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2011 Victorville Speedway
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Victorville Speedway
San Bernardino County Fairgrounds
Victorville, California

Professors vs. Students
June 25, 2011
Results By: Steve Evans

Professors edge Students in team thriller at Victorville.

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It was Fan Appreciation Night at Wheel2Wheel Speedway in Victorville, CA and top hats are apparently becoming the rage, as First Division Star Shawn McConnell demonstrates. That's John Pavia on the right, or "Rider X" as he is also known. Action in the pit area heats up slowly, giving the riders' kids time to play in the dirt. Speaking of kids playing in dirt, I just managed to shoot the Mad Hatter (riding for the Professors) doing a dastardly burnout in the dirt just upwind of the Students' pit area. Now everyone is dirty!
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Our two mud-splattered Team Managers meet to share rider change info. Wheel2Wheel Speedway Promoter Steve Evans (left) and Dave Galvin (right), the Professors Team Manager. Sidecars were hot and heavy on Fan Appreciation Night. #2 Dan Jones and Brandi ("I can't see where we're going") McElroy scream into turn three, pursued by #5150 Dylan Beard and Steve Emas. Team competition: Gustsy "Professors" Team rider #17 Robbie Sauer flies between "Students" Team riders #46 Aaron Fox (right) and #41 John Marquez (left) coming out of turn two.
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Student Team members Gino Manzares (leading) and Joey Holt (right) attempt to corral #17 Robbie Sauer. Sauer was injured later in a turn three wreck, but kept riding- turning the tide for his team more than once. Pee Wee rider #27 Luke Whitcomb got a victory celebration ride after #34 Dakota Shockley's gear shifter jammed in first. Luke's obviously been watching the grown-ups: casually flipping off the Ref when he's done with the checkered flag. Youth rider #333 Nick Varner was beating everyone he raced Saturday, young and old alike!
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Support Division: Three gallons of free Methanol were on the line: On the pole is #235 Carl Shockley.
In two is #319 Brad Russell. In the sandwich is #313 Joey St. Louis. #311 Kevin Fife is in four and #157 Tony DeAlmeida against the wall.
Russell got a good start and took the checkered just ahead of a charging St. Louis.
For the bragging rights to the Speedway "War of the Ages:" "Professors" Ace Fast Eddie Castro drives from the pole, contested by #46 Aaron Fox. Castro's partner is Shawn "Mad Dog" McConnell, in three - contested by "Students" rider Joey Holt. Castro and McConnell pulled off the win, made possible in part by Castro's hard-fought Maximum: 18 points! Way to go "Professors:" Eddie, Shawn McConnell, Doug Nicol, Robbie Sauer, Drew Coats (guest rider) Marvin Sonnier and Team Manager Dave Galvin. An exciting finish - well done!

Eddie Castro and Shawn McConnell combined for a last heat 5-1 to take a narrow a victory for the 'Professors' over the 'Student's in an epic team encounter at Victorville, which pitted a team of riders over 40 versus a team of riders under 25. The match featured a full British League format race with all the trimmings - team riding, helmet colors, race bibs, rider replacement rule and tactical rides.

The action got underway with Castro leading home Joey Holt and Robbie Sauer for an opening heat 4-2. The race needed to be re run after a crash on lap one where Sauer sustained a rib injury, though despite being in obvious pain, he continued the whole night. Heat 2 featured the 1st Division debut of 15 year old American Touring Team rider Rocco Scopellite and he impressed with a fabulous charge from the back to win over guest rider Drew Coats from the Professors. Heat 3 was another tied race and another classic - Aaron Fox and John Marquez gated on a 5-1 only for Robbie Sauer to dive between them both to take the lead on lap two. Fox fought back to take the win whilst Doug Nicol got by Marquez. The Professors edged four up in heat 4 when McConnell won from Scopellite, Sonnier holding off Holt. Heat 5 was shared with Sauer winning from Holt and Manzares. Heat 6 had Castro and McConnell 5-1 over Dylan Black and Fox, putting the older riders up 22-14.

Heat 7 once again saw the Fox / Marquez pairing gate on a 5-1, but McConnell was having none of it with an outside pass stunning Fox, whilst Coats picked up a third place, making the lead ten points. Heat 8 had Castro lead home Scopellite and Holt.

Heat 9 was perhaps where the match turned. Students Manager Steve Graham elected #1 rider Gino Manzares for a tactical double point ride. Doug Nicol for the students took off and rode into the distance before a turn three fall earned his exclusion. Manzares did not get the bike down in time and collected Nicol, who had to withdraw from the match with a shoulder injury. Manzares got the 6 point win from Sauer and Black, so the ten point lead was down to 5 at 31-26.

Castro won his 4th from Fox and Marquez in heat 10. Heat 11 was perhaps the race of 16 year old Joey Holt's career. McConnell led the race but Holt, the student of McConnell for many years, took his teacher back to school with a stunning outside pass and the only defeat of McConnell all night. Manzares's third place brought the lead down to three. Heat 12 had another good ride from a Spring Touring Team member - Dylan Black holding second place behind a hugely impressive Aaron Fox, the 5-1 putting the Youngsters one point up. Heat 13 had Castro and McConnell take the lead back with a 5-1 over Marquez and Scopellite to put the Old team back up by three, though McConnell took three laps to find a way by Marquez. The lead once more swung back to the Young rider when Marquez had an excellent win in heat 14 with Scopellite following home, The one point lead was not enough though as Castro, who scored a fantastic 18 point maximum and McConnell gating and leading home Fox and Holt for a decisive 5-1

The Sidecars once more ran an extended program as a result of the previous weeks well received headline show. Brandi McElroy was once more the winning passenger, though this time she was partnered by Dan Jones. Joe Jones and Jimmy Olsen got 2nd on the line from Shawn & Missy Driggers.

Nicholas Varner overcame his large handicap to win the Junior class over Gino Scopellite, Sebastian Palmese was third.

8 Division Three riders went through heats, semis and a last chance race in the 'Golden Gallons' Challenge - the winner getting 5 gallons of fuel courtesy of American Die Casting. Brad Russell made a fine gate and won the final. Joey St. Louis was 2nd, points leader Tony DeAlmeida third.

Nicholas Varner showed much improvement on his 250cc bike, beating Tony DeAlmeida in all three 250 Vs 500cc match race challenges. Luke Whitcomb won the Pee Wees after Dakota Shockley won both heats.


1. Eddie Castro....................333333....18
2. R/R
3. Robbie Sauer..................12321..........9
4. Doug Nicol........................1' 0 X..................1+1
5. Shawn McConnell...........32'322'2'....14+3
6. Drew Coats (Guest)........2101...............4
7. Marvin Sonnier..................1' 1000R.....2+1

1. Gino Manzares.................01'61..............8+1
2. Joey Holt...........................2021'30......8+1
3. Aaron Fox.........................302 23111
4. John Marquez..................001'13...........5+1
5. Jason Ramirez R/R
6. Dylan Black......................0112'...............4+1
7. Rocco Scopellite.............32202'...........9+1

Heat 1: Castro, Holt, Sauer, Manzares (4-2)
Heat 2: Scopellite, Coats, Sonnier, Black (tapes penalty) (7-5)
Heat 3: Fox, Sauer, Nicol, Marquez (10-8)
Heat 4: McConnell, Scopellite, Sonnier, Holt (14-10)
Heat 5: Sauer, Holt, Manzares, Nicol (17-13)
Heat 6: Castro, McConnell, Black, Fox (22-14)
Heat 7: McConnell, Fox, Coats, Marquez (26-16)
Heat 8: Castro, Scopellite, Holt, Sonnier (29-19)
Heat 9: Manzares (Tactical Ride), Sauer, Black, Nicol excluded (31-26)
Heat 10: Castro, Fox, Marquez, Sonnier (34-29)
Heat 11: Holt, McConnell, Manzares, Coats (36-33)
Heat 12: Fox, Black, Sauer, Sonnier (37-38)
Heat 13: Castro, McConnell, Marquez, Scopellite (42-39)
Heat 14: Marquez, Scopellite, Coats, Sonnier retired (43-44)
Heat 15: Castro, McConnell, Fox, Holt (48-45)

Sidecar Heat points - Joe Jones / Jimmy Olsen (9), Chris Jones / Brandi McElroy (9), Shawn & Missy Driggers 7, Dylan Beard / David Paine 5, Scott & Casey Driggers 0.

2. D Jones / McElroy
1. J Jones / Olsen
23. Sh Diggers / M Diggers
5150. Beard / Paine
13. Sc Driggers / C Driggers

319 Brad Russell
313 Joey St. Louis
157 Tony DeAlmeida
311 Kevin Fife
235 Carl Shockley

311 Kevin Fife
211 Steve Brown
227 Wade Whitcomb (retired)
122 Kevin Johnson (non starter)

333 Nicholas Varner
7 Gino Scopellite
18 Sebastian Palmese

27 Luke Whitcomb
34 Dakota Shockley

250 / 500 MATCH RACES
333 Nicholas Varner
157 Tony DeAlmeida

The team race was a huge success and already the promotion is looking at an 'Old Guys Vs Young Guys' rematch later in the season. Victorville Speedway and its associated tracks have been the sole Southern California team racing ambassador in recent years, though it is fair to say that this event was many steps ahead and more meaningful to all than previous efforts.

The Victorville season continues in just over a week with the traditional 4th of July race at its home for the first time in four years.

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