National Sidecar Speedway Championship
Costa Mesa Speedway at the Orange County Fairgrounds
Story by Elaine Jones
Photos by David Gallegos
COSTA MESA, CA, OCT. 1, 2016
Joe Jones reclaimed the National Sidecar title on Saturday night, October 1, at Costa Mesa Speedway. He lost it last year to Bryan Motis & Josh Bennett. In the last 13 years, Jones has held the title 12 times, with four different swingers. This year it was Dave German who stood on the podium with him. This is a testament to Jones’ ability to pilot his big Suzuki – and pick great swingers.
It was also Harley Night, and the stands were packed with fans, who got to see some great racing – and some entertaining racing when the boys on the full dressers took them onto the dirt. It was a crazy, fun night!
This would be five rounds of Scratch racing, with the top three in points going directly to the event and the next four to the B main, and the winners of that race would be the final team in the main.
Many generous sponsors sweetened each heat race. For round one, many thanks to Sac Cycle, Phil & Karen Hudson, K.S. Construction, and Prevent Backflow & Plumbing Inc.
Dual Anderson & Johnny Bach started the night off with a wire-to-wire go in the first heat. Dillon Osborne & Ashley Gibbons tried to get underneath them but just couldn’t get the drive out of the corners to get by and would have to settle for second. On back, Robert Curry & Lori Curry were third, with Jeff Rowe & David Dent rounding out the field.
The second heat was all about Joe Jones & Dave German. They were letting everyone know that they were the ones to beat, and it wasn’t going to be easy. Jeff Medberry & Niki Davis were second. Medberry would be retiring after this race, so it was going to be a bittersweet night for him. Gerard Jackson & Anthony Jackson were third.
The third heat saw defending National Champion Bryan Motis & his swinger Cody Brant throw down and let Jones & German know they were going to fight for the title. Stuart Glass & Jack Straw, who won the title in 1999, were up to seeing if they could do it again, and they finished second. Sam Stafford & Sheridan Bryan rounded out the field.
The final heat of the round saw another Jones, Joe’s brother Dan, with swinger Dryden Gayle uphold the honor of the family dynasty, as they took the gate and the win. In second, it was Smiley Kinne & Dana Catone; they are a hard-charging team and will be a team to watch. Kevin Homan & Johnny Glover were third, and the fourth spot went to Jeremy Delein & Matt Fishman.
The night was off to a good start, and now that everyone knew how the track was going to work, it was time to get real serious.
Special thanks to Honest 1 Auto Care, Deanna Holman, Rod Carpenters Pool Service, and the mothers of Team JJR, all of whom sweetened the pot for round two.
The first heat of this round was a two-team go after Kevin Brown & Matt Davis had to scratch for the night. The team of Anderson & Bach rained on the parade of Dan Jones & Dryden Gayle, as they claimed their second win of the night. Not to worry; Jones & Gayle were only one point behind, and the night was young.
The second heat of round two saw the first start at a go end badly, with two teams colliding coming out of turn two, pinning swinger Dent between two rigs. Dent sustained some broken bones, so the night was over for the team of Rowe & Dent. Dent was hurting, but he managed to raise his arm and give everyone a look that said ‘I’ll be back.’ Medberry & Davis did not make the restart. They loaded in again, and Holman & Glover took charge and brought it home, topping Glass & Straw.
The third heat of the second round was a family affair. The Curry team got the gate and were gone! The Jacksons were out second, but their run in that spot was short-lived: On the white-flag lap, Delein & Fishman got the drive out of turn four to move into the place spot. The Jacksons held off Stafford & Bryan for third.
The final heat of round two pitted Joe Jones & German against Motis & Brant. Jones & German got the holeshot from the pole, with Motis & Brant, coming out of lane two, right behind them. The pass happened on the second lap, when Osborne & Gibbons made the move that got them under Motis & Brant coming out of turn four and winning the drag race to the line to take over the second spot with one lap to go. It got even worse for Motis & Brant when it looked like some kind of bike trouble dropped them to fourth, with Kinne & Catone getting a much-needed third.
Two heats in, and there were two teams with perfect scores: Joe Jones & German and Anderson and Bach. One point back were Dan Jones & Gayle.
The sponsors for this round were So Cal Fencing, Hertrick’s Pool & Service, DH Pool & Spa, and Scott Driggers. Thank you so much!
The first heat of round three saw Kinne & Catone getting out on top, and it looked like they had things well in hand. Unfortunately, that was not the case, as on the white-flag lap Anderson & Bach found the hole they were looking for, took over the lead, and brought it on home. Kinne & Catone got the second spot. Stafford & Bryan were third. Medberry & Davis were done for the night.
The second heat of the second round belonged to Motis & Brant. Delein & Fishman came in second. Rowe & Dent were also done for the night.
Joe Jones & German were still winning, and winning big, as they again gave a Sidecar tutorial to the rest of the field in the next heat. Following them home were Holman & Glover and the Curry team.
The final heat of this round saw Dan Jones & Gayle keeping it going, as they went wire to wire, topping Osborne & Gibbons, the Jackson team, and Glass & Straw.
With two more rounds to go, Joe Jones & German and Anderson & Bach were still perfect on the night. Dan Jones & Gayle were just one point back.
A special thank-you to Craig & Teresa, Brianna & Hannah Jones, Jeremy Stafford, and CALbath for sponsoring the fourth round.
In this round, things opened up with a bang when Motis & Brant got in the groove and not only won the first heat of round four but also rained on Anderson & Bach’s perfect score – and they did it in a very convincing manner. Anderson & Bach were a solid second. The only pass came on the white-flag lap, when Holman & Glover got third in a photo finish, over the Jacksons.
At the start of the second heat of round four, it looked like another upset was about to happen when Dan Jones & Gayle got out in front of Joe Jones & German. It was short-lived, though, as Joe Jones & German came roaring back, putting Joe’s brother Dan “back in his proper place” – running second to him. Stafford & Bryan were third.
The third heat of this round was all Kinne & Catone’s, from start to finish. The Curry team was second. Glass & Straw were third.
The final heat of the penultimate round saw Osborne & Gibbons in a match race against Delein & Fishman. The nod went to Osborne & Gibbons.
And then there was one team at the top still with a perfect score, and that was Joe Jones & German. One point back were Anderson & Bach, and two back were Dan Jones & Gayle.
Kudos to Jeff Scott, Demented Designs, Joe Jones Racing, and RLR Electrical for their generosity is sponsoring the final heats of the night.
In the first heat of the final round, Joe Jones & German finished as they’d started: with a wire-to-wire win. They were the odds-on favorites to win the Championship. Anderson & Bach were second and had been in contention all night; were they saving the best for last? Glass & Straw had struggled all night; unfortunately, their evening was over.
The second heat of round five went to Kinne & Catone, and at this point they should have had enough to move up to the B main. The Jacksons’ night was over.
The third heat saw Motis & Brant getting out on top, but Dan Jones & Gayle made short work of them and took over the lead on the second lap. Motis & Brant got a scare on the white-flag lap, when the Curry team got by for second – but Motis & Brant regrouped and were able to take the spot back and get the much-needed second-place points, which should have been enough to get them into the B main. The Currys would be watching, as they were a little short.
The final heat of the night saw Osborne & Gibbons ensure themselves a spot in the B main by going wire to wire. The second-place finishers, Holman & Glover, should be able to squeak in. Stafford & Bryan were done.
B Main Event
Photographer David Gallegos of Speedway USA put the money up for the B main. They rolled to the line for a very important race, as one team – the winners – would be in the main event. The pole went to Holman & Glover. Motis & Brant were in lane two. Kinne & Catone loaded into three, with Osborne & Gibbons in four.
The gate went to Kinne & Catone, but they went high, and Motis and Brant went underneath to take over the lead. Kinne & Catone were running second, with Holman & Glover third. They came around on lap two and the front-runners were still in place, but Osborne & Gibbons were on the move and had already gotten by Holman & Glover. They were just beginning: When the white flag came out, it was Osborne & Glover running second with one lap to go.
However, Motis & Brant were not to be denied; it was a good try by Osborne & Gibbons, but the last team in the main would be Motis & Brant.
Would they be able to keep their title…?
Sidecar National Championship Main Event
NorCal Chuck put his money on the Sidecar National Championship main. Four laps would determine who would wear the crown for the next year.
Choice of gate saw Joe Jones & German choose the pole. Dan Jones & Gayle chose lane two. Motis & Brant were in three. On the outside, it was Anderson & Bach. They loaded in, and the big 1,000cc motors came to life. Let the racing begin!
The tape came up, and it was Joe Jones & German out on top and on the gas! Anderson & Bach were running second, with Dan Jones & Gayle in third. Motis & Brant had what appeared to be bike problems, and one lap in, they were done.
Actually, everyone else was pretty much done, as Joe Jones & German were on a mission, and that was to regain the crown as National Champions – and indeed they did, in convincing manner! Anderson & Bach became a Jones sandwich, as they came home second. Dan Jones & Gayle were third.
It’s been a great year at Costa Mesa Speedway, thanks to the hard work of Brad and Jaleen Oxley and their great crew. Hopefully next year will be just as exciting.
Happy holidays, as there are many between now and the next season. Be safe, everyone, and see you all in 2017!
Costa Mesa Speedway at the Orange County Fairgrounds
Costa Mesa, California
Results: October 1, 2016
SIDECAR B MAIN: 1. Bryan Motis/ Cody Brant (Suz); 2. Dillon Osborne/ Ashley Gibbons (Suz); 3. Smiley Kinne/ Dana Catone (Suz); 4. Kevin Holman/ Johnny Glover (Suz).
SIDECAR MAIN: 1. Joe Jones/ Dave German (Suz); 2. Dual Anderson/ Johnny Bach (Yam); 3. Dan Jones/ Dryden Gayle (Yam); 4. Bryan Motis/ Cody Brant (Suz).