Fast Friday’s Motorcycle Speedway
Michael Kirby Story and Photos
They roared into Fast Friday’s Motorcycle Speedway and the Gold Country Fairgrounds in Auburn Ca. to thundering applause from a near capacity crowd of diehard fans that just dig their special brand of high-octane racing. Fast Friday’s announcer Mike Rooney introduced them as the “Masters of Mayhem” and on their 1000 cc three-wheeled bikes the seven Extreme Sidecars teams did not disappoint a single fan during the second round of their season series at Fast Friday’s.
Included in the line-up was current AMA National Sidecar champion Robert Curry and his rider Hunnis Ots, but it was the team of Lawrence McNutt with alternating riders Sammy Tetrault and Dana Miller that came away the round winner. Teams worked their way into the final main event by scoring points for finishing position in heat races. The teams with the highest points after the heat race rounds transferred to the main event.
In the sidecar main event the line-up was the fastest teams and highest scorers of the night. In the inside lane it was the legend himself Joe Jones and Tom Summers, in lane two sat Smylie Kinne and Chuck Heider, next to them was McNutt and Tetrault and outside was the champ Curry and Ots.
As the tapes went up a mechanical mishap stalled Jones and Summers just yards from the gate but the race was on for the other three teams. McNutt and Tetrault took the open spot fighting with Kinne and Heider for the lead. With Curry and Ots trailing, Curry took his chance at a hole and tried to go inside to pass but cut in to hard coming into the infield hitting a hay bale as turn workers scattered. From then on it was the McNutt team and Kinne team in a head-to-head race that McNutt managed to control and come out on top with the checkered flag. Kinne/Heider were second, Curry/Ots third and Jones and Summers fourth. Great, crowd-pleasing racing by all the seven sidecar teams.
Broc Nicol, who makes the trip from Southern California each week to race in Auburn, pulled off the first double-double wins of the 2023 season at Fast Fridays. Nicol was definitely the fastest man of the night winning the Division I handicap main event and the Division I scratch main event, something no other rider has managed to do so far this season.
In the handicap program Nicol is handicapped on the 40-yard line. He was third in his heat race but transferred to his semi-final which he proceed to win and transferred to the main event. After Alex Martin went down in turn one, referee Steve Lucero called for a restart and the riders lined up again. This time Nicol worked through the lower yardage riders and finally was able to maneuver to the lead with the cagey Louie Mersaroli not making it easy for him. Nicol held onto the lead for the win. Mersaroli was second Timmy Dion was third.
That was half of the task at hand for Nicol. Next up was the DI scratch main event. There he faced eleven time and current AMA National Speedway Champion Billy Janniro, Mersaroli again and Alex Martin just back from a stint racing in Europe. Right out of the gate it was Nicol and Janniro in a tight contest. Nicol took the inside line with Janniro working the middle and outside of the track trying every move in his playbook to pass Nicol. But the four laps was not enough time and Janniro had to settle for second behind Nicol. Martin was third and Mersaroli fourth.
Not to be left out of the family podium action Aidan McNutt notched his second main event win of the season in Division II. Part of the SOS Team, McNutt was locked in a tight race with Davey Shaw who won their heat race but this time McNutt had Shaw’s number and kept ahead of him for the win. Shaw was second, father Lawrence McNutt and sidecar main event winner was third. It was certainly a McNutt night at Fast Fridays.
Cody Aker is on a winning streak, last week taking the checkered flag in the support class main event and this week winning the Division III main event. Already handicapped to the 30-yard line, look for Aker to maybe be seeing action in Division II soon. Catherine Moore held her own in the main taking second place and Hunter Castillo was third.
Darren Armbruster showing some real racing skills had a very impressive win in the Youth 250 main event. Up against Jameson Hutchinson and Nick Hohlbein, back for the first time on a speedway bike since being seriously injured in a speedway racing accident in February. Hohlbein took their heat race but in the main event it was a tight race with Armbruster and Hutchinson going at it until Armbruster was able to pass Hutchinson and go after Hohlbein passing him also before the finish line.
Riley Rearick picked up his third main event win in a row in the Youth 150 program. His brother Wesley Rearick won their heat race but in the main Riley took the flag and Wesley was second. These two young riders put on a great show each week with one of them usually ending up on the winner’s podium. It must be an interesting ride home from the track for these boys. Also in the mix in the Youth 150 division was seven-year-old Hudson Jones son of sidecar driver Joe Jones who finished third.
Results for 06-16-23
Division I Scratch Main Event
1-Broc Nicol, 2-Billy Janniro, 3-Alex Martin, 4-Louie Mersaroli
Division I Handicap Main Event
1-Broc Nicol, 2-Louie Mersaroli, 3-Timmy Dion
Division II Main Event
1-Aidan McNutt, 2-Davey Shaw, 3-Lawrence McNutt
Division III Main Event
1-Cody Aker, 2-Catherine Moore, 3-Hunter Castillo
Youth 250 Main Event
1-Darren Armbruster, 2-Nick Hohlbein, 3-Jameson Hutchinson
Youth 150 Main Event
1-Riley Rearick, 2-Wesley Rearick, 3-Hudson Jones
Extreme Sidecar Main Event (Round Two)
1-Lawrence McNutt/Sammy Tetrault/Dana Miller 2-Smylie Kinne/Chuck Heider,
3-Robert Curry/Hunnis Ots, 4-Joe Jones/Tom Summers