Saddlemen

Nicol Wins 25-Lap Endurance Feat

| 20 July 2015 11:16 am

Fast Fridays Motorcycle Speedway
Gold Country Fairgrounds

Story and Photos by Michael Kirby
AUBURN, CA, JULY 17, 2015

Broc Nicol takes cover with the trophy girls as champagne sprays on the winners’ podium. Nicol won the grueling 25-lap main event at Fast Fridays last Friday night, outlasting Bart Bast in the finale.

Broc Nicol takes cover with the trophy girls as champagne sprays on the winners’ podium. Nicol won the grueling 25-lap main event at Fast Fridays last Friday night, outlasting Bart Bast in the finale.

Auburn is the Endurance Capital of the World, known for physical-endurance feats of all kinds, and last Friday night, Fast Fridays Motorcycle Speedway added its brand of endurance stamina with a 25-lap main event at the Gold Country Fairgrounds. Fast Fridays’ 25-lap Handicap main event was the highlight of the evening’s program, pitting 16 riders against one another in a race that was more than six times longer than a Scratch-program race and more than four times longer than a Handicap-program race – a very demanding task for any speedway rider.

For almost five minutes, it was Broc Nicol who proved to be this year’s iron man at Fast Fridays. Nicol survived the physical punishment of the long, grueling race and avoided mechanical breakdown to take the checkered flag, clocking a four-minute-and-51.50-second finish time.

“I was kind of looking forward to the race, because I have never raced a 25-lap race before, to see what I could do,” Nicol said.

Broc Nicol (4, shown here in an early heat race) came out on top against 16 Handicap riders to win the 25-lap endurance ride.

Broc Nicol (4, shown here in an early heat race) came out on top against 16 Handicap riders to win the 25-lap endurance ride.

In the final laps, as riders rolled off the track with breakdowns, it was a showdown of youth vs. experience. Speedway veteran Bart Bast put a hard-charging challenge on Nicol as the laps ticked by, nearly catching Nicol at the finish.

“I was just trying to last the 25 laps,” Nicol said. “People started pulling off, and I just kept cruising. Bart got on me in the last lap, out of nowhere, and I had to get on it!”

Bast was second, and Auburn’s own Bob Hicks held on for third place. Yardage handicaps for the 25-lap main event were doubled, as were season points.

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Billy Janniro continued to dominate the Scratch program, picking up another win in the Scratch main event. Janniro was perfection again in the Scratch program, winning his heat race and winning a thrilling semifinal race with Tommy Hedden that brought the Fast Fridays fans to their feet, cheering the riders on to advance to the final.

After two double Division One main-event wins in the past two weeks, Billy Janniro notched his third-in-a-row Scratch main-event victory last Friday night.

After two double Division One main-event wins in the past two weeks, Billy Janniro notched his third-in-a-row Scratch main-event victory last Friday night.

Janniro faced familiar foes Luke Becker, Bart Bast and Hedden in the main event. Janniro drew the number-four lane, which is not known for many winning finishes, but riding the outside dirt and pulling every bit of power from his bike and passing his opponents on the outside clinched the deal. Becker followed him in for second, Hedden was third, and Bast was unable to finish after a crash on the last lap. The win was the sixth Scratch main-event win for Billy “The Kid” so far this season.

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Auburn’s Louie Mersaroli had a busy night of racing, competing in the Division One Handicap and Scratch programs, including the 25-lap Handicap main event, and also in the Division Two program. Mersaroli won the Division Two main event.

Louie Mersaroli (188) was hard at it at Fast Fridays, participating in the Division One programs, including the 25-lap main event, and also scoring the Division Two main-event win.

Louie Mersaroli (188) was hard at it at Fast Fridays, participating in the Division One programs, including the 25-lap main event, and also scoring the Division Two main-event win.

For Mersaroli, whose engine barely had a chance to cool down throughout Friday night, it was his second Division Two main-event win this season, though he has also made a strong showing in the Division One programs this season. Mersaroli won his Division Two heat race to transfer to the main event.

Also having a good night were Jamison Dilkey, who took second place, and Charlie Haines, who was third.

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Division Three was dominated this week by newcomers to Fast Fridays. John O’Leary, in only his third Fast Fridays showing, won the Division Three main event for the second week in a row, this week riding off the 10-yard line. With this win earning him another 10-yard handicap for next week, it looks like O’Leary will not be spending much time in Division Three. If he keeps up his winning ways, O’Leary will join the highly competitive Division Two program before the season ends.

Also new to speedway at Fast Fridays, Peter Pecorilla finished in second place for the second week in a row, and Cameron Beck, who won the Division Three main event on July 3, was third.

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Auburn’s Colton Hicks continued his tear at Fast Fridays, and after a week off the previous Friday, Hicks was back with a main-event win in the Youth A 250cc Division.

Colton Hicks (24) won his eighth Youth A 250cc main at Fast Fridays.

Colton Hicks (24) won his eighth Youth A 250cc main at Fast Fridays.

Starting from very deep yardage, Hicks managed to weave through traffic to catch Kyle Cunningham with less than a lap left to win the main event. Cunningham was second, and Chase Guerrero was third. The win brings Hicks’ Youth A 250cc main-event-win tally to eight for the season.

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Up from Southern California, Whittier resident Jake Isaac was checking out the Fast Fridays track, and he made quite an impression with a win in the Youth B 250cc main event. “Gentleman Jake” is looking forward to the Youth National Championships to be held at Fast Fridays on August 14, and he made his first appearance at Fast Fridays this season.

“This is my first time here on a 250cc bike,” Isaac said. “I’m just up here trying to get used to the track for this year’s Youth Nationals. Hopefully, next time I come up, I’ll be in Division One [the Youth A 250cc class],” he said.

Rich Vandermeeden was second and Anthony Dion was third.

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The Martin brothers were back this week, and Sterling Martin won the Youth A 150cc main event. Slater Lightcap was second and Alex Martin was third.

Returning after a couple of weeks off, Sterling Martin (31) won the Youth A 150cc main event.

Returning after a couple of weeks off, Sterling Martin (31) won the Youth A 150cc main event.

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Reaching the winners’ podium for the first time this season, Gregory Moore was first in the Youth B 150cc main event. A constant top-three finisher in the Youth B 150cc Division all season long, Moore finally put it all together for the win. Timmy Dion was second and Aidan McNutt was third.

Carmichael, California’s Gregory Moore (51) picked up his first Youth B 150cc main-event win of the season.

Carmichael, California’s Gregory Moore (51) picked up his first Youth B 150cc main-event win of the season.

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Jay Heidt was first in the crowded Run What U Brung field.

A crowded Run What U Brung main event was won by Jay Heidt (15).

A crowded Run What U Brung main event was won by Jay Heidt (15).

Robert Curry won the Trophy Dash for the second week in a row.

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Next week at Fast Fridays, one of the season’s most highly anticipated events comes to the Auburn. The North vs. South Speedway Challenge, an annual speedway grudge match, will pit two very strong teams against each other this year for year-long bragging rights. The action is spectacular, and the team scoring is interesting. Make sure you don’t miss this exciting match-up!

Fast Fridays Motorcycle Speedway at the Gold Country Fairgrounds
Auburn, California
Results: July 17, 2015

DIVISION 1 SCRATCH MAIN: 1. Billy Janniro; 2. Luke Becker; 3. Tommy Hedden; 4. Bart Bast.

DIVISION 1 25-LAP HANDICAP MAIN: 1. Broc Nicol; 2. Bart Bast; 3. Bob Hicks; 4. Charlie Venegas.

DIVISION 2 MAIN: 1. Louie Mersaroli; 2. Jamison Dilkey; 3. Charlie Haines.

DIVISION 3 MAIN: 1. John O’Leary; 2. Peter Pecorilla; 3. Cameron Beck.

YOUTH A 250 MAIN: 1. Colton Hicks; 2. Kyle Cunningham; 3. Chase Guerrero.

YOUTH B 250 MAIN: 1. Jake Isaac; 2. Rich Vandermeeden; 3. Anthony Dion.

YOUTH A 150 MAIN: 1. Sterling Martin; 2. Slater Lightcap; 3. Alex Martin.

YOUTH B 150 MAIN: 1. Gregory Moore; 2. Timmy Dion; 3. Aidan McNutt.

TROPHY DASH: 1. Robert Curry.

RUN WHAT U BRUNG: 1. Jan Heidt.

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