Bruce Flanders Ugly Hawaiian Shirt Contest Night: Industry Hills Expo Center
Story by Tim Kennedy
Photos by Dorcey Wingo
CITY OF INDUSTRY, CA, JULY 29, 2015
Youth will be served, according to a familiar saying.
It was Wednesday at Industry Speedway, during AMA speedway racing. Broc Nicol, a 17-year-old star from Lomita, California, won his first Scratch main event at Industry. He did so after a head-to-head duel with his friend Max Ruml, 18, from Huntington Beach, California. The two teens flew together last month to race in Europe for Team USA in the World Team Cup Championship. Nicol, the son of Division One rider Doug Nicol, has previously won D-1 features at Perris Raceway in Perris, California, and Pirate Speedway in San Bernardino, California.
Nicol started from the outside, next to the plywood wall. Ruml had the inside lane in the featured D-1 main, which was the 41st race of the night.
Ruml shot into the lead entering turn one. Nicol powered past him on the outside leaving the second corner and then led all four laps by a bikelength over Ruml.
Lane-three starter Austin Novratil, 20, ran a close third all the way in his second race back after a brief “vacation” earlier this season. Tommy Hedden, a 42-year-old veteran from Auburn in Northern California, was the senior member of the feature field; he started from the second lane and ran in fourth on every lap.
Novratil trailed the two front-runners by three bikelengths at the finish. Hedden slowed a bit approaching the checkers when he saw that he could not advance.
Ruml and Hedden both scored the maximum nine points by winning three heat races. Following the feature, Nicol and Ruml hiked their front wheels and rode in tandem on both straights in celebration. They also performed synchronized doughnuts on the track near the fourth turn.
The 10th week of season 12 was the annual Bruce Flanders Ugly Hawaiian Shirt Contest Night. Judging took place before D-1 semifinal races. Prizes were awarded to the top three persons, as measured by spectator applause and cheering. Industry Speedway officials also wore Hawaiian shirts. The event helped attract more than 900 persons to the midweek racing-place-to-be. More persons, including father-and-son 500cc racers Brad and Brayden Sauer from Bakersfield, California, watched at home via the Internet.
The Division One 500cc consolation race went to D-1 rookie Dillon Ruml, 16, in a green-flag-to-checkers run from lane three. Russell Green, 23, was second. D-2 regular Mike Dalbey, who was moved up to Division One by officials, was third. Braydan Galvin, who was celebrating his 17th birthday on July 31, finished fourth.
A crash in the second round of Division One racing saw second-place rider Gage Geist, 16, fall on the back stretch during the second lap. Closely following third-place rider Shawn McConnell hit Geist, who remained on the ground for several minutes with a foot injury. McConnell rose and walked to the pits and later raced in round three. Two men lifted and carried Geist back to the pits. It was determined that he had a broken bone in one of his feet.
Among the missing D-1 veteran riders this week were five-time 2015 Industry winner Billy Janniro, Aaron Fox, Charlie Venegas, Buck Blair and Neil Facchini. Also moving up to Division One to complete the 12-rider field was Kurtis Hamill, 16, son of the still-recuperating 1996 National Champion Billy Hamill.
Robert Curry, a 500cc Division Two rider and also a 1,000cc sidecar driver from Northern California, double-dipped again by racing in both divisions. He started the D-2 main in lane two and led the final three laps after first-lap leader Rick Richards fell entering turn one; Richards remounted and finished fourth. Eloy Medellin and Rudy Laurer finished second and third, respectively. All 15 D-2 riders present raced for points to determine the feature field.
Curry had also won the July 8 Industry D-2 feature. He stopped at the turn-four pit gate and motioned for his ex-wife Laurie to join him on his victory lap with the checkered flag. She climbed aboard his Jawa and waved the checkered flag on their slow victory lap. Laurie also became Robert’s sidecar swinger for his final two sidecar races after rookie rider Dana Catone, 23, received a hip injury in the first sidecar heat; she was subbing for the number-31 rig’s absent swinger David Dent. [See the section on Sidecars, below… Editor]
Steve “Beach Ball” Brown started from gate two and led all four laps of the 500cc Division Three feature for newer and returning riders. The big man has lost 80 pounds in recent years so he could get back into speedway racing. George Yates, Wade “the Reverend” Whitcomb, and the returning Brent Smith finished in second through fourth, respectively.
Six sidecar teams raced two rounds of heats to put four teams into the feature. High pointers Joe Jones, 35, & his swing man Tom Summers, 51, led all four laps from the pole on their number-7X 2004, 1000cc Suzuki GSXR.
The second-in-points team of Bryan Motis & his “monkey” (i.e., swinger) Josh Bennett also transferred directly to the feature, on their number-two 2003, 1000cc Yamaha.
Other teams raced in the consi that sent the top two finishing teams to the main event. The number-12 husband-and-wife team of Charlie Davis & Niki Davis won the consi, over the Curry team, on the number-31 rig. Rick Garcia & Adam Duckett team (number 33) placed third.
Laurie Curry, who was injured two months ago at Costa Mesa Speedway, was pressed into service to race in the last two races with the husband she divorced years ago but still lives with in Sacramento, California. In the first Sidecar heat race, Robert Curry got sideways entering the first turn on lap three. The closely following team of Garcia & Duckett quickly slammed into the exposed hip of Dana Catone. Both rigs pulled into the infield, and Catone rolled onto the ground before limping to the pits. She was unable to race again. Laurie donned leathers and subbed for Catone in the last-chance race and the feature.
Six Junior 250cc riders, including three from Northern California, raced a pair of heats and a feature. Auburn resident Kyle Cunningham, 11, led all four laps on his Jawa. It was his first feature victory at Industry. Jake Isaac, 13, Auburn’s Colton Hicks, 13, Michael Wells, 14, and first-time Industry racer Richie Vandermeeden, 11, also from Auburn, followed. Sebastian Palmese, 11, fell on lap four and did not finish.
The Mini 150cc main also had six riders, also including three from Nor Cal. Northerners “Speedway Charlie” Trana, 7, and 10-year old twins Sterling and Alex Martin from Salinas finished one, two, three. London, England’s Sam Hagon, 10, made his 2015 Industry debut and finished fourth. Andrew Russell, 10, and Rachel Schnakenberg, 9, completed the field.
Seven Pee Wees ran two heats and a main. All of the tykes started at the gate except for six-time Industry Pee Wee 2015 winner Travis Horn, 7, who started 40 yards from the gate this week instead of 50 yards back. He has not won since July 8; hence the 10-yard concession this week.
Yamaha 50cc rider Jose Navarette, 6, led all four laps and won his second consecutive first-place trophy. Horn was a fast-closing runner-up. July 1 winner Levi Leutz, 6, Richard Stephens, 9, and Conner Salazar, 7, followed. July 15 winner Cole Ayers, 9, fell on lap two and did not finish. Youngest rider Gavin Dryfka, 4, did not start.
Industry Speedway will be dark next Wednesday, August 5, to enable riders to get their equipment ready for round three of four in the battle for the 2015 AMA Speedway National Championship. It will take place at Industry Speedway on Saturday, August 8. The top three in points after round one at Costa Mesa and round two in Ventura are Billy Janniro (with 36 points), Max Ruml (with 32) and Broc Nicol (with 30). The top 14 in points after August 8 will be in the 16-rider round four at Auburn.
Starting at noon on Sunday afternoon, August 9, will be the third annual AMA/ FIM Youth Silver Cup Championship for 250cc and 150cc riders. Parking and admission are free of charge.
On July 29, Industry announcer Bruce Flanders interviewed generous Steve Summers, who donated $400 to the sidecar teams. He said he was a sidecar-racing “monkey” (or swing man) at Ascot Park in the 1960s.
Among the Industry spectators this week were fans of stock cars at Irwindale Speedway and sprint cars at The PAS. Jack Crone and his speedway bike/ midget/ sprint-car-racing daughter Courtney, 14, watched from the grandstands.
Sara Cords, 15, who was the July 15 Junior 250cc feature winner at Industry but also the victim of a fall on July 22, was in the pits this week.
After recovering from a broken wrist, Kurtis Hamill returned to racing this week for the first time since January. In his first night as a D-1 rider, he scored points in all three heats. His solo points in each heat gave him three total, tying him for seventh place with two other riders in a 12-rider field. Eight riders made the two semifinals, but Kurtis ranked ninth by the head-to-head tie-breaking system.
Bob Richards finished fourth in both of his rides in his first racing at Industry. The 50-year-old racer from Colorado Springs, Colorado, is deaf.
Dave Clark, a D-1 rider from Upstate New York, was entered but did not appear after racing at Industry on July 22.
The annual North vs. South Challenge speedway team-racing event took place on Friday, July 24, at Fast Fridays Motorcycle Speedway in Auburn. The South team won it with 70 points, to the 65 scored by the North riders. The North has won every year since 2011 and led the overall yearly tally 15-8. The South team riders (with points scored in parenthesis) were Aaron Fox (19), Max Ruml (16), Shawn McConnell (11), Broc Nicol (11), Charlie Venegas (7) and Dillon Ruml (6). The North team riders were Bart Bast (20), Billy Janniro (18), Tommy Hedden (16), Bob Hicks (9), Tyler Warren (1) and Luke Becker (1). [For more from this event, including race coverage, results and photos, please see “South Team Wins 24th North vs. South Challenge” by Michael Kirby… Editor]
Last Saturday, July 25, was the first So Cal Oval Karting and caged Speedway Sprints races at Industry Speedway. Some 37 racing events took place from 1 to 5:58 p.m. in front of 106 spectators in the grandstands and more than 100 in the pits. A nice breeze through the open sides of the covered Grand Arena on a hot 90-degree afternoon made it comfortable for fans. The event’s promoters were Mike Nigh and John Aden, promoter of W2W Speedway in Victorville, California.
Kart classes included Junior, KT100A, KT100B, F200s, Senior four-cycle Karts, and Open Karts. Many karts used YOA Racing air-cooled, 100cc engines built in La Mirada.
Speedway Sprints used Jawa 500cc motorcycle engines. Classes included Intermediate Speedway Sprints, 500s, and Restrictor Speedway Sprints. Several girls raced in the large field in both groups. D-1 500cc speedway bike veteran Buck Blair and his 14-year-old nephew James raced the number-39 Speedway Sprint and were competitive.
Industry Hills Expo Center’s Grand Arena
City of Industry, California
Results: July 29, 2015
SIDECAR MAIN: 1. Joe Jones/ Tom Summers; 2. Bryan Motis/ Josh Bennett; 3. Charlie Davis/ Niki Davis; 4. Robert Curry/ David Dent.
PEE WEE MAIN: 1. Jose Navarette 90); 2. Travis Horn (40); 3. Levi Leutz (0); 4. Richard Stephens (0); 5. Conner Salazar (0); 6. Cole Ayers (0); 7 .Gavin Dryfka (0).
MINI 150 MAIN: 1. Charlie Trana (10); 2. Sterling Martin (40); 3. Alex Martin (30); 4. Sam Hagon (0); 5. Andrew Russell (0); 6. Rachel Schnakenberg (0).
JR 250 MAIN: 1. Kyle Cunningham (0); 2. Jake Isaac (20); 3. Colton Hicks (50); 4. Michael Wells (20); 5. Richie Vandermeeden (0); 6. Sebastian Palmese (50; fell).
DIVISION 3 MAIN: 1. Steve Brown; 2. George Yates; 3. Wade Whitcomb; 4. Brent Smith.
DIVISION 2 MAIN: 1. Robert Curry; 2. Eloy Medellin; 3. Rudy Laurer; 4. Rick Richards.
SCRATCH CONSOLATION: 1. Dillon Ruml; 2. Russell Green; 3. Mike Dalbey; 4. Braydan Galvin.
SCRATCH MAIN: 1. Broc Nicol; 2. Max Ruml; 3. Austin Novratil; 4. Tommy Hedden.