World Champion Sam Ermolenko to Race U.S. Open in Owego

| 28 August 2015 5:39 pm

John F. Stalma U.S. Open National Championships
Champion Speedway

Courtesy of Jason Bonsignore
OWEGO, NY, AUG. 27, 2015

One of the most prestigious events in North America for speedway motorcycle racing, the John F. Stalma U.S. Open National Championships, is slated to come to Champion Speedway in Owego, New York, on September 5 and 6, and one of the greatest riders of all time, former World Champion Sam Ermolenko, is set to compete.

“Sudden Sam” Ermolenko.

“Sudden Sam” Ermolenko.

Ermolenko, who hails from Cypress, California, but who has lived in Wolverhampton, England, for more than 25 years now, will be making his third appearance at Champion Speedway in his career. In 2012, he rode the U.S. Open, becoming the fourth American World Speedway Racing Champion to have turned laps at the local track! Ermolenko was extremely impressive, despite having been retired for five years, and he nearly won the event, finishing second after losing a few valuable points due to mechanical gremlins. Ermolenko has also competed in a few exhibition events the past several years, and his lap times were on pace with the current World GP stars.

Champion Speedway promoter Jason Bonsignore has lured him out of retirement so that local fans will have the chance to see one of the all-time greats again!

This year’s Championship Series will include two nights of racing at Champion, on September 5 and 6. The big news of who will be racing does not stop at Ermolenko…

The most notable announcement is that 18-year-old California whiz kid and 2013 AMA Under 21 National Champion Max Ruml of Los Angeles has committed to contesting the event. Ruml, tipped as a future World Champion, has been tearing up the West Coast tracks, and he just got back from representing Team USA in the World Team Cup rounds in England and Poland last month! He just clinched the Industry Racing track points championship in California!

Max Ruml does a wheelie for the fans. Photo by MSD

Max Ruml does a wheelie for the fans. Photo by MSD

Joining Ermolenko and Ruml on the program will be Ruml’s younger brother, 16-year-old Dillion Ruml, who has had a hugely impressive rookie season in Division One in California, along with 13-year British League star David “Victor” Meldrum of Berwick, who now currently resides in Florida.

At press time, efforts were being made to try to bring current SRA USA National Champion Bryan Yarrow from Northern out from California as well!

Local fans will have a lot to cheer, and the guest stars will have their hands full, as Bonsignore has a very strong program of local riders at the moment. The local D-1 pool of riders expressing interest in the event totaled 20 as of last week.

The top local favorites to win the Championship have to be Endicott’s Adam Mittl, who leads this summer’s points championship, along with Binghamton, New York’s Mikey Buman, who has two wins in 2015, and Port Crane’s Casey Donholt. A strong local contingent of long-serving veterans and up-and-coming riders may also give the visitors a run for their money. One hot youngster making a name for himself this season has been Spencer Portararo of Newark Valley.

Speedway motorcycles have absolutely no brakes, go from zero to 60 mph in three seconds, and slide totally sideways through the turns. They run on methanol. The sport attracts crowds of more than 2,000 for weekly meetings in Europe. There are only several pockets of speedway in the United States, and New York is recognized as one of the best, second only to California.

The speedway action will get under way at 7 p.m. on the September 5 at Champion Speedway, and at 6 p.m. on September 6.

Champion Speedway is located on East River Drive at the end of Route 434 in Owego, New York. ATV and Support-class racing will be included in both nights’ programs. Monday, September 8, at noon will serve as a rain date, just in case.

More info can be found by calling 585/739-9612 or going to or

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Category: Announcements, National, Regional, Speedway

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