U.S. riders rally to defend home track

By: Michael Kirby Journal Speedway Correspondent
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International speedway riders from four countries came across the ocean and thousands of miles to test their racing skills against the best riders in America at the Fast Fridays Motorcycle Speedway annual goodwill meeting in Auburn Friday night. For 13 heat races the World team led the USA by sometimes as much as eight points. In the 10th heat race, Billy Janniro won and picked up six points and brought the USA to 28 points but the home team still trailed the World by four. In the 14th heat Bart Bast picked up an impressive three-point win to knot the score at 43-43. After the 17th round the score was still very close at 52-51 with the World leading by a slim margin. The final heat brought Bryan Yarrow and Bobby Schwartz up against Polish riders Robert Kosciecha and Grzegorz Walasek at the starting gate. Schwartz, using all his years of experience on the track, got a great gate and led the entire way, riding a very impressive race that had the hometown crowd on their feet cheering for the USA. The 55-year-old Schwartz was elated at the finish after beating a very good field and bringing home championship for the USA team. The final score was USA 56, World 53. “There was a lot of pressure to win that last race, we really needed to get that one,” said Schwartz. “It felt really good to win.” German rider Martin Smolinski was the overall individual high points leader for the evening with 18, Bast was second with 15. Janniro and Hedden held the highest team points with 21 followed by Bridger and Woodward with 19.