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The sixth annual AMA/FIM Speedway Silver Cup Championships for 250cc and 150cc speedway bike riders took place Sunday afternoon from 12:30 to 3:00 pm at Industry Speedway, an eighth-mile dirt track at the Industry Hills Expo Center. Champions crowned were So Cal's Sebastian Palmese (250cc) and Nor Cal's Colton Nelson (150cc).

It was the third consecutive 250cc Silver Cup triumph for Palmese, the reigning and three-time 250 National Champion from Rancho Santa Margarita. It was the initial 150cc Silver Cup victory for Nelson, 11, from Auburn. He started racing speedway bikes four years ago at Fast Fridays Motorcycle Speedway on the Gold Country Fairgrounds in Auburn. He won the 150cc Gumball Rally event at Industry in February, 2017.

The roof of the indoor track in the Grand Arena, which has open sides, protected everyone from the 91-degree heat. Breezes kept competitors, their families and friends in the free admission grandstand cool while watching hot racing on the track. There were 22 junior division riders competing. The 250cc division had 13 riders (9 Nor Cal and 4 So Cal), while the 150cc division had nine riders (6 So Cal and 3 Nor Cal).

Industry Speedway Racing Director Kelly Inman and the late IHEC executive Carol Perez championed the AMA/FIM Silver Cup to encourage and develop junior riders who will eventually graduate to racing in 500cc divisions. Corporate and individual sponsors help make the event successful each year. Cash disbursements to junior riders this year totaled an estimated $3,500 according to Inman.

Riders accumulated points in the usual manner (3-2-1-0) during four rounds consisting of 22 heat races. Two semi-finals for the eight high-point 250cc riders sent the top two riders in each semi to the main event. The 150cc advanced only the four high-point riders to the 150cc feature. Five to seven-feet trophies were awarded to the first three finishers in each main event during 3:00 pm award ceremonies in the pits.

250cc SEMIs: Palmese, who celebrated his 15th birthday on August 3, won all four of his heats for the maximum 12 points. He started the feature from pole position. Landon Norton, 14, from Citrus Heights, won twice and had a pair of seconds to tally his ten points. He started from lane two, ran second all four laps, and trailed by four lengths at the finish. Palmese and Norton won both semi-finals.

Jake Isaac, 16, from Whittier, and Anthony Dion, 16, from Grass Valley, were runners-up in the two semis to also make the feature. Timmy Dion, 14, from Grass Valley, and Dylan Wagner, 14, from Napa, placed third and fourth in the first semi. P. 3 and 4 riders in the second semi were Kyle Cunningham, 14, from Auburn, and Slater Lightcap, 12, from Huntington Beach. Both riders dropped out on lap 2 with mechanical problems.

150cc MAIN: (Event 25): Colton Nelson, was the high-point rider (11 points) after three wins and a second place during his four heats. Levi Leutz, 9, from Yucaipa, scored ten points via two heat wins and two seconds. Nelson led all four laps for his convincing Silver Cup trophy that towered over him by several feet on the podium. He also received an envelope with the winner's share of the 150cc cash disbursement.

Jose Navarette, 9, from Fontana, took second place on lap 3 and trailed Nelson by eight lengths. He held his four-month old niece on the podium for a posed family photo. Owen Williams, 11, from Costa Mesa, took third spot on lap 3 when former P. 2 rider Leutz went high in the third and fourth turns and lost two positions.

250cc MAIN: (Event 26): The final race of the afternoon was all Palmese. He led all four laps from the pole on his 250 GM. Nor Cal's Landon Norton trailed by four lengths. Isaac ran third all four laps. Older brother A. Dion, had the outside lane. When the starting gate lifted Dion's front wheel also rose quickly, dumping him off the back of the bike just past the starting line. He injured his right hip but pushed his bike to the infield and missed the restart. He watched post-race award ceremonies.

INJURIES: During heat 9 for 150cc, Travis Horn, 10, from La Verne, was in mid-pack on the initial lap when his bike buckled, ejecting him over the front bars. He landed hard on his left shoulder and wrist and remained on the ground for several minutes before rising. EMTs took him on a gurney to the ambulance parked outside turn three. He remained at the track, but did not race again and wore a sling while watching the awards presentations. A similar crash at the same spot two weeks ago injured his other shoulder.

After finishing third in the first 250cc semi-final Timmy Dion, 14, entered the first turn following the checkered flag. His front wheel caught the cushion wrong and he took a header over the handlebars and landed hard. He soon walked from the track to the pits and watched his brother Anthony in the next race.

A crash sent two riders to the ground simultaneously in the second 250 semi-final (event 24). Lane two and three starters Kyle Cunningham and Slater Lightcap collided on lap 1 entering the first turn. Both riders remained on the ground briefly before rising and restarting the event. ... Additionally, Landon Collins (No. 91) had a “get-off' the back of his bike at the starting gate in event 13. He was unhurt but was excluded from the restart.


250cc - Riders ages ranged from 12 to 16: (4 heat wins)- Palmese; (2 wins)- Norton, Isaac, A. Dion and Cunningham; (1 win)- T. Dion.

150cc – Riders ages ranged from 9 to 12: ( 3 heat wins)- Nelson; (2 wins)- Leutz; (1 win)- Almon, Navarette, Charlie Trana and Williams).

POINTS: 250cc: 12- Palmese; 10- Norton; 9- Isaac, Cunningham; 8- A. Dion; 7- T. Dion; 6- Wagner; 5- Lightcap; 4- Landon Collins, Cameron Krezman; 3- Alex Martin; 1- Andrew Russell; 0- Greg Moore.

150cc: 11- Nelson; 10- Leutz; 8- Navarette, Williams; 7- Charlie Trana; 4- Gordon Teuber III; 3- Justin Almon; 2- Travis Horn; 1- Nick Hohlbein.


In addition to huge first, second and third place trophies in both 250cc and 150cc divisions, several traditional Silver Cup awards were presented to riders in both divisions. Ceremonies, presided over by Kelly Inman, lasted 15 minutes and allowed teams from Nor Cal to get on I-5 for the long trip home at a reasonable hour. Some riders had to return to school on Tuesday. Awards presented were:

  > The grin award -- to Owen Williams for always smiling and being happy no matter how he finishes. 
  > The save of the day award – to Slater Lightcap.
  > The first last lap award - to Nick Hohlbein. 9, from Roseville.
  > The garbage can award – to Greg Moore, who scored no points in his four races.
  > Hard charger plate award – to Landon Collins.
  > The edge plate award – to Timmy Dion.
  > The gold hand award – to Dylan Wagner (nephew of Billy Janniro) “who had some lousy heat race draws” based on the less than usual 16 rider Grand Prix format fields in both divisions this year.


Year        250cc            150cc D-1                150cc D-2                      Riders

2013    Luke Becker    Sebastian Palmese    Sterling Martin                  28

           Broc Nicol       Courtney Crone          Logan Hedden

           Kurtis Hamill    Maverick Molloy          Sam Hagon

           Dillon Ruml       Dylan Wagner           Slater Lightcap


2014   Dillon Ruml        Sterling Martin           Keelan Venegas               29

          Kurtis Hamill      Sebastian Palmese    Luke Whitcomb

          Braydon Galvin   Slater Lightcap           Dakota Shockley

          Luke Becker        Alex Martin               Cameron Krezman


2015   Colton Hicks        Sterling Martin           Sam Hagon                    32

        Sebastian Palmese Slater Lightcap         Timmy Dion

         Kyle Cunningham   Alex Martin              Greg Moore

         Jake Isaac              Landon Collins         Dakota Shockley


2016 Sebastian Palmese  Sterling Martin         Glenn Geist                      31

        Jake Isaac              Enzo Soriani            Sammy Waddell

       Colton Hicks           Alex Martin                Travis Horn

       Michael Wells         Slater Lightcap          Jose Navarette


                                 (150cc D-1 and D-2 were combined into one division in 2017)


2017 Sebastian Palmese                  Slater Lightcap                               25

       Kyle Cunningham                      Luke Whitcomb

        Anthony Dion                           Travis Horn

       Jake Isaac                                Enzo Soriani


2018 Sebastian Palmese                  Colton Nelson                                 22

        Landon Norton                          Jose Navarette

        Jake Isaac                                Owen Williams

        Anthony Dion                            Levi Leutz



   > Racing officials Sunday for the Silver Cup junior championships were the same as a night earlier for round four of the AMA National Championship series. They were: racing director Kelly Inman, referee Steve Lucero, starter Tom Fox, pit steward Ryan Evans, plus scorers Lisa Inman and Anna Venegas. Track PA announcer was Bruce Flanders.

   > D-1 500cc pros Max Ruml plus Charlie Venegas and his son Keelan were in the pits at Industry Sunday helping all juniors who could benefit from their expertise.

   > Missing riders from the 2017 Silver Cup were: Luke Whitcomb, Sara Cords, Enzo Soriani, Sterling Martin and Cole Ayers.

   > 150cc feature winner Colton Nelson was born on 4/7/07. His due date was April 5 so he was two days overdue. Asked why he uses No. 45 on his racing bike, he replied that is the day his birth was expected—4/5. He also has the nickname “Colt 45” to signify that date.

   > The Martin family from Salinas came to Industry Speedway again this year. Only Alex, now 13, raced in the 250cc class. His twin brother Sterling, a four-time Silver Cup winner during the first four events, has taken a sabbatical from racing this season. His plans for 2019 are indefinite according to his dad Steve, a former speedway 500cc rider in the 1980s.

   > Junior riders who raced in Europe this year included Palmese who raced a 250 cc GM in FIM Speedway Youth World Championship 250cc events in Gdansk, Poland and in Prague, Czech Republic.  His experience against world class competition his own age has improved his already impressive racing talent. Sebastian said he plans to race a 500cc next season. Watch out D-3 and D-2 riders, another “young gun” is following in the footsteps of the Ruml brothers, Luke Becker, Colton Hicks, Michael Wells, and Russell Green.

   > Current 500cc D-1 star Luke Becker has raced this season in Europe for the Stel Rzeszow team in Poland. California speedway riders are in demand.

   > Corporate sponsors listed on the printed race program back cover included: Lucas Oil, Pro-Long, Justice Brothers Car Care Products, NGK, and G & S Electric. Riders donating to their future competitors development were: Max Ruml, Luke Becker, Colton Hicks, and Enzo Soriani.