Story and photos by Michael Kirby
AUBURN, Calif. — Billy Janniro secured himself a permanent place in American speedway history on Sept. 21, winning an unprecedented 10th AMA Speedway National Championship at Fast Fridays Motorcycle Speedway. Janniro is now the owner of a record that will stand for years and will be very difficult for any other rider to equal, if ever. With no signs of letting up or even mentioning retirement, the 39 year-old Janniro capped another great year with a national championship win.
“It was a great night,” Janniro said. “Last year’s championship was unbelievable, and I don’t even know what to think after this year.” “We will definitely be back next year. We have a great team together and it should be another great season.” After more than 24 years on a speedway bike, Billy “The Kid” Janniro will go down in speedway history as one of the best if not the best American speedway rider of all time.
Janniro won all three rounds of the AMA National Speedway Championship Series, including the finale. He came into the final with 39 points and finishing the series with 59 points. Janniro scored nearly a perfect night with 20 points, dropping just one point to Max Ruml in Heat Race 2. Trailing Janniro, Max Ruml 22, came into the third round with 29 points and finished the night with 17 points and a total of 46 series points for second place. Gino Manzaras 26, was third place in the national championship series finishing the three rounds with an impressive 36 points.
In the third round of the series, Janniro was first, Ruml second, Aaron Fox was third and Bart Bast fourth. These four riders faced off in the Grand Final. They worked their way into the final by finishing the night as part of the top eight riders after 20 heat races. All the races were scratch races and the riders scored 3 points for a heat race win, two points for second place, one point for third and zero points for fourth place finish. The top two finishers of the semi-final transferred to the grand main event. Janniro and Bast finished Semi-Final 1 first and second to transfer, and Ruml and Fox finished one and two in Semi-Final 2 and also transferred. Janniro won the Grand Final adding three points to his series total, Ruml was second, Fox was third and Bast fourth. The top eight finishers in the 2019 AMA Speedway National Series are automatically seeded in the 2020 national championship series without the need to qualify.
Janniro has a large target on his back and will need to stay on top of his game for next season if he’s looking for number eleven with young riders like Max and Dillion Ruml, Gino Manzaras, Russell Green getting better each season and chasing the now legendary champ. Also, don’t count out veteran riders like Bart Bast, Aaron Fox, Charlie Venegas, Bryan Yarrow and a host of many others joining the chase. Also worth mentioning is the great season young Anthony Dion of Grass Valley, Calif., put together. The 17 year old made a meteoric rise from the youth division last season to a player to be dealt with in Division I, capping his season as a rider in the national championship series.
In the youth program, Wilber Hancock won the Youth 250 main event and Levi Leutz won the Youth 150 main event. The season is winding down but there is still two more nights of exciting racing action remaining in 2019. On Sept. 28, Fast Fridays presents another exciting night of championship racing as the AMA Extreme Sidecar Championships roll into Auburn. On Oct. 12, the season closes with the finale USA vs. the World. Both nights will be fantastic.
2019 AMA Speedway National Championship Sept. 21, 2019 Results (Three Rounds)
1-Billy Janniro 59, 2-Max Ruml 46 72, 3-Gino Manzaras 36, 4-Russell Green 30, 5-Bart Bast 25
6-Austin Novratil 24, 7-Colton Hicks 20, 8-Blake Borello 18, 9-Samuel Ramirez 18, 10-Tim Gomez 17
AMA Speedway National Championship Round 3
1-Billy Janniro, 2-Max Ruml, 3-Aaron Fox, 4-Bart Bast
Youth 250 Main Event
1-Wilber Hancock, 2-Anthony Dion, 3-Landon Norton
Youth 150 Main Event
1-Levi Leutz, 2-Darren Armbruster, 3-Mike McGrath