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Max Ruml went from dejection to elation Saturday at Industry Speedway in the Grand Arena. The Garden Grove resident broke through the starting gate tapes, resulting in disqualification and no points in the first race of the night. He progressed through five heat race rounds, a semi-final and won the hotly-contested main event in front of about 700 spectators and many others watching on the internet via live screening.

It was Ruml's fifth Industry feature victory this season and the most important. The event was the second of three rounds for the 2019 AMA Speedway National Championship at three California speedways. Ruml moved from fifth to second in current series points. The final round will be contested Saturday, September 21 at Fast Fridays Motorcycle Speedway in Auburn.

Nine-time AMA Speedway National Champion Billy Janniro, 39, had his fortunes go in the opposite direction. He experienced success all night until the main event. The reigning champion and speedway superstar won all five of his heat races and led every lap. He started at least once from all four lanes. He then led every lap in his semi-final race for four of the eight-high-point riders in an all 500cc D-1 program with 16 riders.

When it came to lane selection for the feature, Janniro (GM engine), chose the pole position. Semi-final race two winner Ruml (GM power) selected lane two, leaving lanes three and four to the runners-up in the two semis. So Cal riders Gino Manzares (Jawa) and Austin Novratil (Gerhard-designed Swiss engine) took lanes three and four respectively.

FEATURE: When the starting gate tapes lifted, Ruml launched quickly and reached the turn one desired inside of the track first. Janniro was in the middle and slightly behind Ruml with Novratil next to him on his right. Manzares was in the mix as well. Leaving the second turn Ruml led over Novratil, Manzares with Janniro in fourth after tight racing in the first two corners. Amazed spectators sensed an upset.

Ruml (No. 3) led lap 1 over Novratil (No. 7), Manzares (No. 24), and Janniro (No. 1). On the second lap a major surprise occurred. Janniro's front wheel went to the inside of the pipe separating the track and infield. He wobbed a bit in the second turn and then fell to the dirt. He remounted quickly, but was a straightaway behind third place Manzares. Janniro falling on his own without contact by another rider was a rarity.

The final two laps remained Ruml and Novratil, separated by two lengths. Manzares was ten lengths back in third. Janniro was a straightaway back when starter Tom Fox waved the checkered flag after four rapid laps. Jannio placed fourth and scored no points for the feature with the usual 3-2-1-0 point scoring basis. Nevertheless, Janniro's 18-points for the night (15 for winning five heats plus three for winning a semi-final) made him the high-point rider Saturday.

After two of the three events in the 2019 AMA National Championship Series, Janniro added to his six-points advantage after the first round on June 15 at Ventura Raceway. He added 18 point to his 21 earned in Ventura and now has 39 points. Max Ruml's 17-points at Industry pushed his total to 29 prior to the September 21 finale in Auburn.

Manzares scored 14-points at Industry and now ranks third with 28-points. Novratil's 16-points Saturday kept him in fourth position with 24-points after two rounds. Colton Hicks (P. 3 in the second semi-final Saturday) and Russell Green are tied for fifth position at 20-points currently.

Dillon Ruml, who was second in National Championship Series points following the June 15 Ventura event, did not race at Industry Saturday. The two-time Industry 2019 feature winner broke his left wrist when he fell in turn two during the final lap of the July 31 Industry feature. It was in a cast as he assisted his older brother in the pits. His 15-points have him in a seventh place tie with Samuel Ramirez.

Bart Bast scored five points at Industry and his 14-points rank him ninth. Bob Hicks, from Auburn, scored nine points at Industry and his cumulative 12-points rank tenth. Seventeen riders have scored points, including two-time AMA Speedway National Champion Bobby Schwartz, who celebrated his 63rd birthday and scored two points Saturday. Schwartz was added to the 16-rider field at Industry as the replacement for injured D. Ruml.

With only 500cc D-1 riders racing Saturday there were five rounds of four-lap heat races, two semi-finals and the main event. Racing started at 7:54 pm with the shocking starting gate error and DQ for Ruml. It concluded at 10:02 pm with the also shocking fall by fourth place, reigning AMA National Champion Janniro. His fourth place finish kept him off the infield podium.

Between those amazing occurrences, nine riders won the 20 heat races. They were:

  > 5 wins – Janniro;
  > 3 wins – M. Ruml, Manzares, and Colton Hicks;
  > 2 wins – Novratil;
  > 1 win – R. Green, Bob Hicks, Tommy Hedden, and Danny Faria.

1st Semi-Final – Janniro, Manzares, Hedden, B. Hicks,

2nd Semi_Final – Ruml, Novratil, C. Hicks, Faria.

Main: Ruml, Novratil, Manzares, Janniro.


  > There was no need for a run-off race Saturday. Point ties were decided in favor of the rider who scored the most heat race wins. Three riders—D. Faria, Blake Borello, and Tim Gomez—tied at 6-points each for eighth place, the final transfer position to the second semi-final race. Faria's one heat win gave him P. 8. Borello and Gomez had no heat wins.

   > Most of the Junior Division 150cc and 250cc riders present at the Grand Arena for the 7th annual AMA/FIM Silver Cup Championship Sunday afternoon attended the 500cc D-1 major event Saturday night. Nor Cal competitors sat in a group for the most part. Many visitors stayed overnight at the nearby Pacific Palms Resort 11-story hotel on the grounds of the Industry Hills Expo Center where the Grand Arena is located as well. Nor Cal visitors said they really like racing at Industry and usually watch the Industry Wednesday night speedway races live via the internet.