AMA/FIM Junior Speedway Silver Cup Championship
Industry Racing at the Industry Hills Expo Center
Story by Tim Kennedy
Photos by Dorcey Wingo
CITY OF INDUSTRY, CA, AUG. 9, 2015
The third annual AMA/FIM Silver Cup Championship took place on Sunday, August 9, at Industry Speedway in the Grand Arena of the Industry Hills Expo Center. The 34 races ran from 12:30 to 2:40 p.m. in front of about 200 persons, primarily family and friends of the 31 Junior and Youth riders in attendance. Parking and admission were free. Some Wednesday night speedway fans came out to watch the young stars of tomorrow develop their racing skills.
This event for 250cc Juniors and 150cc Youth Mini Division One and Division Two racers had riders from ages 8 through 16 competing. This event at Industry is the only Junior Speedway Championship event recognized by the FIM, the foremost motorcycle-racing sanctioning body in the world. Industry Speedway has hosted the event all three years.
Racing used the European Grand Prix championship format. Point-scoring success moved riders into semifinals and then the three main events. Main-event winners earned the title 2015 AMA/FIM Junior Speedway Silver Cup Champion. They earned donated cash up to $350 for the winners and the top three garnered trophies that were larger than the riders themselves! All riders competing also received gift bags. Justice Brothers provided all the fuel. The top three bikes were impounded to check for compliance with technical rules.
The grand marshals for the event were 1996 Speedway World Champion Billy Hamill and his wife, Christina. Billy has been a longtime, major supporter of Junior Speedway racing. His Hagon Shocks and Hagon-supported Junior Speedway Academy have helped develop the outstanding crop of talented Junior Speedway racers today. Many of the past Junior Speedway riders are now winners in the 500cc Division One ranks.
Colton Hicks, 13, who hails from Auburn in Northern California, was the 250cc Junior Champion. He won all four of his heat races to score a perfect 12 points. He led every lap he raced, including the four-lap feature. He is the son of 500cc Division One rider Bob Hicks, who raced at Industry the previous night.
Sterling Martin, 10, from Salinas, California, was the Youth Mini 150cc Division One Champion. Like Hicks, Martin also won all four of his heat races, scoring the maximum 12 points, and then led all four laps of the First Division main event, for more experienced 150cc riders.
The Youth Mini 150cc Division Two Champion was Sam Hagon, 10, from London, England. Hagon won three of his four heats and finished second in the other one for a score of 11 points. He led all four laps in the Second Division main event, for less experienced 150cc riders.
The 250cc Juniors field consisted of 11 riders ranging in ages from 11 to 16. Seven riders came from Northern California and four from Southern California.
The Youth Mini 150cc First Division field had 10 riders from age 8 to 12. Seven came from Nor Cal and three from So Cal.
The Youth Mini 150cc Second Division field had riders ranging from 8 years old to 11. Four competitors came from Nor Cal, five from So Cal, and one from Europe.
Several Northern California riders were racing at Industry Speedway for the first time, and all of them loved the facility and its large video screen above turn three for live and replay coverage. The entire event was telecast live on the IndustrySpeedway.com website. Track announcer Bruce Flanders provided commentary.
Industry Speedway Racing Director Kelly Inman had his usual experienced crew of officials working the event. Steve Lucero was the referee, Tom Fox was the starter, and Ryan Evans was the pit steward.
A drone operator flew his drone over the indoor racing site during the performance of the national anthem and during the three main events to provide unique views of the action.
There were 12 total heat races in the 250cc Juniors division. Colton Hicks won four heat races, Jake Isaac won three, Sebastian Palmese won two, and Dylan Wagner, Anthony Dion and Kyle Cunningham each won one heat race.
In the Youth Mini 150cc First Division, Sterling Martin won four heats; his twin brother, Alex Martin, won three; Slater Lightcap won two; and Luke Whitcomb won one, for a total of 10 heats.
There were also 10 Youth Mini 150cc Division Two heat races. Timmy Dion won four, and Greg Moore and Sam Hagon won three apiece.
The top four riders in points had lane choice for the main event, with the highest in points choosing a starting lane first.
In the 250cc Juniors division, Hicks had a perfect tally of 12 points. Palmese and Isaac had 10 each. Cunningham and Blake Borello had seven each. Anthony Dion, who is 13, and Dylan Wagner, who’s 11, had six points each. Landon Norton had five, Michael Wells had four, Richie Vandermeeden had three, and Skylar Schnakenberg had one; the latter two riders are both age 16.
In the Youth Mini 150cc First Division, Sterling Martin had a perfect 12-point tally. Alex Martin had 11, Slater Lightcap had 10, Landon Collins had eight, Enzo Sorani had six, Cameron Krezman had five, Luke Whitcomb had four, Logan Hedden had two, and Keelan Venegas and Charlie Trana had one each.
In the Youth Mini 150cc Second Division, Timmy Dion was perfect with 12 points, Sammy Hagon had 11, Greg Moore had 10), Dakota Shockley and Andrew Russell had six each, Glenn Geist had five, Sammy Waddill had four, 10th-birthday celebrant Rachel Schnakenberg had three, Colton Nelson had two, and Nick Dunn scored a zero.
One hard crash occurred during event 17, a 250cc round-three heat race. Jake Isaac, 13, led the first lap. Then Michael Wells, 14, led laps two and three. Wells exited turn two on the final lap with a narrow lead. However, he spun and fell on the back stretch. Isaac, who was following closely, struck Wells’ bike and also fell hard. Wells remained on the ground near the wall for several minutes with the wind knocked out of him. Then he walked to the pits unassisted. He did race later in the afternoon.
London resident Hagon started the Youth Mini 150cc Division Two main from pole position. Lined up to his right were Carmichael, California’s Greg Moore; Dakota Shockley from Rancho Cucamonga, California; and 11-year-old Timmy Dion, who hails from Grass Valley, California.
Hagon led all four laps and beat Dion to the finish by 30 yards. Moore and Shockley each had five yards between their bike and the rider in front of them.
On the line for the Youth Mini 150cc Division One main, lane-one starter Sterling Marlin, 10, had his twin brother, Alex, alongside him. Slater Lightcap, 9, from Huntington Beach, California, was starting from the third lane. Auburn’s Landon Collins, 9, was next to the wall.
Sterling led every lap with his usual perfect ride on the straights and in the turns. Lightcap passed Alex on the initial lap and finished 15 yards behind the leader. Alex tried to make a last-lap charge to make it a Martin brothers one-two finish, but he fell one bikelength short of besting Lightcap. Nevertheless, both twins shared the podium and sprayed onlookers later from bottles of sparkling cider. Collins was fourth on lap two when he fell in the second turn; he pushed his bike to the infield.
In the 250cc Juniors main, Hicks shot into the lead from the pole position and won by two bikelengths over 2013 FIM 150cc D-1 champion and 2013-14 Junior National Champion Sebastian Palmese, 12, who hails from Rancho Santa Margarita, California.
Palmese had started from lane three. Auburn’s Kyle Cunningham, 11, started from lane four and ran third every lap but trailed the leaders by 30 yards. Lane-two starter Jake Isaac, 13, from Whittier, California, touched the starting tapes with his front wheel before the start; per Grand Prix rules, he was excluded from the race and had to ride back to the pits.
Well-attended award ceremonies after the final race took place in the pits near the track’s entrance gate. The top three finishers in all three features stood on the podium, received their huge trophies and prize-money envelopes, and posed for photos before spraying onlookers with cider.
The free, 12-page program given to everyone in attendance had six color pages with numerous photos of the riders.
Everyone got back on the road shortly before 4 p.m. with smiles on their faces after racing on “their day” when they did not have to share the track with adults.
Attendees included Saturday night AMA National Championship round-three feature winner Billy Janniro. His nephew Dylan Wagner, 11, from Napa, California, raced in the 250cc class.
Charlie “The Edge” Venegas, who had finished fourth in the feature the night before, was helping his son Keelan, 11, race in the Youth Mini 150cc First Division.
Bob Hicks and his number-808 Jawa were still in the pits after he also raced Saturday in round three. His son Colton rode his number-24 mount to victory in every 250cc event he contested. He looks like the next Nor Cal rider to follow in the footsteps of Brentwood’s Luke Becker, a 16-year-old 500cc D-1 rookie in 2015, to speedway-racing stardom.
Other young Saturday night 500cc riders who were present to watch the Juniors and Youth race as they had in recent years were included Max Ruml and his brother Dillon, 16, and Austin Novratil. Most of the Nor Cal teams came south a day early to watch the Saturday night racing at Industry Speedway.
Track announcer Bruce Flanders manned the PA microphone for the first time at the all-AMA/FIM Junior racing program.
Barry Weiss, star of TV’s “Storage Wars,” is a regular at Wednesday night Industry Speedway racing. He often gives Industry Speedway racing director Kelly Inman $20 or more in cash to add to the racing purse. Kelly announced this weekend that Weiss stepped up big time and added $1,000 in cash to distribute to the Junior riders at the final Wednesday night 2015 race at Industry on August 26 – the night of the California State Championship.
Other supporters of the AMA/FIM Junior Speedway Silver Cup Championship event included Carol and Dave Perez; Nor Cal Chuck; World Champion Greg Hancock; Alarmco Integrated Solutions; the Bernardi, Palmese and Martin families; Dave Gallegos of Speedway USA; Images Screen-printing; Robie Peterson; Max and Dillon Ruml; Kurtis Hamill; Luke Becker; Maria Valles; Courtney Crone; Warnock Racing; Rich Vandermeeden; the Nelsons; Big Time Speedway; Dingus McGees; the Hagon family; Rick Shafer; SpeedwayBikes.com; R.C. Jones; Justice Brothers; Sidecar Champion driver Joe Jones; and land-speed racer Danny Thompson, son of the late Mickey Thompson.
Industry Racing at the Industry Hills Expo Center
City of Industry, California
Results: August 9, 2015
YOUTH MINI 150 DIVISION 2 FINAL: 1. Sam Hagon; 2. Timmy Dion; 3. Greg Moore; 4. Dakota Shockley.
YOUTH MINI 150 DIVISION 1 FINAL: 1. Sterling Martin; 2. Slater Lightcap; 3. Alex Martin; 4. Landon Collins (fell).
250 JUNIORS SILVER CUP FINAL: 1. Colton Hicks; 2. Sebastian Palmese; 3. Kyle Cunningham; 4. Jake Isaac (tape exclusion).