Fast Friday’s Motorcycle Speedway
Gold Country Fairgrounds
Season Finale USA vs. The World
By Michael Kirby (Story & Photos)
AUBURN, CALIFORNIA, October 13, 2018
Did anyone know that Fast Friday’s Motorcycle Speedway was saving the best for last? Saturday night at the Gold Country Fairgrounds in Auburn Fast Fridays closed their 2018 season with an epic night of speedway racing, one of the most exciting in recent memory with their USA vs. The World finale. Owner David Joiner put together one heck of a 2018 World team that were able to beat the USA team 57-52, redeeming themselves a little and putting the 18-year ongoing international grudge match tally at 12 USA wins to six World wins. The last World win was in 2015.
With five of the six World team members traveling from overseas along with USA rider Carlos Venegas this year’s version of the World Team let it be known early on in the evening that they would be no pushovers. Joining Venegas on the international squad were Peter Ljung of Sweden, Sam Masters of Australia, Mikkel Bech and Mikkel Michelsen of Denmark and Martin Smolinski of Germany, all world class professional racers in Europe.
This year’s USA team were no lightweights, led by nine-time AMA USA National Champion Billy Janniro the USA team was looking for their 13th win in the series. Also, on the team top competitors Bart Bast, Ryan Bast, Aaron Fox, Russell Green and Tommy Hedden all skillful and experienced riders rounded out a tough team. The night was filled with fun and joking between the teams which included USA world team member Carlos Venegas presenting his team with cowboys’ hats as a welcome to the foothills gift. But after the introductions were finished and the first teams rolled to the start line it was on and it got real serious real fast.
The team’s riders were paired and points were scored three points for a first-place finish, two points for a second-place finish, one point for a third-place finish and zero points for a fourth place. The team with the most points at the end of eighteen scratch heats would have one year’s worth of bragging rights until next October when the rivalry continues.
The USA put the hammer down in the first race with Janniro and Ryan Bast scoring a combined five points to the World’s Ljung and Master’s one point. At the end of three heats the USA led 10-6. In the second round the World pulled ahead 20-16 with a powerful heat five from Smolinski and Venegas who also combined for five points against Fox and Green. In round three with the USA down six points team manager Sam Ermolinko put Janniro in for Tommy Hedden in heat nine trying to double Janniro points with the savvy move. It backfired a little as Janniro had trouble with the duo of Danes-Bech and Michelsen who combined for five points giving the World its biggest lead at 32-23.
The USA came to life in round four with a much-needed one-two punch in heat 10 again with Janniro and Ryan Bast delivering the five points finishing the round back in the game at 35-32 with the World still leading. The Danes, Michelsen and Bech, again hit the USA team hard in heat 13 with five points, increasing their lead to 50-41 a lead they would hold for the evening. In the last round the USA combined for eleven points breathing some life back into the team. Also, in round six The World’s Ljung fell in heat 17, unable to finish, leaving the World with just seven points in that round but enough to hold on the lead and finish 57-52.
Janniro led all riders with 16 points including the Joker extra point. Smolinski led the World and was second with 15 points. “What can I say, I have been here a couple of times, we had a very good team performance out there this year. It is always great to be able to race with Billy (Janniro). We really appreciate the full house tonight,” said Smolinski. With cowboy hats on the World team stood high on the winner’s podium popping the champagne, smiles all around. There were no hard feelings between riders on either team, just handshakes and high fives for a great evening of speedway racing.
Rounding out the evening was the Youth 150cc and Youth 250cc programs. In one of the most exciting Youth 250cc races in track history Cameron Krezman and Anthony Dion had the near capacity crowd on their feet as the boys were neck and neck for the entire four laps of their main event. Krezman held on just barely with Dion just inches away including a last second serge by Dion at the tapes for the win. Auburn’s Colton Nelson won the Youth 150cc main event.
2018 USA vs. The World Results
The World 57 USA 52
Series Total USA 12 wins/The World 6 wins
The World 57
Martin Smolinski (Germany) 13 3 3 3 1 2-15
Mikkel Michelsen (Denmark) 3 2 3 0 3 3-14
Sam Masters (Australia) 1 3 3 1 3 2-13
Mikkel Bech (Denmark) 0 1 2 2 2 0-7
Carlos Venegas (USA) 1 2 0 0 2 0-5
Peter Ljung (Sweden) 0 1 1 0 1 0-3
Billy Janniro 3 3 2 (1+1) 2 1 3-16
Aaron Fox 1 0 2 3 3 3 -12
Bart Bast 2 2 0 1 2 1-8
Ryan Bast 2 0 1 3 0 1-7
Russell Green 2 1 0 1 0 1-5
Tommy Hedden 0 0 0 2 0 2-4
Youth 250cc Main Event
1-Cameron Krezman, 2-Anthony Dion, 3-Kyle Cunningham
Youth 150cc Main Event
1-Colton Nelson, 2-Nick Holbein, 3-Kaytie Kangas