45th Season Opener - May 11 - Costa Mesa, CA, USA
When Costa Mesa Speedway was officially born at the Orange County Fairgrounds on June 13, 1969 little did Harry Oxley and Jack Milne know that their vision would thrill tens of thousands of fans, produce several world champions and iconic racers, and live on to the second decade of a new century. It is fitting of the legacy of International Speedway Inc. that the 45th season at the world famous bullring oval officially opened in front of a large crowd and former World Champion Billy "The Bullet" Hamill, who grew up racing at the facility, finishing a perfect night by winning the main event.
Billy Hamill had first choice of starting position for the main event and chose gate one. Former National Champion Billy "The Kid" Janniro had second choice and picked gate three and stated that he did so because he didn't want to bang bars with Billy Hamill going in to turn one. Former World Pairs Champion Bobby "Boogaloo" Schwartz quickly selected gate two. Shawn "Mad Dog" McConnell took gate four which left Northern California's Bryan Yarrow with gate five.
Controversy erupted on the first attempt as Janniro was first off the starting line but the red light came on immediately. The referee ordered the Northern California native to the penalty line for an unsatisfactory start but Janniro vehemently argued his case. When he realized that he wasn't going to change the referee's mind he rode through the tapes on his way back to the pits. The second attempt had far less drama as Billy Hamill made the best start with Schwartz following him through the first turn. Billy Hamill steadily increased his lead throughout the four laps and cruised to victory. Schwartz maintained second, Yarrow was third, McConnell finished fourth, and Janniro was credited with fifth.
The evening kicked off with a great battle between teenagers Austin Novratil and Max Ruml. Novratil led for three laps before Max Ruml passed him for the win. Hamill opened his evening with a win over former Junior National Champion Jason Ramirez. Former World Finalist Josh Larsen defeated Yarrow in the third heat. Schwartz beat former National Champion "Flyin" Mike Faria in the next heat. "Battling" Buck Blair beat Tim Gomez in event five. Janniro finished the first round by defeating McConnell.
Schwartz beat Max Ruml, who is 40 years his junior, to start the second round. Hamill beat Janniro for his second straight win. Larsen made it to straight wins by holding off Faria. Yarrow slipped past Tyson Burmeister to take the win in event 16. Blair held off Russell Green to win the next event. McConnell ended round two by beating Novratil.
Schwartz began round three with a win over "Nasty" Nate Perkins for his third straight win. Hamill remained perfect by defeating Novratil. Larsen matched Schwartz and Hamill's perfect scores by beating Gomez. Burmeister handed Janniro his second defeat in event 25. Faria held off Yarrow to win the next heat. Michael Raines beat McConnell in the final heat.
Janniro made a great start from gate four to win the first semi with Schwartz grabbing second to join him in the main event. Hamill and McConnell finished one-two in the second semi and transferred to the main.
Larsen made the best start in the Last Chance but Yarrow blasted by for the win and the final spot in the main event. Novratil finished second, Larsen was third, and Blair finished fourth.
Rudy Laurer won both of his heats and appeared to have the Support Main Event wrapped up but he went very wide in the final corner. Joe Donaldson pounced on Laurer's mistake and charged by him to steal the victory at the finish line. "Rattlesnake" Steve Bowen finished third and Brad "Ironman" Moreau was fourth.
Hagon Shocks teammates Broc Nicol and Kurtis Hamill raced handlebar-to-handlebar into turn one of the Junior 250 Main Event. Nicol emerged on the back straight with the lead while Kurtis Hamill chased after him. Nicol opened up ground while Kurtis Hamill had to contend with Dillon Ruml. Nicol, the defending Junior National Champion, ran away with the victory and Dillon Ruml's pressure paid off when he passed Kurtis Hamill and held on to second. Kurtis Hamill had to settle for third, River McDougall finished fourth, Hayley Perrault was fifth, and Dalton Leedy finished sixth.
First Division Heat Scoring123T
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