Saddlemen

Janniro Wins AMA National Speedway Round Two

| 9 July 2016 12:19 pm

AMA National Championship Speedway Series
Round 2: Ventura Speedway

Story by Steve Evans
Photos by Rob Hargraves
VENTURA, CA, JUNE 25, 2016

Billy Janniro was once more the victor at round two of the AMA National Championship Speedway Series, held in Ventura, California, on June 25, but the rising pool of emerging young stars pushed him to his limit.

Dillon Ruml (111) leads Luke Becker (22) and Gage Geist at the second round of the AMA National Championship Speedway Series.

Dillon Ruml (111) leads Luke Becker (22) and Gage Geist at the second round of the AMA National Championship Speedway Series.

In the past three stagings of this event, Janniro had won 18 heats and had just one defeat, but the 2016 version had him as a man marked by those who wished to dethrone him.

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In his very first ride, 18-year-old Broc Nicol defeated him and left those in attendance in shock that the king was beatable! After two straight wins on the rebound for Janniro, National number two, Max Ruml, defeated the six-time champion in the final heat and repeated that feat in the semifinals.

Ruml himself had a slow start, getting a third-place finish, behind veteran Eddie Castro, a local wild card who stunned the crowd with his performance at age 56 – a feat all the more remarkable considering that just 12 months earlier, Castro was battling a life-threatening cancer. Ruml’s younger brother Dillon came second in this heat.

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Then Max reeled off five straight wins, including his semifinal. Dillon himself impressed with three wins and 13 points from his five heats, coming back from a heavy crash sustained while avoiding the fallen Austin Novratil in his second ride.

Broc Nicol, also with three wins, matched both Rumls and Janniro on 13 points after the heats. However, a third-place finish in his semifinal eliminated him from the big final; Luke Becker won that race after finding his groove at the right time. Dillon Ruml was second.

Billy Janniro (1) battles with Luke Becker (22).

Billy Janniro (1) battles with Luke Becker (22).

The final featured Janniro, both Ruml brothers, and Becker. Max Ruml got the start and looked set to inflict Janniro’s third defeat by him on the night. However, a titanic outside move on the back straight on the last lap saw Janniro blast past his 19-year-old rival to win his fourth Ventura event in a row. Behind these two, the 17-year-olds were also in close battle, with Becker edging Dillon Ruml at the finish.

Max Ruml (5) leads Billy Janniro (1, left), Dillon Ruml (111, right) and Luke Becker (22, back) in the Division One main event.

Max Ruml (5) leads Billy Janniro (1, left), Dillon Ruml (111, right) and Luke Becker (22, back) in the Division One main event.

Billy Janniro (1) makes a last-lap pass on Max Ruml (right) for the main-event victory.

Billy Janniro (1) makes a last-lap pass on Max Ruml (right) for the main-event victory.

Janniro now has a commanding nine-point lead in the standings heading into round three of four of the series, which will be held at the Industry Hills Expo Canter on August 13, where he will be chasing his seventh overall and fourth straight AMA crown.

Gino Manzares endured a rough night. His machinery was down on power, which restricted him to three second-place finishes before a fall in his fourth outing ended his evening.

Max Ruml (5) skirmishes with Gino Manzares (24).

Max Ruml (5) skirmishes with Gino Manzares (24).

Castro ended up with eight rides as he stormed to the semifinals.

Bart Bast once more did a great job of putting points on the board in all his heats, and he scored two heat wins.

Kurtis Hamill, walking on crutches and riding with a broken ankle and foot, amazingly still scored five points and looked more comfortable as the night went on.

Austin Novratil, the current most-improved rider, made the semifinals and recorded two wins.

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Aside from the main AMA round, several other classes took to the track.

First up were wild-card heats, for the last two spots on the team. Charles Ermolenko won the first heat, ahead of Eddie Castro. Heat two went to Bobby Schwartz, ahead of Rick Valdez. Dalton Leedy eased to the win in the last-chance before Castro proved a popular winner in the final, with Ermolenko taking the other spot in the main show.

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Malcolm Roe followed up on last week’s Vintage-class victory by topping this week’s first heat. Dan Waller won heat two and the final.

Dan Waller leads Malcolm Roe (180) and the rest of the Vintage pack.

Dan Waller leads Malcolm Roe (180) and the rest of the Vintage pack.

Michael Wells impressed again on the 500, winning all the Support races.

Michael Wells (214) duels with Kenny “Handful” Hansen.

Michael Wells (214) duels with Kenny “Handful” Hansen.

Glenn Geist won both 150cc Junior heats, but it was Rachel Schnakenberg taking the win in the final.

In 150cc Junior competition, Glenn Geist leads Dakota Shockley, Rachel Schnackenburg and Andrew Russell.

In 150cc Junior competition, Glenn Geist leads Dakota Shockley, Rachel Schnackenburg and Andrew Russell.

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The Sidecar contest was abandoned after a huge crash in the main event. Two riders were taken to the hospital and are recovering. Heat wins went to Joe Jones & Tom Summers, James Kynne & Dana Catone, and Stuart Glass & Jack Straw. Bryan Motis & Cody Brant topped the last-chance race.

The Sidecars in action before their main event was abandoned.

The Sidecars in action before their main event was abandoned.

Speedway will return to Ventura on Saturday, July 23.

Ventura Speedway
Ventura, California
Results: June 25, 2016 (Round 2 of 4)

DIVISION 1 SEMI 1: 1. Max Ruml; 2. Billy Janniro; 3. Bart Bast; 4. Austin Novratil.

DIVISION 1 SEMI 2: 1. Luke Becker; 2. Dillon Ruml; 3. Eddie Castro; 4. Broc Nicol.

DIVISION 1 FINAL: 1. Billy Janniro; 2. Max Ruml; 3. Luke Becker; 4. Dillon Ruml.

AMA National Championship Series Points Standings for Round 2 (Unofficial): Billy Janniro (18); Max Ruml (18); Luke Becker (15); Dillon Ruml (15); Broc Nicol (13); Bart Bast (10); Austin Novratil (9); Eddie Castro (8); Aaron Fox (7); Gino Manzares (6); Kurtis Hamill (5); Tommy Hedden (4); Gage Geist (4); Ryan Bast (4); Mike Faria (2); Charles Ermolenko (0); Dalton Leedy (0) (res); Rick Valdez (0) (res).

AMA National Championship Series Points Standings (after 2 rounds): 1 Billy Janniro (39); 2. Max Ruml (30); 3. Gino Manzares (24); 4. Bart Bast (24) (Top 4 eligible for UK permit 2017-18); 5. Broc Nicol (22); 6. Austin Novratil (21); 7. Dillon Ruml (21); 8. Luke Becker (19) (Top 8 qualify for 2017 Series); 9. Aaron Fox (14); 10. Tommy Hedden (13); 11. Kurtis Hamill (9); 12. Eddie Castro (8) (WC); 13. Gage Geist (7); 14. Mike Faria (6); 15. Charlie Venegas (6) (WC); 16. Shawn McConnell (6) (WC); 17. Ryan Bast (5).

150 JR: 1. Rachel Schnakenberg; 2. Glenn Geist; 3. Dakota Shockley; 4. Andrew Russell.

TROPHY DASH: 1. Dryden Gale; 2. Mike Lane; 3. Bobby Schwartz; 4. Harold Hartke.

SUPPORT: 1. Michael Wells; 2. Kenny Hansen; 3. Cameron Beck; 4. Chet Kohler; 5. Hayley Perrault.

VINTAGE: 1. Dan Waller; 2. Malcolm Roe; 3. Ron Brankov; 4. Bob Waller; 5. Bradley Rochlitzer.

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Category: National, Speedway, Vintage, Vintage Speedway

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