FOX – 5TH INDUSTRY WINNER IN 5 WEEKS – By Tim Kennedy
Industry, CA., Jun. 27 – Aaron Fox, from Menifee, became the fifth different AMA speedway bike feature winner Wednesday in the fifth week of the Industry Speedway 2018 season in the Grand Arena of the Industry Hills Expo Center. His triumph over week three winner Dillon Ruml was a thriller for almost 600 spectators present on Salute to the Military Night.
It was his first feature victory at Industry since he won a pair of 500cc D-1 main events on June 28 (exactly 52 weeks earlier) and July 12 last season. Fox, the 2015-16 Costa Mesa Speedway US National Champion, also won a Costa Mesa Speedway feature on July 15 last year. He ranked second in 2017 D-1 Industry Speedway points, 32.5 points behind track champion Max Ruml.
Fox started his No. 46--Jawa frame and Jawa rear end with a GM engine--from the outside next to the crash-wall. D. Ruml started his No. 3 Jawa from the inside lane with Tim Gomez and Russell Green to his right. Ruml was the only rider with a perfect nine score after winning all three of his heat races with 12 500cc Division 1 riders competing.
When the light turned green and the starting gate lifted, Fox shot to the inside and beat Ruml to the preferable inside line. Ruml challenged Fox intensely on the outside all four laps. After lap 1, Fox led by a length with Gomez and Green third and fourth. Ruml cut the lead to half a length on laps 2 and 3. With confidence, Ruml powered off the fourth turn on the final lap still on the outside. He cut the Fox winning margin to a quarter length at the finish line.
Fans called it the most exciting race this season at Industry. Earlier in round three of heat racing, Fox and Ruml met in event 17. Ruml used the same outside wide-open, full power outside route to pass Fox and win that race. The feature winner and runner-up took celebratory laps together and hiked their front wheels as appreciative fans cheered.
The 500cc D-1 consolation race was a fan-pleasing victory for inside starter Bobby “Boogaloo” Schwartz, 61, the many-time speedway champion who still enjoys competing. Nor Cal visitor Blake Borello, 17, from Georgetown, rode his 500cc Jawa to second, one length back. Jason Ramirez finished third, a length in back of Borello in a three-rider blanket finish. Mike Bloom was fourth.
Rudy Laurer, 61, led all four laps in the 500cc D-2 main event for intermediate skill level riders. It was his second consecutive victory this season on his Jawa 897. The Industry Speedway D-2 points champion last season won his 2017 D-2 track title by 16.5 points.
Bruce Marteney made a lap 4 inside pass from turn four to the finish line to edge Mike Miller by inches. Miller's steel shoe came off his left foot a lap earlier in turn four; he rode the final lap without it. Referee Steve Lucero retrieved the metal shoe and tossed it into the infield and the track remained under the green flag. Ron Davis ran fourth all four laps.
Dr. David Newsham, from Crestline, led the final three laps of the 500cc D-3 main for newer riders. It was his second consecutive Industry D-3 victory. The 58-year old dentist bought his No. 111 Jawa a year ago and raced seven times last year. He raced four times this season with best main event results of second and third. Veteran D-3 riders Kevin Fife (311), Steve Brown (211) and first lap leader Greg Willis (215) trailed in that order. Fife won the Industry D-3 riders 2017 points title.
The 250cc feature was a four-lap ride out front for Whittier's Jake Isaac, 15, on his Stuha frame/Jawa. It was his second victory during June at Industry in 2017. June 20 winner Slater Lightcap, 12, and Andrew Russell, 12, followed.
A five rider field of mini 150cc riders raced five laps with a handicapped starting grid based on experience. The only starter from the gate was Gordon Teufel III, 12, who led all five laps despite pressure from pursuers. It was his initial 150cc D-1 feature win. He won a 150cc D-2 main at Industry on Aug. 2, 2017.
Travis Horn, 10, and Owen Williams, 11, (both from the 30-yard line) followed closely. June 20 winner and celebrating front straight dancer Levi Leutz, 9, started 10-yards from the gate and placed fourth. Jose Navarette started at the 20-yard line and finished fifth.
There were three pee-wee riders, including two four and a half-year old newcomers born two days apart in December, 2013. Experienced 50cc rider Ken Matsudaira, 7, won both heats and the main after starting from the third turn in deference to his additional experience. Noah Luke, in his first Industry race since the March, 2018 Gumball Rally, led two laps and finished second with Jenson Horn third.
Ruml scored the maximum nine points in his three heat race rides. Gomez had eight, Fox and Green seven, Schwartz and Ramirez six, Borello four and Bloom three. All eight transferred to one of two semi-final races that advanced the top two finishers in each race to the feature. Ruml and Green finished one-two in the first semi. Schwartz and Borello followed.
Fox started from gate four and led all four laps in the second semi. Gomez launched from the inside gate and earned a close second place. It was a preview of the main event starting positions for the first and second place riders. Ramirez was a close third with Bloom fourth.
Three sidecar teams were entered but none appeared. Engine problems recently caused their absence according to Racing Director Kelly Inman. Two recent D-1 Industry feature winners--Jimmy Fishback III and Austin Novratil--raced in the June 23 Ventura Raceway second of five rounds for the AMA 2018 US National Championship. They likely experienced engine problems and were not at Industry.
> New pee-wee rider Noah Luke (DOB 12/20/13) lives in Torrance. He raced a Yamaha 50cc June 27 at Industry for the first time since his March, 2018 debut during the annual Gumball Rally. He and his father watched speedway racing last year in Costa Mesa. Noah said he wanted to race speedway bikes. Afterwards they went to the pits and talked to Junior rider Travis Horn, who advised them how to get started. Ironically, Travis' brother Jenson (born 12/18/13) is a 50cc pee-wee rookie also. Noah pits near the Horn brothers.
> Noah Luke started racing motocross bikes last year at the Milestone MX track on State St. in Riverside near a go-kart track. His dad said Noah raced in four of five races in the Transworld Services Series and finished about 10th of 20 riders in points. Noah looked comfortable racing at Industry June 27 and finished second in all three rides on the lead lap.
> Paul Flanders attended the Ventura Raceway fifth-mile Saturday, June 23 second round for the 2018 AMA US National Championship. He said the crowd was very good and estimated about 2,500 people were in the grandstand. D-1 500cc veteran Eddie Castro (No. 14) is a nearby Ojai resident and raced at his home track. He scored 7-points.
> Billy Janniro came from Nor Cal and won the Ventura feature over his protege Luke Becker with Novratil and D. Ruml in P. 3-4. Becker, 19, now has a one point lead (39-38) over Janniro after two of five rounds at five different speedways in California. Janniro also won round one on April 28 in Rancho Cordova (near Sacramento). Round 3 will be July 28 at the third-mile Santa Maria Speedway. Round four will be Sat. August 11 at Industry. Round five will be Sat. Sept. 29 at Fast Fridays Speedway in Auburn.
> Visitors to the weekly Industry race June 27 included Brett Roa, owner of the No. 91R USAC-CRA 410 sprint car driven by his son Brody. Brett said he only missed one of five Industry races this season. That was when he towed his sprint car to June 8-9 USAC National races in Greenwood, Nebraska and Knoxville, Iowa. Brody started ninth at Knoxville and finished an impressive fifth in a 30-lap main event on the clay half-mile.
> Only 28 races were run June 27 after two heats and main event for sidecars were canceled by the absence of sidecars. Joe Jones/Tom Summers won the sidecar main at Ventura June 23 and the Kale father/son team placed fourth. Both were entered at Industry four nights later but scratched.
> The similar light blue and neon green leathers of the M & M Racing riders are new this year for 500cc D-2 veterans Bruce Marteney and Eloy Medellin (the M and M of M & M Racing). They pit together and provide each other assistance as needed.
> Nor Cal visitor Blake Borello, 17, raced impressively in one of his infrequent visits to Industry. He drove south with his No. 27n Jawa tied down in the back bed of his pickup truck. He scored 4 points (7th best) of the 12 riders. He was fourth in his semi and a close second in a consy.
> Tim Gomez blew the engine of his No. 30 at Ventura June 23. D-2 500cc and occasional D-1 rider Ricky Richards raced his No. 345 Jawa once in 2018. The 42-year old has decided to retire from speedway. He generously loaned Gomez his Jawa engine to use in the Industry June 27 race. All appreciative Gomez did was have his best night in a long-time. He scored 8-points (second best of 12 riders). He finished second in his semi-final and third in the feature.
> Dave Hancock, of Corona, has rejoined speedway racing after a 30-year absence. The D-1 veteran said he had one ride at Ventura last year. The June 20 and 27 events were his first races at Industry. Dave, 53, is the older brother of Greg Hancock, 48. Greg is an eight-time AMA National Speedway Champion between 1995 and 2009 and four-time FIM World Speedway Champion (1997, 2011, 2014 and 2016). Dave's nephew Wilbur (Greg's son) has raced as a Junior. Dave revealed his brother Greg gave him his No. 18 GM-powered speedway bike. He said Greg currently ranks eighth in FIM World Championship 2018 standings after only two events with round three this weekend.
> Dave was a 500cc D-1 rider during the 1980s until he moved to the Midwest in 1990. He moved back to So Cal two years ago and works as a construction superintendent for a paving company. Dave said he did not race in Europe as Greg did successfully as a career. Dave said he raced at all the California speedway venues such as Costa Mesa, Ascot's South Bay Stadium in Gardena, Victorville, IMS-San Bernardino, Auburn and others. In his first week back (June 20) Dave finished his three heat races in P. 4-3-4 for one point. On June 27 he finished in P. 4-4-3 for one point. He plans to continue speedway racing actively.