CITY OF INDUSTRY, CA, DEC. 29 – A packed house at the Grand Arena in the City of Industry, California, witnessed another great night of racing for the second running of the Monster Energy World Speedway Invitational. Only this time it was not all-American dominance.
Joining Americans Charlie Venegas and last year’s winner Billy Janniro in the final was young Australian Darcy Ward and Great Britain’s Scott Nicholls. And while it looked like it would be a Janniro repeat - as he was dominant all night - ultimately it was Nicholls who came away with the win.
Janniro was leading the final when Ward, who was going for the win, made contact with Janniro on the exit of turn three - causing both of them to crash and Nicholls to lowside while trying to avoid them. The melee brought out a red flag, but fortunately no one was injured.
Unfortunately the same could not be said about Janniro’s bike or the wall. The wall section was quickly repaired and Janniro was able to line-up again for the restart on his back-up bike against Nicholls and Venegas. In the end the backup bike didn’t quite have the gearing that Janniro’s A-bike had and he was unable to repeat his earlier success.
Nicholls took the opportunity on the restart and got to the lead early and rode it home for the win. Venegas followed in second with Janniro rounding out the podium in third.
Americans Greg Hancock, Tyson Burmeister, and Ricky Wells also had good showings that put them into the semi-finals, but in the end they were unable to advance to the final round.
Billy Hamill’s biggest adversary turned out to be some sort of flu bug and, despite his best efforts to tough it out, forced him to withdraw after his third heat.