September 16, 2023
Fast Friday’s Motorcycle Speedway
Michael Kirby Story and Photos
It was his to lose. Max Ruml came into the third round of the 2023 AMA National Speedway Grand Final six points ahead of Broc Nicol and 15 points ahead of 11-time 2022 AMA National Speedway Champion Billy Janniro and Louie Mersaroli. Barring any mishap that might take him out the championship it was Ruml’s. Ruml had a wonderful night riding high and confident dropping only two points, one to Nicol in heat eight and one in the grand final to Janniro. These were the only missteps that could be attributed to Ruml as he earned his second AMA National Speedway Championship. He lost the 2022 AMA National Speedway Championship to Janniro by just one point.
Ruml, a veteran speedway racer since he began his career in 2008, turned professional in 2013 has a list of speedway accomplishments that puts him in a very special class of racers. Ruml began the championship series losing by one point to his brother Dillon Ruml in round one in Bakersfield, then won the second round in City of Industry carding a perfect 21 points. Then on to Fast Fridays and the final round.
Ruml of course had a giant target on his back but let’s be real about the chances of this skilled veteran dropping many points or making many mistakes. Before the racing was over Saturday night Ruml had enough points to be declared the 2023 national champion but he was also was gunning for winning the third round. The way it works in the three rounds riders race heat races scoring points for each ride, three for a win, two for second place, one for a third-place finish and zero for fourth place. All the points scored in the rounds go toward the championship but the high scorer for each round wins that round. Saturday night the riders rode in 20 heat races scoring points and racing at least once against each other. At the end of the heat races the top eight riders are seeded in two semi-final races with the top two finishers in each semi-final earning a spot in the Grand Final which the winner would win the round regardless of total points scored.
In semi-final one Ruml and Mersaroli finished one and two and both transferred to the Grand Final along with Janniro and Dillon Ruml who also transferred to the final with Janniro finishing first and Dillon Ruml second. So, the stage was set, Max Ruml had already won the 2023 AMA National Speedway Championship but was out to also win the third round of the championship series.
After a lengthy period of inspection of the lane dirt and choosing lane positions Max Ruml choose lane one. Brother Dillon choose lane two, Mersaroli had lane three and outside Janniro ended up with lane four. As the tapes went up Max Ruml got a good gate and took an inside line and Janniro got a good gate also but took the outside line he likes so much. Going a little wider than he might have liked and in a rare occurrence sled out near the rear wheel Dillon Ruml in lap two. The race was halted by referee Steve Lucerco and called back without an exclusion for a restart. This time it was Janniro that got the best gate and took the lead. Max Ruml fell in just behind Janniro and worked the inside of the track as Janniro took the middle line and rode a perfect race ahead of Max Ruml for the win and the third-round championship win. Both professionals of the highest degree these two veterans put on a terrific after race cool down lap riding around the track both on their back wheels to the crowd’s delight.
It was a great night of championship racing, and all the riders rode well conducting themselves professionally, each showcasing their skilled racing talents. Hats off also to the staff at Fast Fridays for putting on a fantastic championship event with all the pageantry a championship deserves. As the 2023 season is wrapping up with just two events left, be sure not to miss September 23 when Fast Fridays hosts the Flat Track Stars Invitational and then the season finale on October 14 when the popular USA vs. The World comes to the Auburn at Fast Fridays.
2023 AMA Speedway National Championship (Three Rounds)
1-Max Ruml 59, 2-Broc Nicol 47, 3-Billy Janniro 44, 4-Louie Mersaroli 38, 5-Dillon Ruml 34, 6-Slater Lightcap 30, 7-Alex Martin 22, 8-Russell Green 20
AMA Speedway National Championship Round 3
1-Billy Janniro, 2-Max Ruml, 3-Louie Mersaroli, 4-Dillon Ruml
Round Three Points
1-Billy Janniro 3 3 2 3 2 3 3-19
2-Max Ruml 3 2 3 3 3 3 2-19
3-Louie Mersaroli 2 2 3 2 1 2 1-13
4-Dillon Ruml 3 2 2 2 3 2-14
5-Broc Nicol 0 3 3 3 3 1-13
6-Slater Lightcap 2 3 1 3 3 1-13