AMA Youth National Championships
Fast Fridays Motorcycle Speedway at the Gold Country Fairgrounds
Story and Photos by Michael Kirby
AUBURN, CA, AUG. 14, 2015
In a very exciting, full racing program at Fast Fridays Motorcycle Speedway in Auburn, California, on Friday night, the 2015 AMA Youth National Speedway Championships in the 150cc and 250cc classes were decided.
Sixteen riders in the 150cc class and 11 riders in the 250cc class competed for trophies that were nearly as tall as the riders themselves – and for the coveted AMA number-one plate.
The best young riders in the nation and the future stars of speedway racing in America duked it out through an aggressive program to see who would be champion. Youth riders scored three points for a first-place finish, two points for a second-place finish and one point for a third-place finish.
Also included in Friday night’s program – which was filled with 58 races – was a full night of Division One, Division Two and Division Three racing.
Capping a tremendous season in a division he basically owned all year, Auburn’s own Colton Hicks won the 2015 AMA Youth 250cc National Speedway Championship with a perfect night. Coming off a championship 250cc win in the Silver Cup at Industry Racing in Southern California the previous Sunday, Hicks won every race he contested and finished the heat races with a perfect 12 points.
Southern California’s Sebastian Palmese also finished with 12 points, but he and Hicks did not meet until the National final race.
Hicks usually races off a deep handicap during his weekly races, but in the National competition, he was at the tapes for the starts.
In the final, the four riders with the most points lined up for a winner-take-all race to be crowned 2015 AMA 250cc Youth National Speedway Champion. Palmese, with 12 points, won the draw and chose lane one. Hicks chose lane two. Blake Borello was in lane three, and Kyle Cunningham was in lane four.
From the gate, Hicks had the jump and the lead. Off the line, Hicks is unbeatable, and this race was no different. Lap by lap, Hicks increased his lead over Palmese, who gave chase.
Hicks continued to increase his lead with each lap and took the checkered flag for the championship, followed by Palmese and then Kyle Cunningham. Borello slid out on lap three and did not finish.
The pit crew and friends ceremonially threw the 13-year-old Hicks in the air, and there were smiles on all faces.
“I am pretty stoked about the win – it was a lot of work,” said Hicks. “I was confident after last week’s win [at the Silver Cup] that I could win again.”
The 2015 AMA 150cc Youth National Speedway Championship was also very exciting. This championship would be decided by total points at the end of five rounds of racing. A run-off would be needed only if there was a tie after 20 heat races.
The Martin brothers were neck and neck throughout the evening, with Slater Nightcap and Auburn’s Cameron Krezman holding their own. With these four riders, the final tally could’ve gone anyone’s way.
When the dust settled after 20 rounds, it was Sterling Martin who hung on and won the championship with a perfect 15 points. His twin brother, Alex Martin, finished second in one race and tallied 14 points and took second place overall. Lightcap, with 13 points, was third, and Krezman grabbed 12 points for fourth.
Sterling Martin got the “pit toss,” and he and his brother delivered a one-two punch, keeping first and second place in the family.
“It’s pretty cool to be a champion,” said the 10-year-old Sterling. “I knew that if I didn’t crash, I had it in the last race.”
Sterling and his brother Alex are Salinas residents and travel to Fast Fridays for most races.
Overshadowed a little by the Youth Championships, Fast Fridays did have division races, and Bart Bast picked up his second Scratch main-event win of the season. Bast took advantage of the number-one lane and a great start to stay ahead of Billy Janniro to grab the win.
“The start was the key,” said Bast. “The track was pretty blown off; even Billy [Janniro] could not make up for the way the track was. There were just so many races on the track tonight.”
Janniro was in lane four, and on a track that was well worn by the full program, Janniro did not have enough dirt on the track to pass Bast on the outside. Bast held his own against Janniro, who was on the outside, and Tommy Hedden, who was nipping at his heels on the inside. Hedden finished second, Janniro came in third, and Broc Nicol was fourth.
Visiting from Southern California, Dillon Ruml got it done in the Handicap main event. Ruml was able to stay in front of his older brother Max Ruml for the win. Dillon had a 20-yard start advantage on his brother, but the two siblings went at it hard. Dillon Ruml won, Max Ruml was second, and Billy Janniro, coming off the 60-yard line, was third. Both Rumls entered the Handicap main event with first- and second-place finishes in their heat and semifinal races.
The Division Two main event was won by Jamison Dilkey. Riding in both the Division One and Division Two programs, Dilkey finished second in his heat race to get to the main event. Second place went to Shawn Eldredge, and third was Lawrence McNutt.
For the second week in a row, Peter Pecorilla was first in the Division Three main event. Pecorilla will now get another 10 yards added to his handicap for his efforts, and will now start on the 20-yard line. John O’Leary was second and John Peters was third.
If you like speedway racing action, you got your money’s worth this Friday night. Along with the regular racing program, these youngsters really went at it hard, and it will not be long until you see these boys up in the adult divisions, tearing it up with the big guys. These riders are the future of speedway racing, and by the looks of the level of competition these youngsters put out Friday night, American speedway is in good hands.
Fast Fridays Motorcycle Speedway at the Gold Country Fairgrounds
Results: August 14, 2015
2015 AMA 250cc Youth National Speedway Championship: 1. Colton Hicks (3, 3, 3, 3, 3 – 15); 2. Sebastian Palmese (3, 3, 3, 3, 2 – 14); 3. Kyle Cunningham (2, 2, 2, 2, 1 – 9); 4. Blake Borello (0, 3, 3, 3, 0 – 9); 5. Dylan Wagner (1, 2, 2, 1 – 6); 6. Jake Isaac (2, 2, 2, 2 – 6); 7. Chase Guerrero (3, 0, 0, 2 – 5); 8. Landon Norton (1, 1, 1, 2 – 5); 9. Anthony Dion (2, 1, 0, 1 – 4); 10. Sammy Tetrault (1, 1, 0, 1 – 3); 11. Rich Vandermeeden (0, 0, 1 – 1).
2015 AMA 150cc Youth National Speedway Championship: 1. Sterling Martin (3, 3, 3, 3, 3 – 15); 2. Alex Martin (2, 3, 3, 3, 3 – 14); 3. Slater Lightcap (3, 2, 3, 2, 3 – 13); 4. Cameron Krezman (3, 3, 2, 2, 2 – 12); 5. Enzo Sorani (2, 1, 2, 3, 3 – 11); 6. Landon Collins (1, 3, 3, 0, 2 – 9); 7. Luke Whitcomb (2, 2, 2, 1, 2 – 9); 8. Sam Hagon (0, 2, 1, 2, 1 – 6); 9. Aidan McNutt (1, 1, 1, 2, 1 – 6); 10. Gregory Moore (3, 1, 1, 1, 0 – 6); 11. Timmy Dion (0, 2, 2, 1, 0 – 5); 12. Logan Hedden (0, 0, 0, 3, 2 – 5); 13. Glenn Geist (1, 0, 1, 1, 0 – 3); 14. Charlie Trana (1, 1, 0, 0, 1 – 3); 15. Sammy Waddill (2, 0, 0, 0, 0 – 2); 16. Keelan Venegas (0, 0, 0, 0, 1 – 1).
DIVISION 1 SCRATCH MAIN: 1. Bart Bast, 2. Tommy Hedden, 3. Billy Janniro, 4. Broc Nicol.
DIVISION 1 HANDICAP MAIN: 1. Dillon Ruml, 2. Max Ruml, 3. Billy Janniro.
DIVISION 2 MAIN: 1. Jamison Dilkey, 2. Shawn Eldredge, 3. Laurence McNutt.
DIVISION 3 MAIN: 1. Peter Pecorilla, 2. John O’Leary, 3. John Peters.