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Max Ruml Wins Second Main at Industry Speedway

Max Ruml Wins Second Main at Industry Speedway
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ndustry, CA., Jun. 21 – Max Ruml. 20, won his second AMA Speedway bike main event Wednesday in week four of 14 at Industry Speedway. He switched from the Jawa he rode to victory on June 7. This week he used his 500cc GM (Giuseppe Marzatto of Italy). The Grand Arena at Industry Hills Expo Center had 710 spectators enter through the front gate and 89 more through the pit gate to watch 33 events of multi-division speedway bike racing only. Sidecars will return next Wednesday.
 
There were 14 first division riders present. Two riders—Austin Novratil and Mike Bloom—blew their engines. Austin did not compete and Mike raced in only one heat. Four usual 500cc D-1 riders were absent this week. Broc Nicol, Gino Manzares, Dillon Ruml and Luke Becker, the US National first round winner at Ventura Raceway last Saturday, are members of Team USA in the World Team Cup Championship. They are in Europe for those upcoming events.
 
“Mad” Max was the high-point competitor with a perfect nine points after three rounds of heat races. He started on the outside next to the crash-wall and led all four laps in his semi-final event. As high-point rider, he had lane choice and selected the inside (pole) position for the feature. Aaron Fox used the pole to lead all four laps in the other semi-final and chose the outside lane for the feature. That was just the opposite from their semi-final starting spots.
 
At the start, inside-running Ruml and outside-running Fox were even in the second turn. Ruml pulled away leaving turn two and led all four circuits. Fox continued pressing to the finish and trailed by two lengths. Bob Hicks, from Auburn, came from lane two and ran third all four laps. He trailed the runner-up by four lengths. Tim Gomez started from lane three and ran fourth every lap; he trailed Hicks by four lengths. Racing concluded at 9:32 pm, earliest at Industry in recent memory.
 
Gomez finished second to Ruml in the first semi-final race. Tyson Talkington and Brad Sauer trailed in P. 3-4. Hicks trailed Fox in the second semi and edged challenging Gage Geist for the final ticket to the feature. Shaun Harmatiuk placed fourth. Fox and Geist tied at eight points in heat racing. Sauer and Harmatiuk tied for seventh place with three points each and made the top eight in points. So they advanced to the two semi-mains.
 
SUPPORT DIVISIONS: Eloy Medellin, a 47-year old former US Marine, started from pole position and led every lap of the 500cc D-2 main on his lay-down, long-stroke Jawa. It was his second consecutive victory at Industry. Rick Valdez, Rudy Laurer and Bruce Marteney followed.
 
Kevin Fife, 47, also started from pole position and led every lap en-route to his 500cc D-3 feature for newer riders. Mike Miller, the June 14 D-3 winner, followed closely. George Yates and newcomer Kevin Fiore took third and fourth. The D-3 division now has three winners in three races.
 
JUNIORS: The five-rider Junior 250cc feature went to 2016 AMA Junior National Champion Sebastian Palmese, 13. He fell on the first lap in turn one with Sara Cords, 17, also hitting the dirt. Both made the complete restart. Palmese, the June 7 Industry winner, led every lap over June 14 winner and Auburn resident Carson Hicks, 15. Jake Isaac, Cords in pink-leathers, and Michael Wells finished third through fifth.
 
Jose Navarette, 7, gave himself an early birthday present. He would turn eight Saturday and started from the 10-yard line in a five-rider handicapped start for the 5-lap 150cc feature. He led every lap. Glenn Geist and Luke Whitcomb started 20-yards from the gate and finished second and third. Gate starter Andrew Russell fell in turn four, remounted and placed fourth. Levi Leutz stalled at the gate on the original start. He was in P. 4 on lap 3 when he fell in the second turn and went to the infield.
 
PEE-WEES: The five rider 50cc pee-wee division main event went to Ken Matsudaira, 6, for the second week in a row. He led the final three laps after passing early leader Connor Salazar. Past winner Owen Williams, from the 20-yard line, also passed Salazar and was a close second when starter Tom Fox waved the checkered flag. Two girls in their first season finished fourth and fifth. P. 4 Dakota Black, 6, finished on the lead lap in her two heats and the main.
 
Penny Hall, 4, wanted to race after seeing a pee-wee event. Her family bought a used Yamaha 50 and she rode her first laps at Industry. The shy youngster from Monrovia was lapped on her first lap by the leaders in her two heat races and the main event. However, she stayed next to the infield and upright in each race. She ran to mom smiling after her first race. Penny turned four three months ago on March 26 and is undoubtedly the youngest speedway racer on earth. She uses No. 313 for the month and year of her birth.
 
PIT NOTES: AMA flat track great Sammy Tanner, of Fontana, received a telephone call Wednesday, June 21 and learned that 1960-70s AMA TT rider Skip Van Leeuwen (12/20/38-6/21/17) had died from cancer that morning. Skip, a then Bellflower resident, started racing Triumphs in 1962. He raced right/left turn steeplechase (TT) races on a No. 59 Triumph. He won four AMA National TTs from 1967-69, including two at his home track—Ascot Park in Gardena. He also raced in the Daytona Beach 200 and other road races.
 
Skip was best friends with fellow AMA Pros the late Dick Hammer (No. 16) and “the Flyin' Flea” Tanner, now 78. Skip retired from racing in 1972 to operate his successful motorcycle accessories business. He was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1999. Skip was a participant at the annual Industry Speedway “Legends & Heroes Night” and each year signed autographs for fans with other motorcycle greats. That event will be August 2 this year. Details for his funeral on Saturday, June 24 were being arranged by his family.
 
D-1 500cc veteran Brad Sauer, 47, from Bakersfield, raced for the third time this season at Industry. The Coors salesman scored three points with third place rides in his three heats. He finished third and Bobby Schwartz fourth in round three (event 17) and that one point was the difference in making a semi-final over “Boogaloo” Schwartz, who scored two points in his three rides.
 
Brad said his son Braden, who was seriously injured in a backstretch fall in a July 1, 2015 race at Industry Speedway, is now back to normal. He recovered from partial paralysis of his legs for the second time after a racing accident. Braden, 20, had won a D-2 500cc main event at Industry one week prior to his serious injury. He seemed destined for elevation to D-1 status. Brad said Braden is now living and working in Ventura and rides, but does not race any longer.
 
Industry Speedway announcer Bruce Flanders was absent for the second week in a row. He also missed his Saturday, June 17 announcing duties at Irwindale Speedway. Tommy Mason and Jeffrey Best handled the mic at Irwindale in Bruce's absence. Everyone wishes Bruce, an ex-speedway bike racer himself, a speedy return to good health. Terry “Ike” Clanton, the Costa Mesa Speedway announcer, ably filled in for Bruce at Industry for the second week. Ike is a distant relative of the Clanton brothers, who had the famous 1881 gunfight with Wyatt Earp and his brothers and Doc Holiday at the OK Corral in Tombstone, Arizona.
 
Dillon Ruml was present June 21 in the Industry pits to watch Max race but he did not race. Ike interviewed him. The 18-year old June 14 D-1 feature winner had an early flight June 22 to Europe to join the rest of Team USA. Other team riders flew out Sunday, June 18 after racing in Ventura Saturday night.
 
An extended family was among the new paying spectators in the Industry Speedway grandstands this week. IHOP Restaurant in Covina waitress Jennifer and her six-month old son Thomas, plus her dad and mom and other family members sat near turn one. It was their first time at Industry Speedway, an annual June through August speedway motorcycle racing venue since 2003. They said they really loved the racing and will return soon for more speedway racing action.