HAMILL WINS INDUSTRY SPEEDWAY CYCLE OPENER
– By Tim Kennedy
Industry, CA., May 29 – Speedway motorcycle racing
returned Wednesday to Industry Speedway at the Industry Hills
Expo Center, launching the tenth consecutive season of two-wheel
racing at the indoor Grand Arena dirt track. Riders ran 39
races between 7:30 and 9:54 pm. About 2,500 enthusiastic spectators,
up from 2,000 last year, welcomed cycle racers back to the
San Gabriel Valley track. Twenty 500cc Division 1 racers,
from teenagers to AARP-eligible 50+ riders, competed. Billy
“the Bullet” Hamill enjoyed a perfect night by
winning all three of his heat races, his semi-final race and
the four-rider, four-lap main event.
Hamill, a 43-year old Carlsbad resident, is an eight-time
US National Speedway Cycle Champion. He also won the 1996
World Speedway Championship and the 1998 World Team Championship.
He started his Hagon Shock-sponsored cycle from the inside
lane and shot into the lead immediately when the starting
gate lifted. He maintained his lead in the second turn despite
a bump that sent Austin Novratil to the ground and out of
Hamill withstood race-long pressure from runner-up Charlie
“the Edge” Venegas, 46, and won by four lengths.
Gino Manzares, 19, earned third, ten-yards back. Non-finisher
Novratil, 18, placed fourth. Additionally, Hamill enjoyed
an early Fathers Day present when his 14-year old son Kurtis,
who also uses No. 104 on his cycle and leathers, led all four
laps of the under age 16 Junior Division 250cc main event
in a four rider field.
Aaron Fox captured the Division 1 (experts) consolation race
for the third and fourth place finishers in the two semi-final
races, won by Venegas and Hamill. Rudy Lauer led the final
three laps of the 500cc Division 2 feature for intermediate-level
riders. Harold Hartke led the opening lap and finished second.
Chris Jones took charge of the Division 3 (newcomers) 500cc
riders on the final lap by squeezing between the infield edge
and Louis Hughes, leader of the first three laps. Jones took
his victory lap with the checkered flag, dismounted at the
starting line, and performed his usual cartwheels towards
turn one. He made seven cartwheels as fans counted.
Sebastian Palmese passed early leader Maverick Molloy on
the third lap and won the 150cc main over Molloy and third
place young lady Courtney Crone, 12. The four-lap pee-wee
main event on 50cc mini cycles went to fan-favorite Jake Whitcomb,
now 7. After starting from a 20-yard handicap line, the jovial
youngster made his usual inside charge in the closing laps
for his last lap pass in the second turn.
Riders with perfect scores following two heat races were
Hamill, Venegas and Josh Larsen, a past California State Championship
winner at Industry. He has not raced at Industry Wednesday
night races in recent seasons. Larsen blew his engine after
the second heat victory, ending his night of racing.
Max Ruml celebrated his 16th birthday on March 15 and graduated
to a 500cc cycle. Officials allowed him to bypass Divisions
3 and 2 and moved him into the tough Division 1. He justified
their evaluation of his talent by finishing heats second twice
and winning his third heat race. Ruml tallied seven points
out of a possible nine on the 3-2-1-0 point scale for each
race. He finished a close fourth in the first semi-final and
third in the four rider D-1 consy race that preceded the D-1
NOTES: City of Industry Mayor Jeff Parriott served as opening
night grand marshal. His family has three generations of service
on the Industry city council and as motorcycle racers. As
a teen Jeff road raced. His father Sam “Buddy”
Parriott raced flat track, TT and road races in the 50s and
60s and finished second in an early 60s Daytona road race.
Jeff's grandfather, Sam, raced cycles on dry lakes in 1924
and ran 137 mph on a Crocker Twin cycle at Muroc Dry Lake
in 1939. Sam also had a Kurtis 500S sports race car.
Bruce Penhall, a two-time World Speedway Champion, was present
for Industry's opening night. Announcer Bruce Flanders interviewed
him as two of his Penhall Corp. trucks circled the track with
“Connor” on the side of both trucks. Penhall's
racer son Connor was struck and killed while working for the
family firm on blockaded lanes of the I-10 Freeway just east
of the 605 Freeway just over a year ago. Speedway cycles carried
a decal that read “Connor (1990-2012) – No. 81
– Ride in Peace”. ...Round 1 of the Monster Energy
FIM Speedway World Team Cup was completed on May 19 in Miskolc,
Hungary and USA won it. Team members were: team manager Billy
Hamill, captain Ryan Fisher, Ricky Wells, Gino Manzares and
Billy Janniro. The next round will be run on July 15 at Kings
The large opening night crowd 50/50 drawing produced a $441.
payout to the lucky fan winner. ... Injured riders missing
from action at Industry this week: Braden Galvin, 14, broke
a foot two months ago and needed surgery. Rocco Scopellite
broke his shoulder in several places while racing in England
earlier in May. Veteran riders Shawn McConnell and Bobby Schwartz,
in his 40th year of speedway cycle racing, also were absent.
Schwartz won all of his races, including the scratch main,
last Saturday at Costa Mesa Speedway.
Venegas won his 13th ice racing championship this winter
at ice hockey rinks in Iowa. He said he won most of the 16
heats and won a runoff to beat mid-western riders on the “home
ice”. Charlie said he won $10,000 in front of more than
10,000 fans of the spiked tires sport. ... D-1 veteran racer
Doug Nicol was in the pits helping his son Broc, who finished
second in the 250cc Junior main. His brother-in-law John Odom,
the father of ex-speedway cycle racer Donny Odom, was one
of the severely injured persons at the Boston Marathon terrorist
bombing. John was standing near the bomb blast site and lost
limbs, required many blood transfusions and 12+ major surgeries
to save his life. John, from So Cal, continues to recover
from his injuries.
The 14-week cycle racing season at Industry will continue
every Wednesday night during June. June 1 will feature all
divisions—pee wees through Division 1. Extreme sidecar
racers also will compete.
• Box Office opens at 5:30pm • Gates
open at 6:00pm • Race start time at 7:30pm •
Lower admission prices!! • $10 for adults •
$5 for students & seniors • Kids under 12 - FREE
• $3 Parking • Motorcycles are always FREE
• Box seats with VIP table service • Fantastic
Speedway Motorcycle racing with no brakes • Great
family entertainment. • Spectator gates open at 6pm
• Great food - Reasonable prices • Live Rock
Music • Our famous Tiki and Dirt Bars
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