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BROC NICOL WINS SECOND IN A ROW WITH VICTORY IN ALLEN FIFE SALUTE TO AMERICA

Broc Nicol continued his recent run of good form by taking victory in the Allen Fife Salute to America Night as speedway returned to Perris California on 19th November.

Nicol had endured a very frustrating 2022 European season where points limit rules and a short Polish experience restricted him to just one team and a very inconsistent run of fixtures. However, the likable young American has been on fire since coming home, following up on his win at Bakersfield on November 5th. He did it the hard way however, having to come through a last chance elimination race to take the last spot in the Main event.
The Division 1 program had a $7,500 prize fund with $2,600 to the winner and 12 riders entered. A random unseeded draw and use of a British format mixed up the stars plenty in the heats, giving much better action than the often-bland all scratch format where stars are kept apart in the heats and results become too predictable. Each rider raced 4 heats with the top three going straight to the final and 4th-7th to a Last Chance race. The five non qualifiers went to a Last Man Out Consolation challenge.

Dillon Ruml, back from a breakout British season where he won rider of the year for the Oxford Cheetahs, took heat 1 from veteran Eddie Castro. Heat 2 was an immediate blockbuster with Luke Becker, Max Ruml, defending champion Gino Manzares and rising star Slater Lightcap all entered in. Becker got an astonishing gate with Manzares making a shrewd first and second turn to get by Ruml. However, Manzares slowed halfway into the race and ground to a halt, promoting Ruml and Lightcap to second and third. Round 1 was completed with Nicol and the very fast Russell Green in an upfront tussle. Nicol led the entire race with Green right on his back wheel. A wide exit to the final turn from Nicol left a door open and Green swooped by for the win on the line.

Nicol got to winning ways in heat 4, with Lightcap impressing in holding off Dillon Ruml for second place. Max Ruml took heat 4 from Wilbur Hancock with Manzares having a second engine failure of the event. Becker remained the only unbeaten rider with victory over Green to complete round 2. Nicol took his second win of the night over Manzares and Dillon Ruml in heat 7. Max Ruml won heat 8 from Lightcap and Hancock, whilst Becker again led home Green in heat 9.

The conclusion of the heats started with Max Ruml winning a heat 10 over Nicol and brother Dillon. Engine failure number three officially eliminated Manzares from defending his title with Green victorious over Hancock in heat 10. Becker led home Lightcap from Justin Almon to stay on a perfect score in heat 12.

Becker, Max Ruml and Green (who’s earlier victory over Nicol broke the 10-point tie) went straight to the Main event, with Nicol, Lightcap, Dillon Ruml and Hancock into the last chance. Ahead of the Last Chance race, Eddie Castro was victorious over Almon and Mark Fillebrown in the Last Man Out race for none qualifiers. When it came to LCQ, it was Nicol all the way, winning from Dillon Ruml. Lightcap took third over the fast-improving Hancock who got out of shape in turn 1 of lap three.

So, was all down to the final with four big names at the tapes. Becker chose the inside with Ruml out of two. Green picked the outside leaving Nicol out of gate three. Nicol, despite lifting a little as he left the line, was able to get the best start and work his way around Becker and into the lead as the bikes exited turn 2. Ruml slotted into third with Green at the back. Becker kept Nicol honest in second place but was never quite close enough to challenge. Nicol made no error and brought home the victory and the sizeable winner’s check.

As per usual, there was a full array of supporting classes. Division Two saw fast rising 24-year-old Jordan Vanderham take victory in the Main and in both of his heats. Rudy Laurer and Kevin Fiore each took a heat win. The B Main was won by David Newsham. Tony Rutledge found his groove to win the Division 3 Main, with both heats going to the legendary 70-year-old Tom Bryant. Kayd Fiore was the winner of the first 150cc with National champion Kensei Matsudaira taking heat 2 and the Main. Thomas Chavira took a clean sweep in the Rod Lake 50cc kid’s class. Levi Leutz as the only 250c Junior won three exhibition match races against Colorado’s Bobby Richards, the only vintage speedway entrant. After Bob Tocco took the first pit bike TT heat, Kensei Matsudaira came back to win heat 2 and the Main. Elliot Iversen won the first combined Flat Track / Hooligan heat with Jim Ottele taking the second and Main.

After a 9 month break in speedway action to regroup Perris, the track that kept American speedway alive during Covid (running for 19 consecutive months) resumed with a great show and encouraging spectator attendance. It is a fast turnaround until the next event of December 10th with the 5th consecutive staging of the AMA FIM North America Final to determine the USA representatives in the 2023 Grand Prix qualifying series.

The event was held in honor of Allen Fife, a former Speedway promoter, Hollywood actor, racetrack announcer and Korean War veteran who passed away last year. Fife’s son Kevin is a former rider who now holds clerk of the course at Perris and Bakersfield and is himself a huge asset to American Speedway.

Results

Allen Fife Salute to America Grand Final
98 Broc Nicol
22 Luke Becker
1 Max Ruml
321 Russell Green

Last Chance
98 Broc Nicol
3 Dillon Ruml
28 Slater Lightcap
117 Wilbur Hancock

Red, White, and Blue Helmet Last Man Out
14 Eddie Castro
137 Justin Almon
168 Mark Fillebrown
24 Gino Manzares nonstarter
94 Fred Cook nonstarter

Heat Points: Becker 12, M Ruml 11, Green 10, Nicol 10, Lightcap 7, D Ruml 6, Hancock 6, Castro 4, Almon 3, Manzares 2, Fillebrown 0, Cook 0.

Division 2 Main
123 Jordan Vanderham
182 Rudy Laurer
163 Ron Davis
159 Kevin Fiore ret

Consi
111 David Newsham
106 Isaiah Canales
69e Alan Berklau

Division 3 Main
113 Tony Rutledge
220 Tom Bryant
115 Dylan McNulty
108 Bobby Richards
124 Brad Langston

250 Junior Vs Vintage
226 Levi Leutz
108 Bobby Richards

150 Mini Speedway
74 Kensei Matsudaira
22 Ryder Schultz
169k Kayd Fiore
5 Brandon Soto

Rod Lake Kids 50cc (top 3)
28 Thomas Chavira
26 Jackson Joiner
69 Rey Resendez

Minibike TT (top 3)
74 Kensei Matsudaira
106 Isaiah Canales
5 Mike Helm

Flat Track / Hooligan
58y Jim Ottele
74 Kensei Matsudaira
54 Elliot Iverson