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Austin Novratil, 23, realized his long-time goal of winning a 500cc Division 1 main event at Industry Speedway in the Grand Arena. The Huntington Beach resident told listeners at pit gate sign-in that he had never won a 500cc D-1 feature at Industry despite seven years in the division. He finally checked that accomplishment off his bucket list Wednesday night in front of more than 500 spectators.

He said he has won many 250cc Industry main events as a Junior Division rider from 2002-10 and he likes Industry Speedway. He likes it even more now that he has captured that elusive first place hardware. He has won 500cc D-1 features at other tracks including Costa Mesa Speedway, where he won the Jack Milne Cup May 12 event. He also won 500cc D-1 mains at tracks in Auburn, Santa Maria, Ventura, Perris Raceway, and Pirate Speedway in San Bernardino.

Novratil became the fourth different 500cc D-1 feature winner in four weeks of the 2018 Industry Speedway season. It is the 15th continuous season of racing at the beautiful Industry Hills Expo Center Grand Arena eighth-mile indoor dirt track. It hosts speedway bike racing on Wednesday nights from late May through late August.

D-1 MAIN: Novratil started from the outside gate next to the crash-wall and shot into the lead on the first lap after racing into the first turn evenly with pole starter Dillon Ruml. Novratil emerged from the second turn on the outside with the lead.

However, he had to duplicate that impressive start a second time after lane two starter, third-running Jimmy Fishback III fell in turn four on the opening lap. Fishback slipped to the ground off the back and rose quickly. He was excluded by referee Steve Lucero from the complete restart because it was a one rider crash.

Novratil, on his Jawa frame, GM engine No. 7, duplicated his original start and again led the first lap over Aaron Fox, the gate three starter. Fox passed Ruml on the restarted first lap and pressed Novratil all four laps before settling for second place, one length back. Ruml was third, four lengths behind Fox. Fishback, the winner a week earlier, was fourth.


Russell Green, 26, led all the way in the penultimate race for third and fourth place riders in the two consolation races. Tim Gomes, 17-year old D-1 newcomer Chance Grove, from Foresthill near Auburn, and 61-year old past champion Bobby Schwartz followed.

Ten D-1 riders raced three heats for points (3-2-1-0). No riders scored a perfect nine points this week. Four riders—Ruml, Novratil, Fishback and Fox—scored eight points and all four transferred into the two semi-finals races. Ruml beat Fox in the first consy and Fishback edged Novratil in the second consy.


Four 1,000-cc sidecar teams raced this week. Two heats went to Bryan Motis/Blake Croncrite, who was substituting for injured Johnny Bach. Dillon Osborne/Ashley Gibbons won the second heat. Pole starter Motis drove his No. 2 2003 Yamaha R1 into the lead with an inside pass on lap 2 in turn two. Lap 1 leader Joe Jones/Tom Summers trailed in P. 2 by two lengths. Osborne/Gibbons finished a close third. The father/son team of Ace Kale and his swing-man Kevin did not start. They dropped out of heat two with an electrical problem that proved difficult to solve.


Rudy Laurer, 61, led all four laps on his Jawa 897 in the 500cc D-2 main. Eloy Medellin trailed by half a length. June 13 D-2 winner Hayley Perrault, Ron Davis, and Bruce Marteney followed in P. 3-5. The 500cc D-3 main event for newer riders had first-time winner David Newsham, 56, lead all four laps. The racing dentist from Crestline scored his first racing career triumph on his No. 111 Jawa. Last week's winner Dennis Osmer, Steve Brown and Greg Willis followed.


The 250cc main had Slater Lightcap, 12, out front all four laps. Jake Isaac, 15 won both heats but in the main was a close second. Nor Cal visitor Greg Moore, Andrew Russel and Luke Whitcomb followed in third through fifth.

The mini 150cc main for five laps used a handicapped start with four riders staged 10, 20 or 30 yards from the starting gate based upon prior experience. Gate starter Levi Leutz led every lap in the main as he did in both heat races. Maybe next week no riders will start from the gate. There were no 50cc pee-wees riders present this week.


   > Grandstand spectators this week included a group of 20 speedway racing fans from Great Britain. They came from Sheffield, England to see speedway racing in California at three tracks in eight days. Their charter bus was arranged by Travel Plus Tours and James Easter. They saw Friday, June 15 speedway racing at Fast Fridays Motorcycle Speedway in Auburn. Industry Speedway on Wednesday was stop two. They will travel north by bus on Saturday, June 23 to Ventura Raceway for the speedway program—round two of the four round California State Speedway Championship.

   > The BSA motorcycle owners Club of So Cal celebrated 40 years of existence with a display of BSA and Triumph motorcycles in the Grand Arena front courtyard.

   > Jake Isaac, of Whittier, pulled into the infield June 13 with a mechanical problem and did not start the feature. His dad Wayne was afraid that it was a costly blown engine. However, the problem was a collapsed sprocket and the repair cost only $30.

  > A report this week had So Cal 500cc D-1 winner Broc Nicol being signed to join the Sheffield team in the British Speedway League.

   > Two open-wheel car racers were in the grandstand at The Grand this week. USAC midget owner/driver Jerome Rodela, of El Monte, was present without his 7-year old daughter. Jerome said he won a recent BCRA Midget Series (Nor Cal) main event at the third-mile, paved Madera Speedway. He said he will have two of his No. 25 dirt track midgets for two hired guns at the November 21-22 USAC Turkey Night GP in Ventura. ... Former SCRA 410 sprint car publicity director Robert Mayson, of Orange County, was joined by his son Derek, 8, for their annual visit to speedway bike racing in The Grand.

   > Blake Cronkrite is a 23-year old (born 10/6/94) from Chino Hills who works as a HVAC foreman. He bought his 500cc 2006 Jawa from motocross racer Buddy Taylor and made his 500cc D-3 debut at Industry Hills during the March 10, 2018 Gumball Rally. On June 6 at Industry Blake won his two heats and the D-3 main by a straightaway. Officials moved him up to D-2 for June 13 and he placed third in the D-2 feature.

Cronkrite started racing in speedway events during 2017 as a sidecar swinger for Kevin Holman (No. 11) and Dillon Osborne (No. 64). His best 2017 sidecar results were seconds and fourths at tracks in Costa Mesa, Industry and Ventura. His role as the Bryan Motis No. 2 substitute swing-man for injured Johnny Bach was his first experience with Motis. They won a heat race and the main event in impressive rides. Success on a 500cc bike and as a sidecar swinger seem to be imminent for this personable young man.