September 2, 2023
Fast Friday’s Motorcycle Speedway
Michael Kirby Story and Photos
Championship racing is in full swing at Fast Friday’s Motorcycle Speedway in Auburn California. On Saturday night three AMA National Championships were awarded and three AMA number one plates were held high on the winners podium at nights end. At stake was the 2023 AMA Extreme Sidecar National Sidecar Championship and the 2023 AMA Youth National Speedway 150 and 250 championships. Twelve sidecar teams qualified for their championship and seven Youth 250 and seven Youth 150 riders were in the their championship hunts. It was a great night of racing in all divisions as each sidecar team and each youth rider gave it their all to stand on the winners podium a national champion.
Coming into the 2023 Extreme Sidecar championship 2022 AMA Extreme Sidecar National Champions Robert and Laurie Curry had a big target on their backs. Eleven other highly qualified sidecar teams were gunning for their title and ready to lay it all on the line to come away the holding the AMA number one plate.
The championship program put 12 teams in 12 heat races, four teams in each heat scoring three points for a win, two points for a second place finish, one point for a third place finish and zero for a fourth place finish. Points tallied in the 12 heats seeded the top three teams in the main national final and one team would advance to the main championship final by winning a last chance qualifier.
The team of Joe Jones and Tom Summers, the AMA National Sidecar Champions in 2021 were tied with the team of Kevin Kale and Johnny Glover were tied with 11 points each at the end of the 12 heat races and both earned a outright spot in the national final each dropping just one point off a perfect score. The team of Emil and Theo Ovrio also earned a spot in the national final with nine points through the heats. Filing the last spot was the current national champions Curry/Curry who came out on top in the last chance qualifier over the teams of Lawrence McNutt and Dana Miller, Jason Fritze and Michael Lehr and Wade Boyd.
For the entire night Jones and Summers made a statement that they were out for the championship and would not be denied winning their heat races convincingly except for the one second place finish. In the final championshp race they sat in lane two, in lane one was Kale/Glover, in lane three sat Ovrio/Ovrio and in lane four was the defending champs the Curry’s who had last choice of lanes. As the tapes went up again Jones/Summers got a good gate and let it be known that this was their night for the championship speeding to the lead never looking back. Kale/Glover finished second, the Curry’s third and Ovrio/Ovrio finished fourth.
For the Youth 250 and Youth 150 championships the top seven riders in each division rode six scratch heat races again scoring three points for a win, two for second place, one for third place and zero for a fourth place finish. The top two points winners automatically were seeded to the national main event and the other two spots were filled by the first and second place finishers in the last chance qualifier.
In the AMA Youth 250 National Championship the top two scorers were Darren Armbruster and Kensei Matsudaira each who scored eight points in the heat races and waited for the last chance qualifier to see who would join them in the final. The wait was not long and after the LCQ Levi Leutz and Nick Hohlbein who finished first and second joined them in the national final race for the championship. Out of lane one Armbruster who has worked his way up to this moment since beginning his racing career in 2019 had a great race taking the title. Matsudaira, who won the Youth 150 championship last season and on a 250cc bike for only the second time was second, Leutz was third and Hohlbein was fourth.
In the AMA 150 Youth National Championship Matthew Wright was the high points winner through the heats and secured a spot in the championship final along with Ryder Schultz who finished with six points. Both the Rearick brothers Wesley and Riley came out on top in the last chance qualifier with Wesley first and Riley second and after an emergency engine swap on Riley’s bike they rolled out for the championship final. Out of lane one, which Schultz had the pick, he took off and had a great race leading for most of the race and winning the championship. Riley Rearick made a last-ditch effort to catch the future national champion but fell short and settled for second place. Wesley Rearick was third and Wright was fourth.
It was another fantastic night of championship racing at Fast Fridays as the AMA National Championship plates were handed out on the winner’s podium. No races on Saturday September 9 because of the Gold Country Fair but racing continues on September 16 with the third and final round of the AMA National Speedway Championship Series.
Fast Fridays Results for 9-2-23
2023 AMA Extreme National Sidecar Championship
1-Joe Jones/Tom Summers, 2-Kevin Kale/Johnny Glover, 3-Robert Curry/Laurie Curry, 4-Emil Ovrio/Theo Ovrio, 5-Lawrence McNutt, 6-Jason Fritze/Michael Lehr, 7-Wade Boyd/Eric Lindauer, 8-Peter Konrad/Eddie Konrad, 9-Symlie Kinne/Chuck Heider, 10-Ace Kale/Brent Smith
Youth 250 Championship
1-Darren Armbruster, 2-Kensei Matsudaira, 3-Levi Leutz, 4-Nick Hohlbein
Youth 150 Championship
1-Ryder Schultz, 2-Riley Rearick, 3-Wesley Rearick, 4-Matthew Wright