Tuesday Jan 08 2013
Local racer rides to ‘monster’ winBy: Matthew Kimel, Journal sports editor
Call him the new International Man of Mystery.
Billy Janniro, the popular Fast Fridays rider, took down a group of heralded Europeans at the recent Monster Energy World Speedway Challenge at Industry Speedway at The Grand Arena at the Industry Hills Expo Center in Southern California.
Janniro won the four-lap individual event on a short, rough track as all Americans took the podium.
“It was pretty cool,” said Janniro, a three-time AMA champion. “They haven’t had a race like this in America since the 80s.”
Beating the Euros is no easy task.
“The Europeans grew up doing this and this is their whole lives,” Janniro said. “They’re professionals in the Grand Prix. They’re used to big tracks. It probably scared a couple of them up close and personal.”
Some 5,000 people attended the event, including numerous locals.
“It was a very exciting race with a large contingency from Northern California,” said Dave Joiner, owner of Fast Fridays, who was in attendance. “There was a lot of riders and spectators, a lot of the normal Fast Fridays people.”
Joiner guesstimated that nearly 1,000 Fast Friday regulars saw Janniro’s victory.
“It’s a huge win for Janniro,” Joiner said. “There were three world champions in the event. That’s a great field of riders. He felt right at home. He’s ridden with a lot of these guys over the years.”
Janniro, 32, has been riding for twenty years. While his day job is in the construction field, he considers riding a hobby and a “paycheck.”
Janniro said this past victory was one of his biggest, aside from a couple of nationals and races across the pond he won in team affairs.
Janniro typically rides in 25 races a year, about a sixth of the number his recent competitors compete in.
“This is a big scale of racing,” Janniro said of the world challenge. “They brought a whole new breed of riders that race 120 races a year.”
Janniro was glad to win the race in front of some local fans.
“Lots of NorCal supporters were there,” he said. “It was kind of amazing. Most of them were riders and mechanics, but it was pretty cool. Red Light Oil came down.”
Joiner said the track at the City of Industry favored Janniro’s riding style.
“We had some of the best riders in the world, however, the track is much shorter than what they’re used to,” Joiner said. “It’s about an eighth of a mile like Fast Fridays. The track was really rough. Billy likes a rough track. He’s a big, burly kind of guy.”
Though the track conditions may have helped Janniro, Joiner didn’t think the local was the favorite going in.
“Personally, I know it was a huge accomplish for Billy,” Joiner said. “I don’t think going into it he was the favorite, but from my prospective, I thought Billy would make the podium with the rough track. He felt right at home with the rough track. The Euros might have been spooked or scared of the tight track. They’re aren’t used to it.”
Janniro will probably take the rest of the season off from riding in races to prep for the upcoming Fast Fridays summer season.
“I’m looking forward to Fast Fridays coming back around,” said Janniro, who recently moved from Rancho Cordova to Napa. “I love the atmosphere up there.”