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Billy Janniro wins AMA Speedway National Championship Opener at Costa Mesa, Calif.

June 09, 2014

Four-time AMA National Champion Billy Janniro laid down a marker after a perfect seven-win display in Round 1 of the 2014 AMA Speedway National Championship Series.

It was the first time in five years that a round had been staged at the world-famous Costa Mesa Speedway. If this event was anything to go by, it will be tough to bet against Janniro in the four-race series. He heads into the second round with a maximum 21 points. The chasing pack provided much close and exciting racing, but considering they all took points off each other throughout the night means that Janniro has a six-point lead heading to Ventura on June 28.

L-R: Max Ruml, third; Billy Janniro, first; Tyson Burmeister, second

Tyson Burmeister came second in the final to Janniro in one of the best performances of his career. Had it not been for a first race fall, Burmeister would have finished on 18 points rather than 15. In Heat 17 he gave Janniro his toughest challenge with a lightning fast start, but the defending champion soon hit the front once more.

Charlie Venegas won four of his heats, but a third place in his other heat gave ground to Janniro. A last place in the final meant he stayed on 15 points, but is placed second in the standings on virtue of more race wins on the night than Burmeister.

Fourth-place rider last year Max Ruml recovered from a slow start with three heats wins. His third place in the final puts him fourth in the points while Buck Blair, with 12 points from his heats and a third place in the semi finals is right behind and in striking distance of a podium spot on 13.

Northern California's veteran Bart Bast rode smoothly all night for sixth place overall while wild card Shawn McConnell gave a steady display for seventh. Tommy Hedden rounded out the qualifiers for the semi finals with six points.

The race meet had several incidents along the way. Former champion and Veteran Mike Faria blew an engine on the run into the line in his first heat, ruling him out for the night. Youngsters Austin Novratil and Bryce Starks had two collisions in Heat 3. Novratil eventually won the race but two more falls meant that injury would rule him out of three of his rides. Starks meantime surprised many with his confidence and finished with a credible six points.

The series for the first time ever has four rounds at four venues. Round 2 is at Ventura Raceway on June 28. Round 3 visits Industry Raceway on Aug. 19 with the series concluding at Fast Fridays Speedway in Auburn on Sept. 19. The draw for Round 2, which will include run offs for two wild card spots 90 minutes ahead of the main show, will be made on Monday, June 16.

Heat Points – Janniro 15, Venegas 13, Blair 12, Ruml 11, Burmeister 10, Bast 10, McConnell 8, Bast 7, Hedden 6, Starks 6, Nicol 5, Castro 5, Schwartz 5, Green 4, Novratil 3, Talkington 3, Ramirez 3, Faria 1, Scopellite 0, Leedy 0

Semi Final #1 – Janniro, Ruml, McConnell, Bast
Semi Final #2 – Burmeister, Venegas, Blair, Hedden

Big Final
1 - Billy Janniro
26 - Tyson Burmeister
5 - Max Ruml
43 - Charlie Venegas

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