Speedway: Poetry in Motion

Sliding for dollars.

Speedway: Poetry in Motion

"Two hundred pounds! 80 horsepower! No suspension and noooooo brakes!" announcer Terry Clayton growls over the P.A. system. Demonstrating positive thinking, he then says, "Lindsay Lohan, please report to the announcer's booth!" As the sun falls behind the marine layer, anorexic speedway bikes roar to life for final adjustments as fans swarm bleachers juggling cold brews, kettle corn and cotton candy. Welcome to round one of the AMA Speedway National Championship Series at Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa, California. Lucky for us, the track is just a couple of miles from the CW offices.

At 7:15 p.m., riders greet the audience in a 200-yard parade along the inside wall of the track, slapping high-fives to wide-eyed children and parents alike. Local favorites and national champions share the spotlight before all hell breaks loose at 7:30. Veteran racers Greg Hancock, Billy Hamill, Tommy Hedden, Mike Faria, Eddie Castro, Bryan Yarrow and Bobby "Boogaloo" Schwartz—all on the wrong side of 30 but enjoying long, if not lucrative, careers on the speedway circuit. They're defending their pro status each weekend against upstarts like 15-year-old junior-class phenom Ricky Wells, who's determined to earn a spot on tonight's roster. Like clockwork, four eliminations lead to 20 races and four dramatic finals, 28 races in two hours of bar-banging drama. Young Wells impresses the mesmerized crowd, but BMOC Greg Hancock takes home the bling and by 10 o'clock, lights go out and fans head home with new stories to tell.

Costa Mesa Speedway begins its 40th season on May 3. Much more information, including a history lesson and loads of video can be found at [www.costamesaspeedway.net](http://www.costamesaspeedway.net/ target=).

Letting it all hang out on amateur afternoon.

Oxley does all he can to nurture the sport, including mentoring the next generation of "speedway dudes."

Form follows function, but a little style never hurts.

Otherwise known as methanol.

The beat goes on.

All revved up and ready to go...

Flat-trackers visit Costa Mesa on "amateur afternoon."

"Be nice to each other out there!" warns Brad Oxley before releasing the hounds on amateur afternoon.

Bump-start only and where's the brake?

Track is a mix of decomposed granite. Tastes like mud.

Tucked away next to livestock pens and a giant swapmeet, Costa Mesa Speedway remains the cradle of speedway racing in America. On May 3 it will kick off its 40th anniversary with the annual Spring Classic.

Think your commute is rough? Try Bryan Yarrow's.

Shown here on a 200cc junior speedway bike, multi-PW50 champion, Braydon Galvin grew up around speedway. Only 10, he's a third-gen racer and it shows. Family and sponsors are looking forward to seeing him on a 500cc bike.

The 909 representin'.