Saturday, June 27, 2009

June 26 at Inland Motorsport Speedway

Friday night and the second race night for the new track at an old location. Another grand stand was added to accommodate those who were turned away last week. More speakers were added to the sound system plus more porta johns.

My drive to San Bernardino yesterday wasn't bad considering what it used to be around Riverside where additional lanes have been added. I had been warned earlier that there was going to be used car tent sale in the adjacent parking lot at the track so I took time before leaving to convert a dolly I use to move my sabots around to a kit and tool hauler to cut down the trips between the lot and the pits.

The red shirt gang had the entrance to the parking lot completely under control for unloading bikes and gear but an additional hike was required to the northern parking lot for parking. At 6:30 there was a line of spectators lined up to get in the track. Speedway here has no corporate sponsors, no colorful expensive eighteen wheelers, a few riders have mechanics to unload their equipment and set up the bikes but budgets here barely exist.

When I was in high school we drove to the drag races and stripped out the back seat and spare tire, removed the air cleaner and cooling fan and went racing with a shoe polish number written on the side window. I guess I could say things must be getting better now as I can leave the back seat in when I go racing.

The majority of riders have only one speedway motorcycle and one body so if one hits a wall and bends a frame or destroys a wheel (or body) there is no magical tooth fairy that will leave a new shiny replacement under the pillow or a pain free night of sleep so sometimes riders don't show up where they have previously signed up to race.

The printed program is made up several day earlier and is time consuming as Microsoft has not come up with a cut and paste program for speedway racing (at least I don't know of one).

In the past I have signed up riders, put together a program, printed them and at race night the changes from rider no-shows makes for a unnecessary rewrite at the last minute and what the folks in the stands see is not what the riders see which makes for great confusion. Last night Ryan Evans had to make more changes to the program that Michael Jackson had previously done to his face.

The racing format included both scratch and handicap racing with qualifying for each in progression towards the main event. Jason Ramirez #66 won the scratch main (I believe his first as a first division ride) and was on his way to winning the handicap main for a double when a restart put him back after he had been in the front when the red flag came out. After he won the main Buck Blair led a crew out to throw Jason high in the air in celebration (the picture is blurry as Jason was too fast all night for my camera's shutter). Jason's dad, Sam, didn't get to see Jason's fine performance last night as he has to run his lawn mower shop in Orange and can't always get to the track. As I said speedway lacks corporate sponsorship.

Sorry I am unable to post all the results here but they are available elsewhere on the net as that content will not cut and paste without losing the margins. Of course if I won something I would take the time to do that. Tonight is the last race at Costa Mesa as they are dark during all of July and I have not rode there for several years but maybe in August I will try again but for today my speedway bike can sit in the garage neglected.

Friday, June 26, 2009

State Long Track Championship

Spectator Gates Open 4PM

Practice 4PM

First Race 7PM

Perris Auto Speedway

Saturday Night July 11th
Click picture to enlarge

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Industry Speedway, June 24

Last night the freeway trip over and back appeared to be getting quicker until I actually looked at my watch and the afternoon chore was the usual 80 minutes but without the first gear stopping and starting.

As expected the rider count was down and the pits had a lot more room in them. I am not sure when the program is put together but in first division there was only one missing rider listed on the program and with the addition of Billy Janniro and Kenny Ingalls the count was thirteen.

Janniro addition made for great watching. Russel Green, although he didn't score many points, showed he is willing to hang in there with the really fast guys. Last Friday at IMS my worn tire was really slipping so I replaced it with a new $54.00 one which caused great difficulty with the sticky track. Increasing the air pressure would not help as it was already brick hard and I don't have any bigger rear sprockets so I just went out and rode.

On Monday the tire was changed and the primary chain was cleaned and re-oiled and when I went to bump it off in the pits after the rider's meeting the primary came off. Shit like that happens but when I went inside the tool box my ratchet wrench was missing. When I left earlier there was half a dozen kids in the garage and one was replacing the chain on his twenty inch bicycle so my ratchet is probably still lying somewhere in the garage. Then when I went to remove the snap ring on the primary sprocket the snap ring popped off and went flying over the bushes to the stables down below. Thanks to others I was able to get a wrench and another snap ring. What I really need is a lock on my tool box.

What makes smooth Kim Stevens so cool is not that she is the only woman rider out there but that she drives a VW van. The other VW van (mine was in my driveway) at the track transports the only female junior rider Hayley Perrault (also cool) from San Clemente.

The red flag was out tonight as the dirt was not co-operating as this track is resurfaced every week and the tear down of the setup begins right after the races are over.

I would like to thank those folks that have told me they have read my blog.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Opening Night: Inland Motorsport Speedway

Usually my blog about speedway starts off bitching about the traffic. From my house in Orange County to San Berdoo is just under sixty miles and previously I have raced at the Orange Show on Friday nights when Brad Oxley tried a go there and on Wednesday when Charlie had a track where IMS just opened. My argument was should I leave early to try and miss the traffic (like maybe Thursdays) or later and just suffer.

The only problem was where the toll road joins the 91 Freeway where it took twelve minutes to merge on with the east bound traffic. My actually overall drive time was the same as the trip for the Grand on Wednesday at a greater distance and on a Friday night. Wow, was the first thing I said when I got to the parking lot, where did all these cars come from, am I in the right place.

On the way to race in Victorville I stopped here and took some pictures and all that was to be seen was the bare track. Last Sunday the posts for the crash wall were being set and five short days later there is this race track, riders and mechanics, security, portable lighting, food vendors, beer sales. My hats off to Shawn and Jason and all the others who made this possible. If this was a TV talent show the judges would be holding up "ten signs". A full program of 48 races including Youth through 24 1st Division Riders that started at 8 o'clock and finished at eleven.

In my first race I was completely fooled by the track. It has been years since I rode a track like this and my tire pressure and gearing were off (not to mentioned me) but I won it. With luck and just a few inches to spare I manage to finish second in the next race and moved into the main where I sucked. Well there is next week to look forward to.

Several riders showed up with rusty steel shoes after sitting out several seasons but the rust apparently had no effect on Josh Larsen, it just made him go faster.

The only thing faster than Larsen is Ryan Evans.
He had the race results on the internet before I got home not the four or five weeks it takes for results to show up in the weekly motorcycle newspaper. The results do appear sooner in Cycle News On-Line version Fast Eddie Castro was fast and really liked the track, young Jason Ramirez was very impressive and smooth.
Buck Blair was Buck .

Story written by Ryan Evans:

Speedway fans witnessed an evening of resurrection at the National Orange Show in San Bernardino on Friday, June 19, 2009. The date marked the resurrection of speedway at the Inland Empire venue and the resurrection of the speedway career of Josh Larsen at the Grand Reopening/John Ladouceur Championship at Inland Motorsport Speedway.Promoters Jason Bonsignore and Shawn McConnell and many volunteers worked feverishly to ensure that the facility was ready on time. Their hard work paid off as the event was sold out 30 minutes prior to the first race and the fans were entertained by fantastic racing throughout the evening. The riders were very pleased with the track, especially the ample supply of dirt that produced a lot of outside passing. Larsen, who hasn't raced since an injury suffered two seasons ago, and Mike Faria both entered the main event undefeated, but Larsen won the right to pick first and chose gate one. It proved to be a wise choice because he launched into the lead at the start. "Fast" Eddie Castro and Faria battled side-by-side behind Larsen through the first corner and down the back straight. Castro drifted wide exiting turn four and pinched Faria's line and slowed the former National Champion dramatically. Castro then turned his attention toward the leader. Castro chased the former World Finalist for two laps but was unable to gain any ground. Larsen seemed to have the race under control when he entered the final corner but found extra traction in the middle of the turn and got off his line. Castro pounced on the opportunity but Larsen recovered in time to beat him to the checkered flag and complete his perfect evening amid a loud ovation from the appreciative crowd. Buck Blair was third, Jason Ramirez finished fourth, and Faria was fifth.The 24-rider First Division field competed in an all-scratch format similar to one that was used for the National Championship Qualifiers in the 1980s and 1990s. There were three rounds of heats with the top 16 scorers transferring to the four semi-finals. The winner of each semi transferred directly to the main with second place going to the Last Chance Race. The winner of the Last Chance transferred to the main.Castro kicked off the evening by defeating McConnell in the long-awaited first heat. Northern California's Tommy Hedden led the second heat before Ramirez charged through to take the win. Dukie Ermolenko led the third heat for three laps before Blair got by for the win. Brad Sauer was leading Larsen for two laps before the former World Team Cup Champion got by for his first win. Faria discovered that he was still a crowd favorite when he received a standing ovation for his easy win in event five. Jimmy Fishback, the son of San Bernardino legend Jim "The Animal" Fishback, was awarded the victory in the final race of round one after Dale Facchini and Robbie Sauer went down and brought out the red flag. Shaun Harmatiuk started the second round with a win over Castro. Ramirez beat Brad Pappalardo for his second straight win. McConnell earned his first win on his race track by beating Justin Boyle. Hedden scored his first victory ahead of Neil Facchini in event 16. In the next race, Faria brought the crowd to its feet by racing on the outside of Buck Blair the entire race and it paid off as he charged to the finish line just ahead of the Colorado native for his second straight win. Larsen made a bold outside move in turn one to go around Fishback and on to his second consecutive win to complete round two. Castro was victorious over Perkins to begin the third round with his second win. Fishback scored his second win in the next heat. Hedden beat Tyson Burmeister for his second straight win. Faria cruised to his third consecutive victory ahead of Tim Gomez. Larsen matched Faria's perfect score in the very next heat by beating Blair. Ramirez closed out the heats and kept pace with Larsen and Faria with his third win. A four-rider runoff was needed to fill the final two spots in the semis. Dale Facchini and Justin Boyle finished one-two ahead of Pappalardo and Brad Sauer and moved into the semis.Castro won the first semi to earn his way into the main event. Blair handed Ramirez his first defeat and put himself into the main event with his victory in the second semi. Faria and Hedden waged an intense inside-outside battle reminiscent of the glory days in the third semi. Hedden was relentless in his pursuit of the leader but his bid ended on lap three when he ran out of room on the back straight, bounced off the wall, and was wobbled before finally going down in turn three. Faria went on to the victory.Larsen cruised to victory in the final semi but the action behind him was wild. McConnell was in second before finding enough traction to through him onto his backside. Harmatiuk assumed second but cost himself a spot in the Last Chance when he fell in the final corner. Ramirez won the Last Chance to earn the final spot in the main-event field.Larsen and Ermolenko were featured in a special best-of-three match race. Ermolenko won the first race after the riders swapped the lead several times. Larsen came back to win the second race which also featured several lead changes. The third race didn't have as much drama as Larsen jumped into the lead and held off Ermolenko for the victory.Steve "Rattlesnake" Bowen and Joey Holt entered turn one together in the Second Division Main Event, but both went wide and Billy Braden cut underneath for the lead. Braden led for three laps while Holt made his way into second and closed ground on the leader. Holt was within striking distance as they entered the final corner, but Braden kept his composure and held on for the win. Holt settled for second, Bowen finished third, and Frank Pecce was fourth.Bubba Vazzana jumped into the lead at the start of the Third Division Main Event. Tim McGrath patiently pursued Vazzana for three laps and waited for an opportunity. As they entered the final corner McGrath made his move on the inside of the leader. McGrath straightened up in the middle of the corner which pushed both riders very wide. McGrath won the drag race to the finish to take the victory. Butch Waymire finished third and DeWayne Stark was fourth.River McDougall started 20 yards back but passed Dillon Ruml and Jacob Wondolowski for the lead on lap one of the Youth Main Event. McDougall then rode a flawless race to get the victory. Samuel Ramirez finished second, Nicky Reimer was third, Maxwell Ruml finished fourth, Dillon Ruml was fifth, and Wondolowski finished sixth.Reimer was victorious in the Pee Wee Main Event with Wondolowski finishing second and Dakota Shockely coming in third. The John Ladouceur Championship was named for the original promoter of speedway at the National Orange Show (NOS). Inland Motor Speedway (IMS) was immensely popular and was known as "The Only Reason for Wednesday Nights" from 1975 to 1987 before the promotion moved to Glen Helen. Although the racing was great at Glen Helen it never garnered the fan support that IMS had and, after going through several promoters, speedway ended there after the 1995 season. Charlie Venegas promoted several events inside the NOS stock car stadium in 2000 and at Arrowhead Motor Speedway in 2001 and 2002 (Larsen coincidentally won Arrowhead's first main event). International Speedway Inc. promoted a handful of events inside the stock car stadium in 2003, but there has been nary a speedway bike on the property since. Bonsignore and McConnell are hoping that their IMS will be the Friday Night happening in the Inland Empire much the same as what the original IMS was on Wednesday nights. The fans were greeted by the voice of legendary announcer Bruce Flanders, who was the announcer of the original IMS and remains immensely popular with speedway fans. A ribbon-cutting ceremony was performed at the starting tapes prior to the races as well.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

IMS and Golden Gate Posters

The top photo is not straight but if you click on it you should be able to read it. Opening night is June 19, 2009. Charlie's poster for some reason will not enlarge.

Poster taken from Bullentin board at Industry for Golden Gate Motor Speedway, Vallejo, California. Saturday night races promoted by Charlie Venegas.

Industry Speedway, June 17

A little warmer last night as June gloom may be in retreat. The VW van was the choice of transportation to the track as the Nissan was required by my teenage mutant as his VW decided to have its fuel pump go on strike. Speedway bikes don't have fuel pumps, fuel injection, computer chips (well not that I know of) and good old gravity gets the job done unless you forget to turn the fuel on which I saw happen at least once last night.

The motorcycle manufacturers make various sizes of bikes for kids but the majority of the ones used for the smaller speedway rider are homebrew and have various types of motors and displacements.

When my son raced speedway at the age of eleven ,which would be six years ago, he started on a 85cc 2 stroke Honda motor and later added a 250 cc Jawa laydown. Not all tracks then or now have the same requirements for junior (or youth) riders which makes entry more complicated than really is necessary. We once showed up with the 250 and he was not allowed to ride because he had not reached the age of twelve yet so he went out and won the main on his smaller two stroke.

And not all tracks will allow younger riders to ride any thing larger than 200cc and some of these older motors are a lot older than their riders which makes maintenance a lot more costly for the parents or grandparents than what should be.

Speedway is a great family sport, I have raced against Shaun Harmatiuk's father and Shaun's younger brother also rides. There were two Faria's on the track tonight and two Ramirez's also. I have also raced against Austin Novratil's dad before. Austin and Joey Holt are getting lot of great experience at The Grand riding 500's where they would be limited to an ancient 200 elsewhere. Hugh Randolph is the oldest rider here and he can ride any size he wants to.

I have not grown up yet myself either and sometimes I do yell encouragements, specially at Buck Blair, who calls me Uncle DeWayne. Buck made the main, the hard way, last night by winning the last chance.

Every night there are surprises ( I won my first heat) and some one's kill switch failed to shut the motor down after the rider fell and the engine kept on screaming while several brave souls reached in trying to stop it. I know my kill switch works: Last week I had Bill Cody replace the noisy bearing in my clutch basket with a new one and when I put it back together I twice tried to bump start it by rolling down my driveway before I realized the wrist lanyard was in the tool box.

The last surprise of the evening was trying to find the freeway to head home. The freaking freeway on-ramp was closed so I headed south. A couple years ago something similar to this happen and I knew that if I drove parallel to the freeway headed east I would run into something familar. After a few minutes going east I suddenly discovered I had gone to far east and from the signs on the building I was lost somewhere in China. My cell phone doesn't have any GPS or street mapping , just some old duct tape holding it together but then I saw an In-and-Out so I pulled over to call my son to tell him I was still alive but somewhat lost in the far east. And where was he at when he picked up the call, of course , at another In-and Out.