NOVRATIL RALLIES TO WIN AMA LONG TRACK SPEEDWAY NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
19 year old Austin Novratil won the 4th AMA National Championship of his young speedway career when he scorched to victory in the 2014 AMA Long Track National Championship at Perris Auto Speedway, CA on July 19th 2014.
Novratil just edged Buck Blair as the two hit turn one first in a star laden 6 rider Grand Final, a sudden death showdown that determined the title irregardless of the earlier heats. Max Ruml, who had first gate pick as equal top heat scorer , elected the outside starting position but made a slow start and was only fifth as the riders entered the first turn. Novratil and Blair led the way whilst Ruml worked his way through the traffic, first getting by 55 year old legend Eddie Castro and then 16 year old sensation Broc Nicol to move up to third. Joint top scorer with Ruml in the heats, Tyson Talkington, lost ground in the first two turns and went to the back of the field after a brilliant set of rides earlier. Meanwhile Novratil continued to lead, but Blair mounted a late challenge on the final two turns. Novratil held the line and kept his cool to deny Blair of a much desired title. Ruml was third from Nicol, Castro and Talkington.
16 riders in total competed in 4 qualifying rounds featuring 5 or 6 riders per heat on the 500 yard track. Novratil's night began with disaster; a bike failure meant he failed the two minute time allowance in Heat 1 and had to sit out. Talkington meantime had a lightning start, whilst Castro was last away but did a typical charge to pass Jamison Dilkey, Gabe Price and Neil Facchini. Castro almost got the win in his final charge but Talkington held on by inches at the line. Eventual runner up Blair also had an opening disaster with a tapes touching exclusion in Heat 2. Jason Ramirez rode a very fast race to win with Rocco Scopellite behind and looking back to his old self after a difficult early season returning from injuries of 2013. Ruml led home Nicol in Heat 3 in a mouth watering duel of new talent, with Russell Green in third and Justin Boyle fourth.
Round 2 opened up with Ruml winning a star studded heat 4, passing Nicol in the process, with Blair third and Castro fourth. Talkington also stayed perfect with a heat 5 victory over Facchini. Novratil showed very fast pace by defeating Blair in heat 6, with Northern California Long Track Rookie Colton Duncan impressing by staying well on their trail. Round 3 began with Talkington going three for three leading home Nicol and Gabe Price. The 8th heat saw Scopellite get a monster of a gate, Castro again missing the start and reeling in the opponents one by one, though unable to make ground on the leader. Duncan again showed pace in third. Heat 9 saw Novratil inflict the first defeat of the event on Ruml with Blair third, this giving Talkington the qualifying points lead at intermission.
The final round of heats had Novratil win his third in a row and booking his place in the final by defeating Ramirez in an epicly close battle, with Green once more in third. Ruml got back to his winning ways in Heat 11, defeating Castro and Blair. The final heat saw Nicol inflict the first defeat on Talkington, with Scopellite third. The race was red flagged at the line following a high speed get off by Duncan. Duncan went to hospital as a precaution but was discharged later in the evening.
After 4 rides (scoring 5,4,3,2,1,0) the scores were – Ruml 19, Talkington 19, Nicol 17, Novratil 15, Ramirez 14, Castro 14, Scopellite 13, Blair 10, Facchini 10, Green 9, Price 7, Duncan 6, D Faria 6, Boyle 6, Leedy 6, Dilkey 5.
The top 4 on points were seeded into the Grand Final, 5-10 went to the semi for the last spot. In the semi final it was the older guard of Blair and Castro who were first away and rode their lines well to get to the final. A heartbroken Jason Ramirez was third and eliminated, along with Facchini, Green and Scopellite.
A Support Class raced with lone 250cc Junior Samuel Ramirez. Ramirez won all 4 heats and the final with some stunning pace and passes, but he was scored separately. In the support class section Ron Davis won the first three heats but the fourth and Main Event went to young female rider Hayley Perrault, who, after being daunted by the track in practice, came back and simply got faster and faster in each ride for a popular win.
Joe Jones and Johnny Glover won two Sidecar Heats and the Main Event, with Dual Anderson and David Dent taking the other heat. Support Speedway rider Chris Wiggins was a popular winner of the Harley Flat Track Final.
This is the second staging of the AMA Long Track Speedway National Championship at Perris Auto Speedway, and once more it delivered edge of your seat fast racing action to an enthusiastic crowd. Given the amount of young riders on show that had a liking to the track and speed, and that 2013 winner Gino Manzares went on to race in the British League, Under 21 World Championship and is on the USA World Cup Team next week, it is easy to see the influence of this event on the future of many an ambitious young rider.
MAIN EVENT RESULTS
Youth 250 cc
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