INDUSTRY, California — Billy “the Bullet” Hamill, of Carlsbad, dominated Wednesday night 500cc Division 1 speedway motorcycle racing in front of more than 1,000 fans of the two-wheel action sport. He again went undefeated in his races after missing the July 11 event at the Industry Hills Expo Center while racing as one of four members of Team USA at the FIM World Cup in Poland. The 42-year old two-time World Speedway Cycle champion (1996 and 1998) and four-time AMA US National Champion (1999, 2001-02 and 07) has now won five of seven 2012 Industry Speedway main events, including both scratch and handicap mains on June 13.
The personable rider also includes the Orange County Fair Derby opener Saturday, July 14 among his nine Division 1 feature victories this season at California tracks, including Inland Motor Speedway in San Bernardino. Hamill, one of three riders to win all three of his heat races Wednesday, also won his semi-final race to qualify for the four rider main event. Charlie Venegas and Tyson Burmeister, the other two riders with perfect scores of nine, did not record top two positions in their semi-final races and missed the feature. Each man had won D-1 mains during weeks one and two of the 13-week Wednesday night season at Industry. Burmeister won the consolation race.
Hamill, with first lane choice, picked the pole and led all four laps. He held a ten-yard lead at he finish. Shawn “Mad Dog” McConnell, passed July 11 Industry feature winner Buck Blair on the final lap and hiked his front wheel as he crossed the finish line with Blair a length back. Gino Manzares placed fourth. Second and third division riders competed in combined heats and a 500cc D-2 Main event. Kayle LeoGrande, a 35-year old tattoo artist and professional bicycle racer from Upland, led all 4 laps for his third feature victory (second at Industry) during his rookie season.
Sammy Ramirez, 13, of Orange, returned from a year and a half absence to take the lead on lap 5 of 5 to win the under age 16 Youth 250cc six rider race over Broc Nicol. Braydan Galvin, 13, or Corona, also took the lead on the final lap and won the youth 200cc main over Michael Wells. Fan-favorite “Lightning” Luke Whitcomb, 8, from Anaheim, won his fifth consecutive 50cc pee-wee feature in a three-rider field.
A 4-lap “Last of the Mohicans” last man out after laps 1 and 2 challenge race for cash went to Venegas in a two rider dash during laps 3-4. Jason Ramirez (P 4 on lap 1) was eliminated as was last place McConnell after lap 2. McConnell led lap 1. Second lap leader Blair finished a close second to winner Venegas. ... Three two-main UTV desert racing buggies ran hot laps in close formation. One of the three cars performed circular “donuts” in the third turn and rolled onto its cage. Pit workers righted the car and the driver drove it to the pits. ... A “Bruce Flanders Ugly Hawaiian Shirt Night” promotion allowed Hawaiian shirt wearers half-price admission. A fan-voice vote reduced the field of Hawaiian shirt wearers to a final five. Participating riders wore Hawaiian shirts over their leathers. The top three in spectator voting received trophies from Industry Speedway.
A special demonstration run by a USAC-CRA 410 cu. in. sprint car driven by Brody Roa, of Buena Park, excited fans during an intermission. The No. 91R Spike chassis with RC Performance Chevy power made six hot laps without incident. Roa applied minimal throttle pressure and kept the car under control on the small dirt track inside The Grand Arena. Track announcer Bruce Flanders told fans to show their Industry Speedway tickets or program at Perris Auto Speedway to receive two tickets for the price of one at the next PAS sprint car race on July 28.
On a sad note, Industry fans were informed Division 3 rider J. C. “Jim” Masters, 44, passed away from an apparent heart attack in the pits at Costa Mesa Speedway Saturday, July 14. He had raced in a heat race and was pushing his No. 202 Jawa cycle in the pits when he collapsed. Prompt CPR assistance by D-1 rider Tommy Hedden and the track ambulance crew was unsuccessful. He was pronounced deceased at nearby Hoag Memorial Hospital. Masters, a chiropractic doctor from Huntington Beach, raced at Industry Speedway on July 11 and finished third in the semi-main. He is survived by two children. Heritage-Dilday Mortuary, 17911 Beach Blvd., Huntington Beach is handling services. A viewing will be held Monday, July 23 from 4 – 8 pm. The funeral will be Tuesday, July 24 at 10 am.