Saddlemen

Team USA’s Becker and Nicol Win Big at Perris Winter Opener!

| 27 November 2016 2:22 pm

Perris Speedway Winter Series
Perris Raceway

Story by Steve Evans
Photos by Rob Hargraves
PERRIS, CA, NOV. 19, 2016

After several uncertain months, Perris Speedway opened its 2016-17 Winter season with a bang, with Luke Becker and Broc Nicol winning the main events on November 19, 2016.

Luke Becker (22) was victorious in the Scratch main event at the Perris Speedway Winter Series opener.

Luke Becker (22) was victorious in the Scratch main event at the Perris Speedway Winter Series opener.

The track was saved by closure due to noise restrictions thanks to rider Rick Richards and Baghouse Inc., as they came up with an inexpensive muffler insert that cuts about 5dB off from on-track noises. The riders gave a thumbs-up to the insert, which does not affect performance but does make the bikes noticeably quieter.

The day’s race format used the traditional American Handicap and Scratch racing program. Nine riders contested the Handicap racing, with each rider racing in two heat races and the top six in points making the main event.

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Coming from 50 yards back, Dillon Ruml charged through the field to win the opening heat of the season. Gino Manzares, also starting off the 50, came in second. Russell Green was third after starting from the 40.

Heat two saw the expected charge from Luke Becker, who won it, also from the 50. Gage Geist, starting on the 40, was second. Broc Nicol, from the 50, was third.

Gage Geist (10) battles Broc Nicol (outside) at Perris Raceway.

Gage Geist (10) battles Broc Nicol (outside) at Perris Raceway.

Round two saw Green win the first event, ahead of Manzares and Nicol.

Becker failed the two minutes in heat four, and it was Geist taking the win, ahead of Ruml, with U.K. visitor Mike Neale, starting from the 30, coming in third.

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The main event featured two riders starting on the 40-yard line and four starting off the 50. Broc Nicol was first through the traffic to claim the victory. Ruml came in second, with Manzares third. The race was very hotly contested, with six evenly matched competitors choosing their lines wisely, as the bikes were often two or three wide.

Broc Nicol won the Handicap main.

Broc Nicol won the Handicap main.

Sixteen riders participated in the Scratch racing.

Manzares won heat one, ahead of Rick Richards.

Becker led Green home in heat two.

Ruml headed Geist in a very close heat-three battle.

Nicol won heat four, ahead of Neale and Justin Boyle.

The first semifinal saw Manzares winning and looking very fast. Geist made a fantastic start and took a brilliant second. Nicol made a superb attempt around the outside in turn two on lap one, but he did not quite make the pass into the top two.

Semi number two saw Becker lead Ruml home, ahead of the impressive Richards, who held second until the final lap, when Ruml edged by.

Rick Richards (345), Russell Green (321) and Justin Boyle (right) in action.

Rick Richards (345), Russell Green (321) and Justin Boyle (right) in action.

Nicol won the B main event, over Richards and Green.

The main event was the epic everyone expected. Dillon Ruml made the gate and looked set to take the win, once more showing his rapid big-track improvement. Becker was having none of it, though, and he made an inside drive in turn three on lap two to take the lead and, eventually, the victory. Manzares claimed third place.

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Division Two featured nine riders, with each contesting two heats. (Round two was handicapped, Olympique-style.)

Heat wins went to Brad Moreau, Rudy Laurer, Hayley Perrault and Rohn Zellner. The winners topped the points chart to make the main and were joined by Steve Bowen, who won the last-chance qualifier.

Joey Donaldson, Rohn Zellner and Rudy Lauer skirmish in Division Two action.

Joey Donaldson, Rohn Zellner and Rudy Lauer skirmish in Division Two action.

Rudy Lauer, Rohn Zellner and Bentley Barrett at speed.

Rudy Lauer, Rohn Zellner and Bentley Barrett at speed.

Zellner made the fastest start in the main, but he was passed by Perrault, who made a superb outside-to-inside cutback to displace her rival on the way to victory.

Hayley Perrault (170) was the victory in the Division Two main event.

Hayley Perrault (170) was the victory in the Division Two main event.

Division Three had Steve Brown winning heat one, with Tom Bryant taking the win in the Olympique-style second heat and then the main.

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The 150cc Mini class saw Glenn Geist win all the races. He won the two heats with ease, but the main featured a close battle between Glenn and Luke Whitcomb.

Cole Ayers (left), Jose Navarette (48) and Andrew Russell (96) (right) tussle in 150cc Mini competition.

Cole Ayers (left), Jose Navarette (48) and Andrew Russell (96) (right) tussle in 150cc Mini competition.

Glenn Geist (33) took the checkers in the 150cc Mini main.

Glenn Geist (33) took the checkers in the 150cc Mini main.

Levi Leutz won all three Pee Wee races.

Chris Mistretta was the only Vintage rider in attendance, and he was awarded first place in that division.

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The Sidecar riders put on their expected fantastic show. Jeff Rowe & Josh Bennett won all three races in a great display, ahead of Bryan Motis & his new passenger Ricky Smith. Rowe & Bennett took all three wins, but it was after three close races with the number-two team.

Jeff Rowe & Josh Bennett (right) duel with Bryan Motis & Ricky Smith (left).

Jeff Rowe & Josh Bennett (right) duel with Bryan Motis & Ricky Smith (left).

Jeff Rowe & Josh Bennett came out on top of the Sidecar battle.

Jeff Rowe & Josh Bennett came out on top of the Sidecar battle.

The six-event Perris season will continue on December 10 with round one of the Team Racing Series. The event will also feature the annual Speedway Christmas Party and charity toy drive.

Perris Raceway
Perris, California
Results: November 19, 2016 (Round 1)

HANDICAP MAIN: 1. Broc Nicol (50); 2. Dillon Ruml (50); 3. Gino Manzares (50); 4. Russell Green (40); 5. Gage Geist (40); 6. Luke Becker (50) retired.

SCRATCH MAIN: 1. Luke Becker; 2. Dillon Ruml; 3. Gino Manzares; 4. Gage Geist.

B MAIN: 1. Broc Nicol; 2. Rick Richards; 3. Russell Green; 4. Mike Neale.

DIVISION 2 LCQ: 1. Steve Bowen; 2. Ron Davis; 3. Bentley Barrett; 4. Joey Donaldson; 5. Kenny Hansen.

DIVISION 2 MAIN: 1. Hayley Perrault; 2. Rohn Zellner; 3. Brad Moreau; 4. Steve Bowen; 5. Rudy Laurer.

DIVISION 3 MAIN: 1. Tom Bryant; 2. Brent Smith; 3. Steve Brown; 4. Dennis Osmer; 5. Mike Boyle.

150 MINI MAIN: 1. Glenn Geist; 2. Luke Whitcomb; 3. Cole Ayers; 4. Andrew Russell; 5. Jose Navarette.

VINTAGE: 1. Chris Mistretta.

PEE WEE: 1. Levi Leutz; 2. Gavin Geist.

SIDECAR: 1. Jeff Rowe/ Josh Bennett; 2. Bryan Motis/ Ricky Smith; 3. Kevin Holman/ Johnny Glover; 4. Heather Rowe/ Heather Gledhill.

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