USA vs. The World

Final Fast Fridays event brings international competition to Auburn
By: Michael Kirby
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AUBURN‒ Fast Fridays Motorcycle Speedway will close another successful and exciting season Saturday night at the Gold Country Fairgrounds with the annual USA vs. The World international grudge match. One of the most popular and anticipated events that Fast Fridays presents brings an international meeting to our local dirt oval.


Six professional riders from overseas travel thousands of miles to race six of our best riders in one season-ending blast of a matchup. Fast Fridays owner David Joiner has put together an international team this year that just might be up to avenging last year’s slim 58-53 loss to the USA.


The series total of 17 meetings sits at 12 wins for the USA to five wins for the various World teams that have ventured here to challenge the talented domestic riders.


USA riders do have a slight home-track advantage, but last year the World just about pulled off an upset. The World riders travel halfway around the globe to ride on borrowed bikes and race on a much smaller track than they normally ride. The USA team feels at home on a track they ride weekly. But there is nothing at stake other than bragging rights and a fun night of international camaraderie between 12 riders that love speedway racing regardless of their country of origin.


Good-natured ribbing and the sharing of racing techniques along with a brilliant display of team racing will highlight the evening.


The lineup for the World this year will be Peter Ljune of Sweden, Mikkel Michelsen of Denmark, Martin Smolinski of Germany, Sam Masters of Australia, Mikkel Bech of Denmark and Carlos Venegas of the USA. Ljune, Michelsen and Venegas are returning participants this year for the World team, and Ljune led the World last year scoring 12 points. All of the World participants are professional riders with years of international speedway racing credentials. The World would like to get back in the game with a win.  


The USA team will be anchored by nine time USA AMA National Speedway Champion Billy Janniro, who just wrapped up a championship season and led the USA team last year scoring 14 points.


Also riding for the USA this year are Bart Bast, Tommy Hedden, Russell Green, Ryan Bast and Aaron Fox ‒ all seasoned riders with years of racing experience.


Bart Bast, Green and Hedden along with Janniro return for another USA-World challenge to keep this year’s team in win column.


The season-ending finale should be a blast of team racing by both teams, fun but serious when the bikes line up at the start line and the gate goes up. Racing is Saturday night at the Fast Fridays Motorcycle Speedway at the Gold

Country Fairgrounds in Auburn. Gates open at 6:30 p.m. and racing begins at 8 p.m.