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Billy Janniro stays hot in AMA Speedway National Championship Series

June 30, 2014

The following is an industry press release...

The AMA National Speedway Series reached his halfway mark with Billy Janniro stepping closer to a 5th title after scoring another victory at Ventura Raceway, CA on June 28th.

A large and enthusiastic crowd was on hand to witness some fast and exciting racing on  the 1/5 mile banked oval, the biggest track used in the series. Janniro did not have it all his own way and was pushed harder than ever by the emerging young riders, including 17 year old Max Ruml and 20 year old Gino Manzares, who had flown in on a break from his British league season to compete.

An hour before the main show, Rocco Scopellite and PJ Byrne emerged victorious from run offs for the last two spots, with Dan Faria the reserve rider. The first round of heats saw victories for Manzares, Ruml, Janniro and Tyson Talkington. In the latter race, Bryce Starks fell whilst leading, remounted to pass Russell Green for third, but that fall would prove costly later for a semi final spot which he missed by 1 point after some impressive races. In the opening heat, 16 year old Broc Nicol held pace with Manzares, whilst 55 year old local veteran Eddie Castro was close to Janniro in heat 3.

Castro pulled off a trade mark stunning outside pass on Northern California multi champion Bart Bast to win heat 5, a move that brought much noise and approval from the crowd. Ruml made easy work of Buck Blair in heat 6 to remain unbeaten, whilst Austin Novratil led home Tommy Hedden in heat 7. Heat 8 brought together the two pre event favorites, Janniro and Manzares, Janniro led home his fellow 2013 Team USA World Cup team mate.

Ruml beat his fellow and very impressive teenage rival Nicol in heat 9. Janniro led home Blair in heat 10. Castro moved onto a popular 8 points with another pass, this time on Hedden in heat 11. Manzares beat former his former Junior Speedway rival Ramirez to round out the third section on heats.

Heat 13 brought a jaw dropping race with Janniro and Nicol; the 16 year old actually trying an outside pass on the defending champion, though Janniro’s experience saw him to a fourth win on the night and  a perfect 11 wins from11 rides in the series so far. Novratil defeated Blair in heat 14 to move closer to semi final spot. Bast scored a popular win over Starks and Hedden in an all NorCal top 3 in heat 15. Manzares defeated Ruml in heat 16 to stop the 17 year olds perfect night and put them both on 11 points.

The final round of heats saw Nicol win heat 13 from Travis Henderson, putting him on a hugely impressive 10 points and 4th placed qualifier for the semi finals. Starks made a fabulous pass on Blair to win heat 18 but he was sadly a point short of the semi finals. Heat 19 saw Janniro’s perfect series ended after he was excluded for touching the starting tapes;  Ruml took full advantage by winning the race to end the heats on 14 points. Manzares led home Novratil in heat 20.

Points After Heats: Manzares 14, Ruml 14, Janniro 12, Nicol 10, Castro 9, Novratil 9, Bast 9, Blair 9, Starks 8, Hedden 7, Talkington 4, Henderson 4, Scopellite 4, Ramirez 4, Faria 2, Green 1, Byrne 0.

The first semi final saw Manzares win from Novratil in a carbon copy of heat 20 – Bast and Nicol were third and fourth and eliminated. Semi final 2 saw the race of the night by a long ways. Ruml stunned Janniro, the crowd and perhaps everyone but himself by out trapping Janniro and leading him. Janniro gave it all of his might with some blistering outside speed but could not close ground on his rival. The shocked crowd looked on for what was would a momumental upset, only for Ruml to enter the final turn with too much speed. He was left with no option but to shut off power or end up in the crashwall, so Janniro took full advantage moved inside to win, though Ruml recovered to get the second transfer spot to the Big Final. Castro and Blair were eliminated.

The final saw the Champion up against three young rivals. Manzares elected the outside starting spot,  Janniro chose gate 3. Ruml took gate 2, leaving Novratil on the pole. Janniro, perhaps sharpened up much from the semi final near stunner, made a perfect start and led Manzares and Ruml into turn 1 and around the back straightaway. The speed was sensational but the positions did not change as Janniro led home the rising stars behind him for his 2nd victory of the series.

Janniro takes an 8 point lead over Ruml going into round 3 at Industry Hills, CA on August 9th. The championship concludes September 19th at Fast Fridays Speedway in Auburn. There is much close competition mid pack as the top 8 riders receive automatic 2015 Series nominations.


1. Billy Janniro (18)

24. Gino Manzares (19)

5.  Max Ruml (17)

27. Austin Novratil (11)

Castro 10, Nicol 10, Bast 10, Blair 9, Starks 8, Hedden 7, Talkington 4, Henderson 4, Scopellite 4, Ramirez 4, Faria 2, Green 1, Byrne 0.

Series Standings After 2 of 4 rounds – (Top 14 Automatically Qualified for Round 3)

  1. Billy Janniro 39
  2. Max Ruml 31
  3. Buck Blair 22
  4. Bart Bast 20
  5. Gino Manzares 19
  6. Charlie Venegas 15
  7. Tyson Burmeister 15
  8. Eddie Castro 15
  9. Broc Nicol 15
  10. Bryce Starks 14
  11. Austin Novratil 13
  12. Tommy Hedden 13
  13. Shawn McConnell 8
  14. Tyson Talkington 7
  15. Jason Ramirez 7
  16. Bobby Schwartz 5
  17. Russell Green 5
  18. Travis Henderson 4
  19. Rocco Scopellite 4
  20. Dan Faria 2
  21. Mike Faria 1
  22. PJ Byrne 0

The event all featured races for several other classes between the rounds.  Luke Becker was simply stunning as he won all 3 250cc Junior races with relative ease and much speed.  Dan Faria won the Trophy Dash for none qualifiers, whilst Dalton Leedy took the Support Main. Bryan Motis and Josh Bennett won three of the four Sidecar races including the Main Event. Ken Thiebaud, for the 2nd year in a row, won the very popular vintage bike class.

Main Event Results

Vintage Bikes – Ken Thiebaud, Dan Waller, Malcolm Roe, Bob Waller, Pat Smith, Dave Tice

Trophy Dash – Dan Faria, Dalton Leedy, Jamison Dilkey, Jeremiah Allen, Ron Davis, Sean McDougall

Support Main – Leedy, McDougal, Allen, Davis, Dilkey

Sidecars – Bryan Motis / Josh Bennett, Dual Anderson / Ethan Smith, Dave Alexander / Bob Dent, Stuart Glass / Jack Straw. 

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