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Nor Cal invader Billy Janniro, 37, drove south Saturday to Industry Speedway with his father as co-driver and pit-man and with his two Jawa 500cc bikes in the back of his pickup truck. He conquered his So Cal rivals on their home turf. The multi-time National and California State Champion raced in seven races and led 26 of the 28 laps he rode. He won all five of his heat races, his semi-final, and the 42nd annual California State Speedway Championship.

More than 1,200 persons watched the final scheduled race this year at the modern Grand Arena of the Industry Hills Expo Center. As usual, all events were telecast live on the Internet. Industry Racing Director Kelly Inman said more than 11,000 hits were recorded on the Internet feed this week for the championship event. He said Industry weekly speedway racing telecasts usually draw 2,000 to 6,000 viewers.

Janniro did not race in the 41st California State Speedway Championship. His impressive performance Saturday earned his fifth California State Championship. His other championship years were 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014. The muscular rider from Napa also has won seven AMA US National Speedway Championships from 2008-16 and four US National Speedway titles from 2004-11.


The four feature riders from a field of 16 speedway racing pros lined up at the starting gate from the inside to outside lane as follows: Aaron Fox, Max Ruml, Broc Nicol and high-point-man Janniro, who selected his starting spot first. Janniro broke free of the tight pack on the outside leaving the second turn on the first lap and led all four circuits.

The four riders remained in a tight pack all four laps with Fox pressing Janniro. On the final lap Nicol took second from Fox via an outside power-pass in the third and fourth turns. Ruml then shot under Fox leaving the fourth corner and beat him to the finish line for third place. Fox went from a close second to fourth position in the final third of the last lap.

Janniro won by one length over Nicol in a two-wide finish. California State 2016 Champion Ruml trailed 2016 California State Championship runner-up Nicol by three lengths and finished a length ahead of surprised Fox. Ruml is the 2016 and 2017 Industry Speedway track champion.

HEATS: After five rounds of heats with the usual 3-2-1-0 scoring system, Janniro was alone atop the points with a perfect 15 points. Next was Nicol with 14. Only Nicol (event 4) and veteran Shawn McConnell (event 10) led a lap over Janniro in heat races. Nicol started alongside Janniro in the two middle lanes of event four during the first round and led lap 1. On lap 2 Janniro made a breathtaking inside dive-bomb pass entering the third turn to take the lead for good. He defeated hard-charger Nicol by a length.

Nine of the 16 riders plus one reserve (D-2 track champion Rudy Laurer) scored heat race victories in their five heat race rides. The 20 total race winners were:

   > 5 – Janniro;

  > 4 – Nicol;

   > 3 – Fox;

   > 2 – Manzares and M. Ruml;

   > 1 – Burmeister, Novratil, Talkington and Venegas.

After five rounds M. Ruml, Gino Manzares and Fox were tied at 11 points. Austin Novratil and recently un-retired Tyson Burmeister deadlocked at nine points. Charlie Venegas and Dillon Ruml tied at eight points for the eighth and final semi-final starting berth. Venegas, making his first start of the season at Industry Speedway following an injury, won the tie-breaker by finishing higher than D. Ruml in their heat race (event 3-Venegas placed second and Ruml third).

Other riders and their point totals were: 5 points - Shawn McConnell, Bobby Schwartz and Tyson Talkington; 4 pts. - Samuel Ramirez; 3 pts – Shaun Harmatuik; 2 pts. - Brad Sauer; 0 pts. - Mike Bloom and reserve Rudy Laurer (one ride in round four after McConnell gate foul exclusion).

FIRST SEMI-FINAL After the fifth and final track maintenance break for the IHEC tractor to regrade the dirt surface, high-point rider Janniro selected the outside lane. He led all four laps over inside lane starter M. Ruml in event 28. Middle lane starters Novratil and Burmeister followed closely. There was no consolation race for third and fourth place semi-final finishers.

SECOND SEMI-FINAL: Nicol, the second highest rider in heat race points, also picked the outside lane next to the wall. He duplicated Janniro's flag-to-flag ride out-front in event 29. Fox, from pole position, placed second with Manzares third. Venegas anticipated the start trying to gain an edge. He broke through starting gate tapes and by rule was excluded. During the riders pit meeting, riders were told how many seconds would elapse between the green light going on and the starting gate rising.

The four D-1 500cc first division riders had ten minutes to prepare their bikes for the feature (event 32). The two other California State Junior Championships for 150cc and 250cc riders were run as events 30 and 31. There were nine 150cc competitors who raced in four heats for points that advanced the top four riders to their main event. All four 250cc riders present raced in two heats, but all four youngsters ran in their feature.

250cc MAIN: The 250cc feature followed two heats won by Jake Isaac, 15, and Sterling Martin. In the feature, Isaac led all the way over close Nor Cal (Newcastle) rider Cameron Krezman, 14, who trailed by four lengths. S. Martin trailed the runner-up by two lengths with his 12-year old twin Alex fourth, three lengths in back of his twin.

Isaac finished fourth in the Sunday afternoon, August 13 Junior 250cc Silver Cup feature to just miss receiving a top three trophy. On Saturday, the Whittier teenager earned the largest of three 250cc trophies and the top step on the podium. He became the 2017 California State 250cc Champion. Second and third place riders also received their trophies at the finish line podium presentations at 10 pm. Confetti shot from a cannon rained down on podium riders after all three trophy presentations.

150cc MAIN: Slater Lightcap, celebrated his 12th birthday, by leading all the way in the feature and winning his third race of the night on his Shupa. He also won the 150cc Silver Cup Championship on Sunday afternoon, August 13 during the fifth annual Silver Cup Championships for Junior Division riders. The Huntington Beach resident added the 2017 150cc California State Championship to his growing list of accomplishments.

Luke Whitcomb, 11, won both of his heats also Saturday in the four heat race format for 150cc riders. The Anaheim youngster finished three lengths in back of Lightcap. Former 50cc pee-wee many-time feature winner Travis Horn, 8, placed third and also received a trophy on the podium at the finish line. Owen Williams, 10, finished fourth. Other 150cc riders who raced in heats were: Justin Almon, Levi Leutz, Jose Navarette, Andrew Russell and Gordon Teuber III.


The 12-page Industry Speedway color program, distributed free to spectators and racers, had two pages containing recent head-shot photos of all riders, plus two pages of action photos at The Grand . It also had two pages of pre-printed race lineups for all three divisions in action Saturday. 


Racing Director Kelly Inman also remembered the late Carol Perez, IHEC operations executive, who died unexpectedly last September. She was a strong supporter of Industry racing and especially junior divisions racing. Gina Horn, mother of 150cc junior Travis Horn, has printed the Industry program (about 500 to 750) each week and deserves the thanks of everyone.

Final 2017 Industry Speedway 500cc rider point standings:

             Division 1                              Division 2

  1. Max Ruml            346.5        1. Rudy Laurer      65.5

  2. Aaron Fox             312          2. David Lynch     49

  3. Dillon Ruml           211           3. Ron Davis        44.5

  4. Broc Nicol            173

  5. Gino Manzares     157

  6. Gage Geist          145.5                      

  7. Austin Novratil      136.5             Division 3 

  8. Shawn McConnell 101            1. Kevin Fife         62

  9. Bob Hicks             84.5           2. George Yates  54.5

  10. Luke Becker          84             3. Brent Smith     53

D-2 500cc rider No. 170 Hayley Perrault fell hard in the third turn Wednesday, August 16. She and her parents were in the Industry Speedway grandstand Saturday watching the California State Championship event. Her right arm was in a sling. She received a broken clavicle and bruised hip. It was a clean break and did not require surgery. Hayley, 20, said she is attending Orange Coast Jr. College in Costa Mesa and taking EMT courses.

Billy Janniro raced at Fast Fridays Speedway in Auburn Friday night, August 25. He won the handicapped main and finished second to Bart Bast in the scratch main. He also won the Challenge Elimination Championship. He and his dad drove to So Cal Saturday from about 8 am to 4 pm. After the Industry 10 pm trophy presentation, Billy loaded his equipment and two Jawa bikes in the back of his ratty-looking 1969 GMC pickup truck. He explained the truck has a new engine and transmission and is very reliable.

Billy, who looks a lot like muscular AMA Flat Track Champion and 2017 point leader Jared Mees, said his wife Cristina and daughter Gracie, 7, were not present at Industry. Gracie raced a 50cc pee-wee bike at Industry once in 2015 and once this year in the February Gum Ball event “because daddy does it.” Billy said he just found out Gracie will be having a sibling in 2018.

Despite the reported heat wave in So Cal over the weekend, it was pleasant in the covered Grand Arena for riders and spectators. It was 108 in Inland Empire counties, but 88 degrees in the tree-shaded pits at 6:30 pm. It was 79 during racing at 8:00 and still 72 following the races at 10 pm during the well-attended trophy presentations on the front straight.

Attendance for the 42nd annual California State Speedway Championship was about the same as last year for the event on the final Wednesday of August. Industry Speedway had to go against the well-publicized Las Vegas match between boxer Floyd Mayweather and MMA's Conor Mc Gregor. Additionally, the NFL LA Rams were hosting the LA Chargers at the LA Memorial Coliseum; the first place/dominant LA Dodgers were hosting Milwaukee, and the LA Angels (close to the second wild card playoff berth) were in action only 20-miles south on the 57 Freeway. All of these games were live on TV opposite Industry racing. Couple those events with USAC-CRA sprint cars racing in Perris (50 miles east) and it was a busy Saturday night.

The 2017 Industry Speedway season from May 31 to August 26 is now complete. There is one tentative new race date at the track for Saturday night, October 14. It has the approval of the Industry city council, but remains tentative according to Industry's Racing Director Kelly Inman. It is a proposed combined Under Age 21 Juniors National Championship coupled with a 1,000cc National Sidecar Championship.