Saddlemen

Kopp, Novratil Share Honors at Costa Mesa Speedway

| 25 October 2017 2:05 pm

Costa Mesa Speedway
Super Hooligan National Championship Night: Orange County Fairgrounds

Story by Elaine Jones
File Photos by David Gallegos
COSTA MESA, CA, SEPT. 9, 2017

It was the Super Hooligan National Championship Night at Costa Mesa Speedway, and 34 Harley riders were on hand to do battle. Add in some of the most awesome Speedway racing of the year, and it was quite a night!

Kudos to Brad Oxley and his ground crew for an excellent track. Kudos as well to Jaleen Oxley and her crew for getting everyone signed in so quickly!

With so many racers and races, the evening got off to an early start with some preliminary racing at 6 p.m.

This would be three rounds of Scratch racing, with the top four going directly to the main event and the next four getting a spot in the B main.

Austin Novratil (7) won the Scratch main event at Costa Mesa Speedway.

Austin Novratil (7) won the Scratch main event at Costa Mesa Speedway.

Round One
Max Ruml got his night off to a fast start with a wire-to-wire go in the opening heat race. It was not as easy as it sounds, as he was pushed all the way by Broc Nicol, Gage Geist and Tyson Talkington. With the season winding down and the National on the horizon, everyone was pushing it to the limit to find the other guys’ weak spots. No one was playing around.

Gino Manzares has been a player all year, and he had definitely come to play this night, as he outgated the rest of the field to win the second heat. He also beat his teammate, reigning U.S. National Champion Aaron Fox, who had to settle for second. Sammy Ramirez was third. Shawn “Mad Dog” McConnell rounded out the field with fourth.

The final heat of the first round was all Austin Novratil’s: He came, he saw, he conquered. Dillon Ruml did not make it easy for him, but he just couldn’t get the drive out of turn four to catch Novratil. Tyson Burmeister and Bobby “Boogaloo” Schwartz followed them home.

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Round Two
The first heat of the second round saw the intensity of the racing amp up. Novratil got the gate and the lead, but Manzares was riding double with him, and although he led for four laps, it was the last one that counted, and that was when Manzares made his move and grabbed the win away at the checkered flag. Nicol and Talkington were third and fourth, respectively.

In the next heat, Max Ruml kept his win streak alive, but he had to fight Burmeister for it. Burmeister cut the best gate and showed the way around for two laps as he and Max exchanged phone numbers. As they came around for the white flag, Max made his move and took over the lead and then brought it home. Burmeister would have to settle for the second spot. Fox and Ramirez were third and fourth, respectively, in this one.

Geist was the only one who had a somewhat easy trip, as he led from start to finish in the final heat of the second round. Following him home were Schwartz, McConnell, and Dillon Ruml.

Only two riders were still clean on the night: Max Ruml and Manzares. One back was Novratil.

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Round Three
In the opening heat of the third round, Burmeister found his groove, and it couldn’t have come at a better time, as he needed those points. McConnell was running second and in the hunt until the white-flag lap, when Nicol got by and rained on his parade. He would have to settle for third. Talkington finished fourth. Nicol would make it to the consi, but McConnell and Talkington would have to watch from the pits.

Novratil got his groove back with a wire-to-wire go in the next heat, and he ensured himself a place in the main. Fox was second, and he would have enough for the consi. Geist, by virtue of his win in the second heat, would also make the consi. The night, unfortunately, was over for Ramirez.

The final feat was all Manzares’. He was perfect on the night and going to the main. Max Ruml was no longer perfect on the night, but it didn’t matter, as he had his spot in the main. His brother Dillon would have enough for the consi. The night was over for Schwartz.

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Consolation Race
It was short and sweet in the consi. Fox got out on top and never looked back. It looked like it would be a freight train to the checkered flag, but Nicol pulled off a pass just about as close as you can get to the finish line, moving past Geist for third. Dillon Ruml was second.

Aaron Fox was the winner of the Scratch Consolation race.

Aaron Fox was the winner of the Scratch Consolation race.

Main Events
They rolled to the line for the richest race of the night, the Scratch main. The pole went to Manzares. Novratil was in the second lane. Max Ruml was in three, and Burmeister was against the wall, in four. They loaded in, the light went green, and the tapes came up!

Novratil was on the gas – but so was everyone else! No freight train here. It was in-your-face racing, with four guys on the gas for four very quick laps. Manzares was out second, but he was not able to hold his line and Ruml got through on the white-flag lap. Manzares was still able to hold off Burmeister for third. There would be just one more race before the National, and if this was a preview, it’s going to be a great one!

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The Support main went to a very popular rider: Mike Bloom, a.k.a. “Spider-Man,” was loving life, as he went wire to wire for the win. It was a good night, as he topped Michael Wells, who did challenge him. Wells kept Rohn Zellner, Ron Davis and Chet Kohler at bay.

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The RSD Hooligan main was really a battle among five riders who had been the top runners all night. There were seven other riders out there, but it was all about these five.

The first try at a go saw the red flag come out on the fourth lap when a rider went down and the rider behind used him and his bike for traction. That’s a big bike to be climbing over the top of your body. Needless to say, he did not make the restart; not only was he done, but his bike was done.

They restarted, and Joe Kopp – as he had done all night – led the way, and the win was his. On back, it was Brad Spencer, Chris McDougall, Andy Dibrino and Jordan Bader.

Costa Mesa Speedway at the Orange County Fairgrounds
Costa Mesa, California
Results: September 9, 2017

SCRATCH MAIN: 1. Austin Novratil (Jaw); 2. Max Ruml (Jaw); 3. Gino Manzares (Jaw); 4. Tyson Burmeister (Jaw).

SCRATCH CONSI: 1. Aaron Fox (Jaw); 2. Dillon Ruml (Jaw); 3. Broc Nicol (Jaw); 4. Gage Geist (Jaw).

SUPPORT MAIN: 1. Mike Bloom (Jaw); 2. Michael Wells (Jaw); 3. Rohn Zellner (Jaw); 4. Ron Davis (Jaw); 5. Chet Kohler (Jaw).

SUPPORT CONSI: 1. Harold Hartke (Jaw); 2. David Lynch (Jaw); 3. Joey Donaldson (Jaw); 4. Brad Moreau (Jaw); 5. Tom Bryant.

RSD HOOLIGAN MAIN: 1. Joe Kopp; 2. Brad Spencer; 3. Chris McDougall; 4. Andy Dibrino; 5. Jordan Baber.

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