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INDUSTRY SPEEDWAY – D. RUML TOPS ALL COMERS

INDUSTRY SPEEDWAY – D. RUML TOPS ALL COMERS
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“Bring 'em all on” might be the response of Industry Speedway 2018 dominant force Dillon Ruml, 19. The 500cc first division winner has turned into a super-star this season with Claudio Marquez as his mechanic. He was the mechanic for Dillon's brother Max for years during his assent to the Industry Speedway championship in 2017. When Max departed in June to race speedway bikes in Europe, Claudio and Dillon joined forces. The result has been five Industry feature victories in nine main events, including Wednesday night.

His fourth triumph in a row came on the annual “Legends & Heroes Night” at the modern Grand Arena, home of the Industry Speedway eighth-mile dirt track under a roof. Prior to the start of racing, 25 speedway legends from the past sat behind a row of tables in the Grand Arena courtyard, behind the first turn grandstand, signed autographs and reminisced with the almost 700 fans present.

Competition ramped-up this week with the return of speedway winners Billy Janniro and brother Max Ruml. Both raced during the May 30 season opener and have been absent since then. Max flew into Los Angeles from Europe Wednesday and raced a bike for the Lewis Hughes and Tyson Burmeister team. Janniro, a multi-time AMA National Speedway Champion and multi-time California State Speedway champion, flew from his Nor Cal home to race the Denny Scopellite-owned No. 1 GM bike based in Huntington Beach.

Max won all three of his heat races and was the only rider in the 14-rider D-1 field to score a perfect nine points. Dillon, who has been scoring nine points routinely this season at Industry, scored eight after losing a close duel to Janniro in round one. Janniro was leading event 20 narrowly over Max on lap 1 when he slowed suddenly on the first lap and pulled into the infield after a spark plug wire came off. He won his two other heats for six points and qualified for one of the two semi-final races.

With the Ruml brothers, from Huntington Beach, and Janniro, who celebrated his 38th birthday July 3, as semi-final transfers to the feature, it remained a question who would join the three superstars in the feature. Three Industry 2018 main event winners—Austin Novratil, Jimmy Fishback and Aaron Fox—raced hard in the two semi-finals and Novratil earned the fourth slot in the main to set-up an eagerly anticipated final race.

SEMI-MAINS: Janniro led every lap in the first semi from gate two over pole starter Max. Russell Green ran second early but Max eventually passed him on the outside. Green finished third with Tim Gomez fourth.

Novratil started from gate four and led two laps in the second semi. Gate two starter Dillon trailed Novratil and pole starter Fox for two laps. On lap 3 Dillon raced high and wide at speed and passed Fox in turn four to earn the final feature transfer. His thrilling ride had fans in the grandstand cheering his dramatic pass. Green won the D-1 consolation race over Gomez and Bob Hicks. Fox scratched.

D-1 MAIN: The lineup from inside to outside was Dillon R, Janniro, Max R., and Novratil. When the light turned green and the starting gate shot upwards, Dillon beat Janniro to the first turn inside and led challenging Janniro on the first lap. Max and Novratil ran a close third and fourth after lap 1. Positions remained unchanged, but the outcome remained in doubt until all four riders crossed the finish line. Inside runner Dillon beat outside runner Janniro by two lengths with Max one length behind Janniro and Novratil one length in back of Max.

Fans were on their feet and cheering when the 36th race of the night concluded at 10:12 pm. The winner did several 360-degree donuts near turn four and followed with wheelies on the front straight to celebrate his dramatic triumph over fellow super-stars.

RUML RUMBLE: A special match race between the Ruml brothers was event 16 following the second round of D-1 heats. Called the “Ruml Rumble”, the race was a pair of two lap dashes. Both brothers started from the inside and outside. Dillon led both laps in the two races to win the best of three races (if necessary) format.

The first race of the night was delayed from 7:30 to 8:00 pm for two reasons. An electrical problem caused the green light at the starting line to be inoperable. Also, a woman in the main grandstand fell and required the track ambulance EMTs to come to her assistance . She did not have to be transported to a hospital and the electrical problem was resolved. It was the latest start at Industry in years.

All divisions raced this week with the exception of sidecars and pee-wees. In addition to 14 D-1 riders, two 500cc support divisions had seven D-2 and six D-3 riders, including Colorado rider Bobby Richards, 53, from Colorado Springs. The four-time Colorado State Champion (2000-03) last raced his No. 108 at Industry in 2016. The Junior Division had 12 riders—seven on 250cc bikes and five on mini 150cc rides.

SUPPORT MAINS: Rudy Laurer, 61, led all four laps from gate two in a four rider D-2 main. It was his fifth D-1 D-2 main victory at Industry this season on his Jawa 897. David Lynch, Brent Smith and Eloy Medellin followed. Medellin was a fall victim in a solo crash at turn three on the initial lap. He was excluded from the restart and limped to the pits. Ron Davis won the D-2 consy.

The six-rider D-3 handicapped start main went to Steve Brown, 59, who passed first two laps leader Bobby Richards on lap 3; he won for the first time this season after three second place finishes. Dentist David Newsham placed second with visiting Richards third. Dennis Osmer, Greg Willis and Kevin Fiore followed. On the initial lap Willis fell in the second turn. Then on the backstretch 20-yard line starters Osmer and Brown bikes collided, sending both riders to the dirt. All three downed riders made the complete restart.

JUNIORS: Jake Isaac led all the way from pole position in the 250cc main. Slater Lightcap, Alex Martin (from Salinas) and Luke Whitcomb followed. In a rarity, reigning AMA 250cc National Champion Sebastian Palmese missed the main event after not finishing one of his two heat races in which riders scored points.

Palmese won his first heat race. He caught the wall leaving turn four and did a scary-looking “get-off” the back of his bike, which flipped to the finish line. He quickly got up and walked to the infield uninjured. Palmese won the three-rider consolation race over Nor Cal's Greg Moore and Andrew Russell.

The 150cc main used a handicapped starting grid. Ten-yard line starters Nick Hohlbein, from Nor Cal, and Jose Navarette ran up front in both heats won by Hohlbein. In the main, Navarette grabbed an early lead and led all five laps over close follower Hohlbein. Levi Leutz placed third.

The race had to be restarted following a scary lap 3 crash in the first turn. Third through fifth place riders were in close proximity when P. 4 Owen Williams lost his balance and fell to his right. Outside runner Travis Horn, 10, was there and both bikes went down.

The two juniors did not rise for several minutes and EMTs came to their assistance. Williams walked from the scene, but 2018 AMA 150cc National Champion Horn rode on a gurney, sitting-up, to the ambulance parked outside turn three for further evaluation. He remained at the track and his father said later he was just shaken-up but OK.

Earlier, during event 22 for D-2 riders, Bruce Marteney was in mid-pack when he rode into the crash-wall hard exiting turn four. He remained on the ground for several minutes with EMTs evaluating his medical condition. He soon rose and limped to the pits and rested for the balance of the program.

PIT NOTES:

   > Regular Industry PA announcer Bruce Flanders, who battles COPD, was absent this week with the So Cal temps topping 100 degrees. Filling in on the mic again during week nine was regular Costa Mesa Speedway PA announcer Terry “Ike” Clanton. ... He made use of the “kiss camera” popular in major league sports. For the first time at Industry, the internet telecast TV camera outside the finish line captured images of fans in the grandstand and put them on the large screen above the third turn. Clanton said “Kiss cam” each time a new couple was spotlighted and they all obliged by kissing.

   > Industry will be dark next Wednesday, August 8 as teams prepare for the Saturday, August 11 round four of five for the 2018 AMA Speedway National Championship. Janniro has won the first three rounds at Rancho Cordova, Ventura and Santa Maria on July 28. The final round will be September 29 in Auburn. On Sunday, August 12 at noon Industry will host the annual Juniors only AMA/FIM Silver Cup event with free grandstand admission for spectators.

   > Janniro has booked flights south to race at Industry on August 11, 15, 22 and 25 in the 43rd California State Speedway Championship. His second child, a son, was born on March 7 and is doing well. Billy has missed weeks two through eight of Industry racing this year because of his commercial construction job at Nor Cal wineries. He has Denny Scopellite's GM bike based in Huntington Beach waiting for him at Industry whenever he flies south. In the past Billy drove south with his own Jawa secured in the back of his pickup truck.

   > Legends & Heroes Night: The 16-page Industry Speedway printed program was expanded this week to include additional pages for 37 photos of speedway legends with five or six photos per page. Fans used the program to have legends autograph on or near their photo. Missing this year was regular attendee Patrick “Tumbleweed” Walton, of Rancho Cucamonga. He passed away at age 64 on February 20.

   > There were 31 cardboard name cards placed on the row of tables for the autograph/photo session from 7:00 to 7:30 or so. I counted 25 legends present. Most of the 1960-80 era riders were present, but several legends could not attend. Other legends still active as rider (Bobby Schwartz) and officials (referee Steve Lucero, pit steward Ryan Evans, back from Europe where he caught some speedway racing), and PA announcer Clanton. Steve Martin was in the pits helping his 250cc junior rider son Alex prepare to race.

   > Legends signing autographs this year (with their speedway bike number in parenthesis) - from L to R in order were: Bill Cody (41), Tony Burba (17), Mike Konle (89), Jim Fishback (275), Scott Ormiston (9), Billy Meister (33), Sonny Nutter (19), Rob Morrison (342), Sammy Tanner (7), Scott Lee Daloisio (photos), Scott Sivadge (34 & 1960s 69-75), Jan Ballard (32 and 42), Greg Haserot (3), Dubb Ferrell (121), Doug Nicol (98), Denny Scopellite (259 & 37), Dean Foreman (225), Dave Sims (4), Dave Galvin (10), Dean York (138), Stu Egli (266), Bob Tocco (258), Pam “Pinky” Bennett (153 & currently 351 when she races in D-2), and Bobbi Hunter. Absentee legends with only placards representing them were: Rick Miller, and Bobby Hardison.