Max Ruml Wins Second Main at Industry

| 30 June 2017 2:49 pm

Industry Racing
Industry Hills Expo Center Grand Arena

Story by Tim Kennedy
Photos by Clark Oden/Race Day Images

Max Ruml, 20, won his second AMA Speedway bike main event on Wednesday, June 21, in week four of 14 at Industry Speedway. This week he switched from the Jawa he rode to victory on June 7 to his 500cc GM (Giuseppe Marzatto of Italy).

Max Ruml (5) won his second Industry Scratch main event of the season.

Max Ruml (5) won his second Industry Scratch main event of the season.

The Grand Arena at the Industry Hills Expo Center had 710 spectators enter through the front gate and 89 more through the pit gate to watch 33 events of multidivision speedway bike racing only. The sidecars would return the next Wednesday.

There were 14 First Division riders present. Two riders – Austin Novratil and Mike Bloom – blew their engines. Austin did not compete, and Mike raced in only one heat.

Four of the usual 500cc Division One riders were absent this week: Broc Nicol, Gino Manzares, Dillon Ruml, and Luke Becker, the U.S. National first-round winner at Ventura Raceway the previous Saturday, are members of Team USA in the World Team Cup Championship. They are in Europe for those upcoming events.

Some wheelie-poppin’ celebration at Industry Racing.

Some wheelie-poppin’ celebration at Industry Racing.

“Mad Max” was the high-point competitor, with a perfect nine points after three rounds of heat races. He started on the outside next to the crash wall and led all four laps in his semifinal event. As high-point rider, he had lane choice for the feature, and he selected the inside (pole) position. Aaron Fox used the pole to lead all four laps in the other semifinal, and he chose the outside lane for the feature. That was just the opposite from their semifinal starting spots.

At the start of the main, the inside-running Ruml and the outside-running Fox were even in the second turn. Then Ruml pulled away leaving turn two, and he led all four circuits of the track. Fox continued pressing all the way to the finish and trailed Ruml by two bikelengths. Bob Hicks, who hails from Auburn, California, came from lane two and ran third for all four laps; he trailed the runner-up by four bikelengths. Tim Gomez started from lane three and ran fourth every lap; he trailed Hicks by four bikelengths.

Tim Gomez (30) finished fourth in the Scratch main.

Tim Gomez (30) finished fourth in the Scratch main.

Racing concluded at 9:32 p.m. – the earliest end to an evening at Industry in recent memory.

Gomez finished second to Ruml in the first semifinal race. Tyson Talkington and Brad Sauer trailed in third and fourth, respectively.

Hicks trailed Fox in the second semi and edged a challenging Gage Geist for the final ticket to the feature. Shaun Harmatiuk placed fourth.

Fox and Geist were tied at eight points apiece in heat racing. Sauer and Harmatiuk tied for seventh place with three points each and made the top eight in points, so they advanced to the two semis.

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Support Classes
Eloy Medellin, a 47-year-old former U.S. Marine, started from pole position and led every lap of the 500cc Division Two main on his lay-down, long-stroke Jawa. It was his second consecutive victory at Industry. Rick Valdez, Rudy Laurer and Bruce Marteney followed him at the finish.

Kevin Fife, 47, also started from pole position and led every lap en route to his victory in the 500cc Division Three feature, for newer riders. Mike Miller, the June 14 D-3 winner, followed closely. George Yates and newcomer Kevin Fiore took third and fourth, respectively. The Third Division has now had three winners in three races.

Kevin Fife (311) took the checkers in the Division Three main.

Kevin Fife (311) took the checkers in the Division Three main.

The victory in the five-rider Junior 250cc feature went to 2016 AMA Junior National Champion Sebastian Palmese, 13. He fell on the first lap in turn one, and Sara Cords, 17, also hit the dirt. Both made the complete restart.

Palmese, the June 7 Industry winner, led every lap over June 14 winner and Auburn resident Colton Hicks, 15. Jake Isaac, Cords (in pink leathers), and Michael Wells finished third through fifth, respectively.

Sebastian Palmese (1) Junior 250cc feature, despite a fall on the opening lap.

Sebastian Palmese (1) Junior 250cc feature, despite a fall on the opening lap.

Colton Hicks (24) was runner-up in the Junior 250cc main.

Colton Hicks (24) was runner-up in the Junior 250cc main.

Jose Navarette, who would be turning 8 the following Saturday, gave himself an early birthday present. He started from the 10-yard line in a five-rider handicapped start for the five-lap 150cc feature. Navarette led every lap.

Birthday boy Jose Navarette (48) went wire to wire for the Mini 150cc victory.

Birthday boy Jose Navarette (48) went wire to wire for the Mini 150cc victory.

Glenn Geist and Luke Whitcomb started 20 yards from the gate and finished second and third, respectively. Gate starter Andrew Russell fell in turn four but remounted and placed fourth. Levi Leutz stalled at the gate on the original start; he was running in fourth on lap three when he fell in the second turn and then went to the infield.

Glenn Geist (33) was the Mini 150cc runner-up.

Glenn Geist (33) was the Mini 150cc runner-up.

Levi Leutz (9) finished third in the Mini 150cc main.

Levi Leutz (9) finished third in the Mini 150cc main.

Pee Wees
The five rider 50cc Pee Wee main-event victory went to Ken Matsudaira, 6, for the second week in a row. He led the final three laps after passing early leader Connor Salazar. Past winner Owen Williams, who started from the 20-yard line, also passed Salazar and was a close second when starter Tom Fox waved the checkered flag.

Ken Matsudaira (74) scored his second consecutive Pee Wee victory.

Ken Matsudaira (74) scored his second consecutive Pee Wee victory.

Two girls in their first season finished fourth and fifth. In fourth was Dakota Black, 6, who finished on the lead lap in her two heats and in the main. Penny Hall, 4, wanted to race after seeing a Pee Wee event. Her family bought a used Yamaha 50 and she rode her first laps at Industry. The shy youngster from Monrovia, California, was lapped on her first lap by the leaders in her two heat races and the main event. However, she stayed next to the infield and upright in each race. Smiling, she ran to her mom after her first race. Penny turned 4 three months ago on March 26 and is undoubtedly the youngest speedway racer on earth. She uses the number 313, which stands for the month and year of her birth.


Pit Notes
AMA flat-track great Sammy Tanner of Fontana, California, received a telephone call on Wednesday, June 21, and learned that 1960 and ’70s AMA TT rider Skip Van Leeuwen had died from cancer that morning. Skip, a Bellflower resident, started racing Triumphs in 1962. He raced right-and-left-turn steeplechase (TT) races on a number-59 Triumph. He won four AMA National TTs from 1967 to 1969, including two at his home track, Ascot Park in Gardena, California. He also raced in the Daytona Beach 200 and other road races.

Skip was best friends with fellow AMA Pros Dick Hammer (who has passed on) and Sammy “The Flyin’ Flea” Tanner, who is now 78.

Skip retired from racing in 1972 to operate his successful motorcycle-accessories business. He was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1999.

Skip was a participant at the annual Industry Speedway “Legends & Heroes Night” and each year, along with other motorcycle greats, signed autographs for the fans. That event will be held on August 2 this year.

[For more on Skip Van Leeuwen, please see “AMA Motorcycle Hall of Famer Skip Van Leeuwen Passes Away” and “Godspeed, Skip Van Leeuwen” – and stay tuned for another article featuring a radio podcast with Van Leeuwen to be posted soon on Today’s Cycle Coverage… Editor]

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D-1 500cc veteran Brad Sauer, 47, from Bakersfield, California, raced for the third time this season at Industry. The Coors salesman scored three points with third-place rides in his three heats. He finished third and Bobby Schwartz was fourth in round three (event 17), and that one point was the difference in Sauer making it to a semifinal over “Boogaloo” Schwartz, who scored two points in his three rides.

Brad said his son Braden, who was seriously injured in a backstretch fall in a July 1, 2015, race at Industry Speedway, is now back to normal. He recovered from partial paralysis of his legs for the second time after a racing accident. Braden, 20, had won a D-2 500cc main event at Industry one week prior to his serious injury. He seemed destined for elevation to D-1 status. Brad said Braden is now living and working in Ventura, California, and he rides but does not race any longer.

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Industry Speedway announcer Bruce Flanders was absent for the second week in a row. He also missed his Saturday, June 17, announcing duties at Irwindale Speedway. In Bruce’s absence, Tommy Mason handled the mic at Irwindale. Everyone wishes Bruce, a former speedway-bike racer himself, a speedy return to good health. Terry “Ike” Clanton, the Costa Mesa Speedway announcer, ably filled in for Bruce at Industry for the second week. Ike is a distant relative of the Clanton brothers, who had the famous 1881 gunfight with Wyatt Earp and his brothers and Doc Holiday at the OK Corral in Tombstone, Arizona.

Dillon Ruml was present in the Industry pits on June 21 to watch his brother Max race, but Dillon did not race. Ike interviewed him. The 18-year-old June 14 D-1 feature winner had an early flight scheduled for June 22 to join the rest of Team USA in Europe. Other team riders flew out Sunday, June 18, after racing in Ventura on Saturday night.

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An extended family was among the new paying spectators in the Industry Speedway grandstands this week. Jennifer, a waitress at an IHOP restaurant in Covina, California, and her six-month-old son Thomas, along with her dad and mom and other family members, sat near turn one. It was their first time at Industry Speedway, which has been an annual speedway motorcycle-racing venue since 2003. They said they really loved the racing and will return soon for more speedway racing action!

Industry Hills Expo Center Grand Arena
City of Industry, California
Results: June 21, 2017

PEE WEE MAIN: 1. Ken Matsudaira; 2. Owen Williams; 3. Conner Salazar; 4. Dakota Black; 5. Penny Hall.

MINI 150 MAIN: 1. Jose Navarette (10); 2. Glenn Geist (20); 3. Luke Whitcomb (20); 4. Andrew Russell (10, penalty line).

JR 250 MAIN: 1. Sebastian Palmese; 1. Colton Hicks; 3. Jake Isaac; 4. Sara Cords; 5. Michael Wells.

DIVISION 3 MAIN: 1. Kevin Fife; 2. Mike Miller; 3. George Yates; 4. Kevin Fiore (fell, remounted).

DIVISION 2 MAIN: 1. Eloy Medellin; 2. Rick Valdez; 3. Rudy Laurer; 4. Bruce Marteney.

SCRATCH CONSOLATION: 1. Gage Geist; 2. Tyson Talkington; 3. Shaun Harmatiuk; 4. Brad Sauer.

SCRATCH MAIN: 1. Max Ruml; 2. Aaron Fox; 3. Bob Hicks; 4. Tim Gomez.

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