay Fodrini won the Run What U Brung main event.

Fast Fridays Motorcycle Speedway at the Gold Country Fairgrounds
Auburn, California
Results: May 8, 2014

DIVISION 1 SCRATCH MAIN: 1. Bryan Yarrow; 2. Billy Janniro; 3. Bart Bast; 4. Bob Hicks.

DIVISION 1 HANDICAP MAIN: 1. Broc Nicol; 2. Luke Becker; 3. Tyler Warren.

DIVISION 2 MAIN: 1. Eddie Marsalla; 2. Louie Mersaroli; 3. Michael Achilles.

DIVISION 3 MAIN: 1. Harlan Bast; 2. John O’Neill; 3. Billy Parino.

YOUTH A 250 MAIN: 1. Chase Guerrero; 2. Sammy Tetrault; 3. Richie Vandermeeden.

YOUTH B 250 MAIN: 1. Colton Hicks; 2. Kyle Cunningham; 3. Landon Norton.

YOUTH A 150 MAIN: 1. Landon Collins; 2. Cameron Krezman; 3. Alex Martin.

YOUTH B 150 MAIN: 1. Timmy Dion; 2. Enzo Sorani; 3. Colton Nelson.

RUN WHAT U BRUNG: 1. Jay Fodrini.

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