Buman wins Hank Bassett Cup/Legends Night at Champion Speedway

East Coast Speedway Series

Buman wins Hank Bassett Cup/Legends Night at Champion Speedway!

Story by Jason Bonsignore

Photos by Steve Koletar

June 28, 2014 Owego, NY

The largest gathering of Legends in years took place at Champion Speedway on June 28th. Not only were the stars of yesteryear there to socialize and see some great racing on a night normally dedicated to 4-time track Champion, “Hurricane” Hank Bassett, who now has MS, but they came to pay tribute to, and celebrate, the life of their friend and former long-time rider, Howie “The Hammer” Oakden, who had just passed after a battle with cancer. Howie was a great guy who had supported the sport for years and was loved by many as was evident by a sea of blue remembrance t-shirts, worn by family and friends, that swarmed the track’s infield for a ceremony just prior to the first race. Also joining in for the partial ash spreading ceremony was the family of George “Iron Horse” Lewis, another rider from that era who had passed a few years back. Led by his son, John, who would race in the regular program this night, the family thought it would be fitting to include George, as he loved speedway so much!

After the touching tributes concluded it was time for some hot action on the track! In the opening scratch heat round it was Casey Donholt taking a win with “Jammin” Jeff Garlinghouse second, Corey Brookes third and Dave Oakden fourth. The track was heavy early on and the speed was impressive for it. Mikey Buman would then use a good start to inch ahead of Adam Mittl and go the distance. Mittl would stay second with Jerry Harman third and Ron “The Reaper” Walker fourth. Sixty Six year old star from the original era, “Mean” Gene Bonsignore, who is still going strong, made a nice gate to lead the third heat for a bit until Jesse Diem used the excellent outside to overtake. It would remain Diem and Bonsignore at the end with Lewis third and Shawn “Steamboat” Engel fourth. Dave “Shark” Clark could not be caught as he went on to take the last event of the first round while Tuff McBride was second, Mike Robinson third, in a successful comeback after many years away, and Russ Cornell fourth. 

Donholt kept the pace going in the second series of heats with another win. This time Diem grabbed a second and Walker got on the board with a third over Cornell. Mittl then took three points with Bonsignore taking another second, Oakden third and Robinson fourth. Harman took his first victory on the night with Garlinghouse doing a nice job of holding off McBride for second. Lewis had bike trouble at the back. Buman would keep a perfect record as well with Brookes nailing second ahead of Clark and Engel.

McBride looked stronger in round three and won his event and Oakden was also getting comfortable and took second. Engel got his first point in third. Donholt was again sharp and beat Mittl with Clark third. Buman would beat Diem and Garlinghouse and then Bonsignore hit the tapes and got sent back to the penalty line. Harman blasted out of the tapes and led wire to wire with Brookes looking good in second and Bonsignore coming from behind to pass Cornell.

Several former stars took to the track at Intermission including former track Champion, East Coast Champ and US National Ice Champion, George “Lazorbeam” Lazor, Joey Sephton, Kelvin Herrala and Mikey Robinson, who resides in NZ. All rode some nice laps and Lazor in particular was very sharp!

Clark, Donholt, Buman and Mittl took home the bacon in the final run of heats while Harman, Oakden, Bonsignore and Diem held valuable second place points. WIth the way the points were tied amongst several riders and the program being longer than normal with the legends events, it was decided the top 3 in points…Donholt, Buman and Mittl, would go directly to the main and the top two riders from the last chance would transfer.

With the outside cushion staying so good late in the night some excellent racing was taking place and the final two races were to be the best as you would hope for…Bonsignore made an awesome start in the last chance and would lead for a lap or so until Clark made a beauty outside pass to take over. Bonsignore then held second for two more laps until Diem made a great pass up the inside for the last spot in the final. 

Just prior to the final, Jim “Dirty” Sanchez, would take his second win in two weeks in Division 3, while Brandon Bruzek did a fine job to lead the field home in Division Two. Lonni Whitmore won his third ATV pro Main.

The Hank Bassett Cup Final, sponsored by Tom and Georgia Robinson and the Robinson Cycle Sales Family, turned out to be very exciting…Buman took early control, only to have Donholt pass him and lead for another couple laps. Buman worked the outside very hard and in a bouncing off the wall move powered past Donholt to claim the title! Mittl kept a close distance behind them for the final rostrum position. Clark crashed hard early on and was out while Diem ended up fourth.

The next event at Champion Speedway is the New York State Championship July 19th!

Hank Bassett Cup Final
1. Mikey Buman
2. Casey Donholt
3. Adam Mittl
4. Jesse Diem
5. Dave Clark

Last Chance
1. Dave Clark
2. Jesse Diem
3. Gene Bonsignore
4. Jerry Harman

Division Two
1. Brandon Sturzenegger
2. Spencer Portararo
3. Don Wheeland
4. Roger Roberts
5. Dan Oakden

Division Three    
1. Jim Sanchez
2. Pat Farrell
3. Darell Riggs

ATV Pro
1. Lonni Whitmore
2. Shane Smith
3. Russ Cornell Jr

ATV AM
1. #76
2. #123
3. #37
4. #1155

Junior Speedway
1. Dalton Oakden
2. Johnny Scheg
3. Mason Higley
4. Kaitlyn Bailey

PW 50 Main
1. Lucas Reilly
2. Mason Higley
3. Derrick Manuell
4. Kayden Vargo

ATV MINI D-2
1. Atreyu Lattimer
2. Silas Farrell
3. Jacob Dzuenbeck

ATV MINI D-1
1. Lucas Reilly
2. Brooke Reynolds
3. Leon Jenney
4. #125

 

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