Owego, New York
Owego, New York, USA
May 29, 2005
By Jason Bonsignore
Patrick Ahlund Trophy/Spring Classic Champion Speedway
Once again the start of the East Coast Speedway Season was hampered by rainy weather which led to the Spring Classic having to be postponed from Saturday evening to Sunday night. A switch of race nights and somewhat cloudy weather again on Sunday made it difficult to attract a large crowd for the race. What the weather was not able to do though was prevent some great racing from taking place.
Although at the end of the day it was some familar names in the Main Event, several newer riders and a couple blasts from the past provided some upsets and thrilling rides in the heats.
The Division 1 program consisted of 16 riders taking part in four rounds of scratch heats with the top two points scorers going directly to the Main. The next 8 in points took part in two semis with the winners of the semis transferring to the final. Second and third places from the semifinals had one last chance race in which the winner was to become the fifth rider in the finale.
Current East Coast Points Champ, Jeremy "Darkhorse" Parsons, kicked things off with a win in his first heat. Lee Bailey, "TV" Tom Burge and defending US Open Champion, Tommy"Gator" Sephton, were all heat winners.
Round Two is when things started to get interesting. Burge produced a surprising ride to beat Parsons while former great and 4-time track Champion, Lenny "Maddog" McBride, just back from 4 years retirement, won his heat. Sephton and Adam "OJ" Mittl closed out round two with wins.
Round Three is when it got really exciting. Mittl scored an upset over Sephton and youngster Casey Donholt defeated veteran Burge. Parsons was also victorious.
Round four brought in some more fireworks. Mittl won over Parsons, who was also beaten by Bailey. "Flyin" Brian Hollenbeck notched his first win as did 57 year old "Mean Gene" Bonsignore, who had been having bad luck bike problems to that point. McBride rolled back the years with a vintage ride over Sephton and Burge to close out the heats.
Mittl and Sephton went directly to the final. Semi number one was won by Hollenbeck who handed Parsons his third defeat of the night. Donholt and McBride finished third and fourth. Semi Two was a good race with Burge beating Bonsignore followed by Bailey and Keith Hawkins.
The last chance got a little hairy. First Parsons fell and caused a crash between Bailey and Donholt thus earning a ten yard penalty on the restart. Bonsignore was then winning the restart when Bailey and Donholt again took a spill. Donholt was then sent back to the ten for the third attempt. The NGK Spark Plugs/ Justice Brothers Bonsignore led for two laps before Parsons found some outside drive which enabled him to get by and grab the last spot in the Main.
The Court Jester/Steve Tennant sponsored Parsons automatically had gate five for the final and nobody expected a win from five but he made a rocket start across everyone and was unchallenged for all four laps taking home the Patrick Ahlund Spring Classic Championship. Sliderz Bar and Grill sponsored Sephton was second, while Burge, Hollenbeck and Mittl finished in that order.
Jesse"Jet" Diem scored his first ever Support A win over Bob"Badger"Bruzek and the returning Casey Casslebury.
Rookie, Corey Brookes who is sponsored by Ricks Service, JBR and Gene the Machine, took home Support B honors over Ryan "Killer" Kaza and James Langland.
1. Jeremy Parsons
2. Tom Sephton
3. Tom Burge
4. Brian Hollenbeck
5. Adam Mittl
1. Jeremy Parsons
2. Gene Bonsignore
3. Casey Donholt
4. Lee Bailey
1. Jesse Diem
2. Bob Bruzek
3. Casey Casslebury
4. Shawn Engel
5. Jay Casslebury
6. Rick DeHart
7. Andy Crawford
1. Corey Brookes
2. Ryan Kaza
3. James Langland
4. Deanna Holden
5. Katalin Davis
1. Anthony Bower
The racing was very good with many heats where you had no idea who would win. It was so good that both Sephton and Parsons were each beaten three trimes. Adam Mittl was a big surprise and some of the younger kids like Diem and Brookes looked awesome. Track was picture perfect. Lenny McBride got fourth in his semi which finished his night but rode great for his first time back in four years and had a vintage ride in his third heat winning over both Sephton and Parsons. The full field of 16 D-1 guys produced some great racing and that didn't even include big names like Lazor, Rafferty, Estelle, Tuff McBride and Diem. Tuff McBride announced that he will be making his first start in two more races, the NY State Championship. He plans to do match races on June 11. He is the 1983 NY State Champion.