All-Star KIA and Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys Night: Industry Hills Expo Center
Story by Tim Kennedy
Photos by Dorcey Wingo
CITY OF INDUSTRY, CA, JULY 22, 2015
The hottest speedway-bike racer in Northern California dueled the hottest rider in Southern California last Wednesday evening at Industry Speedway, in the Grand Arena of the Industry Hills Expo Center. Northerner “Billy The Kid” Janniro won an intense two-man contest for supremacy with southerner Aaron Fox in the 500cc Division One main event. Their thrilling duel in front of 1,050 spectators was the highlight of the track’s ninth week on All-Star KIA and Russ Brown Motorcycle Attorneys Night.
Janniro, who celebrated his 35th birthday July 3, scored his fifth feature victory at in five appearances of 2015 at Industry. He has also won six of 11 Scratch main events this season and two of two Handicap features at his home track, Fast Fridays Motorcycle Speedway in Auburn, California.
Fox, who raced last year in Europe for the Edinburgh (Scotland) team in the British League, won the last two Industry features. He made it three feature wins in a row last Saturday in the Costa Mesa Speedway main event during the opening weekend of the Orange County Fair.
On this evening, Janniro selected lane two for his feature starting spot. Fox, 27, chose the inside lane. Broc Nicol, 17, picked the outside lane, leaving Charlie Venegas, 48, lane three.
When the starting gate lifted, Fox shot into the lead entering the first turn. He emerged from turn two on the inside with a narrow lead over Janniro, on the outside. At full speed entering turn three, Janniro had the lead and was solidly in front exiting the fourth corner. He then led all four laps over a pressing Fox, who trailed by three bikelengths at the checkered flag, which flew at 10:05 p.m. Venegas finished third, five bikelengths behind Fox. Nicol was four bikelengths in back of Venegas.
Max Ruml, starting from the inside lane, led every lap in the Division one consi. A fast-improving Russell Green, 23, was a pressing runner-up. Tyson Burmeister, who was making his season debut after returning from an injury, was third, and Buck Blair finished in fourth.
No rider scored a perfect nine points by winning all three of his heat races. Three riders – Janniro, Fox and Nicol – tied with eight points for two wins and a second-place finish. It took four points to make the top eight positions and earn a berth in the two semifinals.
Nine sidecar teams raced their main event in their usual clockwise direction. Joe Jones & his sidecar swinger Tom Summers led all four laps after starting from the inside lane. Bryan Motis & his swing man Josh Bennett took second position with an inside pass in turn three on the final lap. James Kinne & his rider Johnny Glover settled for third. Jeff Rowe & Ashley Gibbons finished fourth.
The number-74 rig of Kinne & Glover had to win a run-off race with Jeff Medberry & Niki Davis to earn the fourth starting spot after they tied in the points following two rounds of heat races.
The number-31 sidecar of driver Robert Curry & swing man David Dent won the four-rig Sidecar consolation race.
The versatile Curry, who hails from Sacramento, California, also raced in the 500cc Division Two main event.
The 500cc Division Two feature for intermediate-level racers produced the seventh different winner in eight races this season. Eloy Medellin gave himself a 46th-birthday present four days early on his Jawa lay-down long-stroke. The retired U.S. Marine Corps sergeant was in front from the green flag to the checkers. Hayley Perrault, the 18-year-old July 15 D-2 winner, ran in second all four laps. Ray Richards was third and Robert Curry was fourth.
The competitive D-2 field of 16 veteran riders ran two rounds of heats for points, scored 4, 3, 2, 1. Curry won his two heats for eight points and earned an automatic spot in the feature. Five other riders tied at seven points by virtue of a win and a second-place finish. That necessitated a five-rider run-off race for three vacant feature positions. The top three finishers were Perrault, Richards, and Medellin. Nathan Siegel and Davey Shaw finished in fourth and fifth, respectively. Rudy Laurer scored six points and Rick Valdez tallied five points.
The 500cc Division Three field of eight newer riders came down to a four-rider main after two preliminary rounds in a night that had 47 races, including two run-off races. Steve “Beach Ball” Brown, a 56-year-old racer from Riverside, California, started on pole and led this one all the way on his four-valve Jawa.
George Yates, Wade “The Rev” Whitcomb, and returning former D-2 rider Brent Smith finished second through fourth, respectively.
Three Junior Divisions produced upset winners in each feature for the rapidly improving younger riders. Six Junior 250cc riders competed, and five of them ran in the main event.
During the first 250cc heat, Michael Wells fell on the back stretch on the initial lap. Sara Cords, the 15-year-old winner of the July 8 main, struck a wheel of Wells’ downed bike; she fell forward face first and landed hard. Both riders remained on the ground for a short time before remounting and restarting the race. However, Cords did not race in two subsequent races.
As usual, frequent 250cc winner Sebastian Palmese, 11, started 50 yards from the gate. Wells, 14, started 10 yards from the gate and led all five laps over the fast-closing runner-up Palmese.
The July 15 winner, Jake Isaac, 13, started at the 20-yard line and finished third. Gate starters James Blair and Janniro’s 11-year old nephew Dylan Wagner from Napa, California, finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
The Mini 150cc main event was the first 150cc feature victory for “Lightning Luke” Whitcomb, 9, who hails from Anaheim, California. He has been racing for five years, since he was 4. He has won 50cc Pee Wee main events 32 times at various Southern California tracks and was Industry Speedway Pee Wee champion. He has raced 150cc bikes since 2014 and has won Division Two 150 mains elsewhere, but this was his first 150cc feature victory at Industry. He started at the 10-yard line and led all five laps.
Frequent 150cc winner Slater Lightcap, 9, started at the 50-yard line and was 25 yards in back of “Lightning Luke” when the checkers flew. Skylar Schnakenberg, 16, enjoyed her best feature finish – third. Dakota Shockley, “Speedway Charlie” Trana, Keelan Venegas and Rachel Schnakenberg, 9, finished fourth through seventh, respectively.
The Pee Wee 50cc main also had a seven-rider field. All riders except frequent winner Travis Horn, 7, started at the gate; Horn started his Honda XR50 from the 50-yard line. Fontana resident Jose Navarette, 6, shot into the lead immediately on his Yamaha 50 and led all four laps. It was his initial feature triumph at Industry. Recent winners Cole Ayers, 9, and Levi Leutz, 6, followed. Six-time 2015 Industry winner Horn experienced difficulty advancing past slower riders and finished fourth. Conner Salazar, 7, lapped Gavin Dryfka, 4. Downed rider Richard Stephens, 9, completed the field.
Six-year speedway veteran Dave Clark, a 33-year-old resident of Berkshire, New York, was a first-time Industry Speedway D-1 competitor on July 22. He rode his number-60E Jawa and raced impressively in his first heat, finishing second for two points. He ran fourth in round two. In round three, Charlie Venegas fell in turn four; Clark’s front wheel clipped a wheel of Venegas’ downed mount. As Venegas wheeled his bike to the infield, Clark raced into turn four and fell hard near the pit gate. He was pinned under his bike with the throttle stuck open. Helpers arrived quickly and shut off the engine. Clark did not make a semifinal.
Fan favorite “Fast Eddie” Castro, 55, from Ojai, California, has been absent from speedway races this season. He has been battling cancer, which was diagnosed after he started dealing with back pain. His doctors feel that recent surgery has removed all cancer cells. Eddie’s wife, Roxanne, was at Industry this week, plugging the testimonial race for Eddie that will be held on Saturday, August 1, at Perris Raceway. All divisions, plus sidecars, will race. Heat-race sponsorship opportunities are available for $100. All funds raised will go toward defraying Eddie’s mounting medical bills.
Another D-1 rider who was missing from Industry on July 22 was Rocco Scopellite, 19, from Huntington Beach, California. He had crashed at Costa Mesa Speedway on July 18; the impact broke the crash wall – and also broke Scopellite’s back. A lengthy absence from racing is expected. Everyone wishes the popular teen a speedy and complete recovery. Rocco won the June 10 D-1 Handicap feature at Industry.
Next Wednesday, July 29, at Industry Speedway will be the annual Bruce Flanders Ugly Hawaiian Shirt Contest, with prizes for the top three shirts, as voted upon vocally by grandstand fans.
The announced Industry Speedway D-1 points leader for the last two weeks is D-1 rookie Dillon Ruml, 16. Janniro was second in points after racing in only five of nine events.
Aaron Fox won the Division One main event at the Orange County Fair in Costa Mesa on July 18, over Buck Blair, Broc Nicol and Mike Faria.
A special “thank you!” from everyone at Industry and especially the sidecar teams goes out to grandstands fan Steve Summers. He added $400 to the July 22 purse for sidecar riders.
A four-rider two-wheel bicycle race (not tricycles, as in past years) was run prior to the D-1 semifinal races. B. O’Connor, 37, led all the way in the one-lap race. Junior 250cc rider Sebastian Palmese, 11, wore his number-18 leathers; he peddled hard but finished a close second.
Brent Smith led every lap en route to his two Division Three heat-race victories at Industry on July 22. Then he was a close fourth in the main, in only his second outing since retiring in 2004 to raise a family. He had raced from 1996 to 2004 and advanced to Division Two. His 10-year-old daughter watched him race on July 15, when he did not make the D-3 main. A week later, he won his two heats and made the feature. He could return to D-2 status soon.
So Cal Oval Karters (SCOK) would race at the Grand Arena in the Industry Hills Expo Center on Saturday, July 25. Two types of racing vehicles would compete for the first time at the Grand: Dirt karts and “speedway sprints” with cages and motorcycle engines will race for points. The Grand stop is round seven on the 14-race schedule.
SCOK series oval races are held at John Aden’s Wheel2Wheel Raceway in Victorville, Perris Raceway at 1205 Burton Road in Perris, once on the PAS road course (on May 30), plus the July 25 Industry Hills oval under the Grand roof. USAC-CRA 410 sprint driver Brody Roa of Garden Grove, California, has won two 2015 mains in his KT100 with the number 84 – a number used by his dad, Brent, on his CRA sprint car in the 1980s. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for seniors and military personnel, $5 for juniors 13 through 17, and kids 12 and under are admitted free. Parking is $5.
The Grand Arena at Industry Hills Expo Center
City of Industry, California
Results: July 22, 2015
SIDECAR MAIN: 1. Joe Jones/ Tom Summers; 2. Bryan Motis/ Josh Bennett; 3. James Kinne/ Johnny Glover; 4. Jeff Rowe/ Ashley Gibbons.
PEE WEE MAIN: 1. Jose Navarette (0); 2. Cole Ayers (90); 3. Levi Leutz (0); 4. Travis Horn (50); 5. Conner Salazar (0); 6. Gavin Dryfka (0); 7. Richard Stephens (0).
MINI 150 MAIN: 1. Luke Whitcomb (10); 2. Slater Lightcap (50); 3. Skylar Schnakenberg (0); 4. Dakota Shockley (10); 5. Charlie Trana (10); 6. Keelan Venegas (10); 7. Rachel Schnakenberg (0).
JR 250 MAIN: 1. Michael Wells (10); 2. Sebastian Palmese (50); 3. Jake Isaac (20); 4. James Blair (0); 5. Dylan Wagner (0).
DIVISION 3 MAIN: 1. Steve Brown; 2. George Yates; 3. Wade Whitcomb; 4. Brent Smith.
DIVISION 2 MAIN: 1. Eloy Medellin; 2. Hayley Perrault; 3. Rick Richards; 4. Robert Curry.
SCRATCH CONSOLATION: 1. Max Ruml; 2. Russell Green; 3. Tyson Burmeister; 4. Buck Blair.
SCRATCH MAIN: 1. Billy Janniro; 2. Aaron Fox; 3. Charlie Venegas; 4. Broc Nicol.