Fast Fridays Speedway
Gold Country Fairgrounds
Fast Fridays Track Championship
Fast Friday's Motorcycle Speedway,
Gold Country Fairgrounds
Charlie Venegas Triumphs at Fast Fridays
By Michael Kirby (Story & Photos)
AUBURN, CALIFORNIA, September 12, 2014
YouTube Video By Anthony Bernardi
Charlie Venegas has a knack for coming through when the stakes are high. The savvy veteran speedway rider with over 26 years of racing experience did just that at Fast Friday's Motorcycle Speedway Friday night at the Gold Country Fairgrounds in Auburn. Just one week before the AMA US National Speedway Championships in Auburn, Venegas showed everyone he has what it takes to win the high profile races. Finishing third in the season points, 450 points behind first place finisher Billy Janniro, Venegas outlasted Janniro and fifteen other of the highest season point's winners to take home the Division I Fast Fridays Track Championship.
The Division I program track championship brought the 16 top riders in points from the 2014 season and pitted them against each other in five sets of heats. A win tallied three points, two points for a second place finish, one point for third and nothing for a fourth place finish. Every rider rode against each other from a different starting position at least once. Venegas, after three rounds was a point behind Janniro, who had not lost a race yet and was perfect with nine points. In event 13 Venegas with eight points found himself in a talent filled race with Janniro and his nine points, Bart Bast who also held eight points and Jamison Dilkey who had six. Arguably the most anticipated race of the evening, Venegas prevailed and won picking up the three points, Bast grabbed the two with a second place finish and Janniro had to settle for third and one point. The win put Venegas in the driver's seat with 11 points, one ahead of Janniro, Bast and Tommy Hedden who each had 10 points going into the last round of races.
In event 18 Venegas faced Ryan Bast, Thomas Reich and Kyle Marsalla, a win would hand Venegas the championship. Ryan Bast gave Venegas a little competition but Venegas won handily and took the checkered flag finishing with 14 points. "I dropped a point in my first race, but like I do I just had to chip, chip away. I had some good gate positions and some good starts," Venegas said. Bart Bast and Tommy Hedden each won their final heat races and finished with 13 points each. Janniro did not finish his final race and finished evening with 10 points. "I knew I was going to have to hammer down in that race with Janniro and Bart (Bast). When you race a guy as good as Billy (Janniro) you really have to use a little bit of wisdom and experience," Venegas said.
In probably the most exciting race of the evening Bart Bast and Hedden had a run-off for second and third place. Hedden got out in front of Bast in turn one. Bast rode right on Hedden's back just waiting for a break. In the final ten feet of the race on the last lap Bast pulled a gutsy move and with a burst of power caught Hedden at the finish line by inches in a near photo finish. Bast finished in second and Hedden was third in the championship.
In the Division II track championship David Mersaroli capped a great season picking up the win. Mersaroli was tops in season points in Division II leading Kyle Marsalla by over 150 points going into the championship. Mersaroli faced Nick Dion, Jamison Dilkey and Marsalla in the main event for the championship. Dilkey took a hard fall in turn one leading the pack on lap two and forced a restart. "I went wide and gave it up to Marsalla (Kyle), I was grateful for the restart and a second chance," Mersaroli said. In the restart Mersaroli got out in front and was not much challenged cruising to victory. In his fourth season of racing only two of them on 500cc bikes Mersaroli has had a great career so far and will be a competitor in Division I next year. "It feels great for my last race in Division II, next season I'm signing up for Division I," Mersaroli said.
Division III saw Will McCloskey take home the prize. McCloskey won his heat race then transferred to the main event for the championship. McCloskey faced Lawrence McNutt, Tim Dion and Harlan Bast. McCloskey who was third in season points going into the championship behind McNutt and Bast took the lead and held it. Bast, 78, and a veteran of over 45 years of speedway racing took second place in the championship for the second year in a row. McNutt, who was last year's Division III track championship, was third and Dion finished fourth.
In a night of exciting scratch championship racing the Challenge Elimination Series championship was also staged at Fast Fridays. Five rounds throughout the season put five racers in the final championship round. The format is three single lap scratch races with a rider eliminated after each race until the final two challengers face off in a two lap finale. In the championship were Bryce Starks, Billy Janniro, Tommy Hedden, Bob Hicks and Charlie Venegas. Hedden went out first, followed by Hicks, and then Starks was dropped. Janniro and Venegas, two of the best starters on the track, went to the line for the final two lap race. Janniro took command off the line with a great gate and held off Venegas winning the season long competition and the championship.
Also on the program was the 250cc youth division which was won by Chase Guerrero. Blake Borello was second and William Fike third. Auburn speedster Cameron Krezman was first in the 150cc Youth A division followed by Kyle Cunningham and Landon Norton. Gregory Moore topped the 150cc Youth B division with a win, followed by Landon Collins in second and Aiden McNutt in third. Shawn MacDonald was first in the Run What U Brung competition.
Results for Fast Fridays Track Championships 9-12-14
Division I Track Championship
1-Charlie Venegas 14
2-Bart Bast (run off) 13
3-Tommy Hedden (run off) 13
4-Bob Hicks 12
5-Billy Janniro 10
6-Ryan Bast 10
7-JT Mabry 7
8-Tyler Warren 7
9-Jamison Dilkey 6
10-Bryce Starks 6
11-Kyle Marsalla 5
12-Thomas Reich 5
13-Daniel Faria 3
14-Colton Duncan 2
15-Shawn Eldredge 1
16-PJ Byrne 0
Division II Track Championship
1-David Mersaroli, 2-Kyle Marsalla, 3-Nick Dion, 4-Jamison Dilkey
Division III Track Championship
1-Will McCloskey, 2-Harlan Bast, 3-Tim Dion, 4-Lawrence McNutt
Challenge Elimination Championship
1-Billy Janniro, 2-Charlie Venegas, 3-Bryce Starks, 4-Bob Hicks, 5-Tommy Hedden
250cc Youth Division
1-Chase Guerrero, 2-Blake Borello, 3- William Fike
150cc Youth A Division
1-Cameron Krezman, 2-Kyle Cunningham, 3-Landon Norton
150cc Youth B Division
1-Gregory Moore, 2-Landon Collins, 3-Aidan McNutt
Run What U Brung
Photos By Michael Kirby