Kids Gumball Rally
Industry Speedway at the Industry Hills Expo Center
Story by Tim Kennedy
Photos by Clark Oden/Race Day Images
CITY OF INDUSTRY, CA, FEB. 26, 2017
Junior Speedway riders participated in the annual Kids Gumball Rally on Sunday afternoon at the eighth-mile dirt track in the Grand Arena at Industry Hills Expo Center. The non-points-paying season opener at Industry Speedway had 47 speedway-bike competitors competing in five classes. About half of the riders were from Northern California. Some riders had two bikes, for the Pee Wee Stock and Modified classes. Free grandstand admission lured 204 persons, including the riders’ family and friends, and about 200 more persons in the pits on a partly sunny, 55-degree day with a few light sprinkles.
There were 19 riders in the Junior 250cc class, four Mini 150cc First Division riders, nine Mini 150cc Second Division (less experienced) riders, seven Pee Wees on modified 50cc bikes with adjusted bore-and-stroke engines, and 12 Pee Wees on stock 50cc Honda and Yamaha bikes.
Riders’ ages ranged from 5 to 16. They raced for pride, Northern California vs. Southern California bragging rights, prizes, and coveted gumball-filled trophies for class winners. The 51 races (from the heat races through the main events) ran from 12:40 to 3:37 p.m. Races were televised live on the Industry Speedway website and at the Speedway on the color video screen above the third turn.
Main-event winners were:
Junior 250cc: Colton Hicks, 14, from Auburn, on a Jawa
Mini 150cc Division One: Enzo Sorani, 11, from Grass Valley
Mini 150cc Division Two: Colton Nelson, 9, from Auburn
Pee Wee Modified: Owen Williams, 9, from Costa Mesa (based on overall points)
Pee Wee Stock: Kristian Daniel Jr., 8, from Chatsworth
The Junior 250cc division ran a pair of run-off races, with three riders in each. The first race’s field had three riders with six points each after four rounds of heat races. Only the race winner advanced to the last-chance race. Alex Martin, 12, from Salinas, led all four laps and beat Dylan Wagner, 12, from Napa. Sara Cords, 16, from Yucaipa, was running second on lap three when she fell in the fourth turn; she rose quickly and pushed her bike to the infield.
The Junior 250cc class had three riders tied at 11 points after four rounds of heats compete for positions in the four-rider field, which included high-point rider Anthony Dion, 14, from Grass Valley. National 250cc 2016 champion Sebastian “Big Daddy” Palmese, 13, led all four laps. The Mission Viejo resident edged a pressing Colton Hicks, 14, from Auburn. Cameron Krezman, 13, from Newcastle, placed third. They joined Anthony Dion in the final race of the day and raced for the impressive gumball trophy.
The 250cc four-lap feature grid had Dion on the pole, Palmese at the wall in lane four, Hicks in lane two, and Krezman in lane three. Hicks, the son of 500cc D-1 Expert rider Bob Hicks, led all four laps, over a pressing Palmese. Krezman and Dion followed in third and fourth, respectively.
Event 50 was the Mini 150cc Division One final. Slater Lightcap, 11, from Huntington Beach, led the first two laps. Enzo Sorani, 11, from Grass Valley, made a determined and impressive inside pass entering the third turn and led the final two laps.
Running in second place, Lightcap fell in turn two on lap three and did not finish. Third-place rider “Lightning Luke” Whitcomb, 11, from Anaheim, went down to avoid hitting Lightcap; Whitcomb restarted and finished second. Glenn Geist, 10, finished third. Lightcap was fourth.
The Mini 150cc Division Two final went to Colton Nelson, 9, from Auburn, in a green-to-checkers run. Wilbur Hancock, the 11-year-old son of reigning World Speedway Champion Greg Hancock, finished second. Eight-year-old Harley Fisher – who hails from England, where his dad, Ryan Fisher, races speedway in the British League – was third. Jose Navarette, 7, from Industry, was fourth; the initial leader, Navarette fell on the first lap in turn four in a one-bike incident and by rule was excluded from the restart.
The Pee Wee Modified race had seven starters on 50cc bikes. Kristian Daniel Jr., 8, won the race by a wheel’s length over his fast-closing friend Owen Williams, 9, of Costa Mesa. However, Williams earned the title by three points based on overall points. He had three heat-race victories to Daniel’s second-place rides.
The Pee Wee Stock victory went to Daniel, on his number-46 bike, after he led every lap over fellow So Cal riders Levi Leutz, 7, and Gavin Geist. Newcomer Drake Conner was fourth.
Gracie Janniro, the 6-year-old daughter of D-1 champion Billy Janniro, made her second Pee Wee start at Industry and finished fourth on the lead lap.
Riverside, California’s Harli Facchini, the 6-year-old daughter of 500cc D-1 veteran Neil Facchini, made her first Industry appearance and finished fifth, a lap down.
Neil Facchini, 32, also had two stepsons (via his girlfriend) making their first starts at Industry. Asher Hollis, 9, rode the number-72 mount in the Pee Wee Stock class. His brother Hudson Hollis, 8, raced the number-77 machine in the Mini 150cc Division Two class. Both scored points and helped their stepsister Harli get acclimated to two-wheel racing.
Other rookies making an appearance on the day included Czane Dunbar, 9, from Orange, in the 150cc Division Two class, and Deegan Walker in the Pee Wee Modified class.
Industry Speedway Grand Arena at Industry Hills Expo Center
City of Industry, California
Results: February 26, 2017
JR 250: 1. Colton Hicks; 2. Sebastian Palmese; 3. Cameron Krezman; 4. Anthony Dion.
MINI 150 DIVISION 1: 1. Enzo Sorani; 2. Luke Whitcomb; 3. Glenn Geist; 4. Slater Lightcap.
MINI 150 DIVISION 2: 1. Colton Nelson; 2. Wilbur Hancock; 3. Harley Fisher; 4. Jose Navarette.
PEE WEE MODIFIED: 1. Owen Williams; 2. Kristian Daniel Jr.
PEE WEE STOCK: 1. Kristian Daniel Jr.; 2. Levi Leutz; 3. Gavin Geist; 4. Drake Conner.