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About Costa Mesa Speedway
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History of Costa Mesa Speedway
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National Champions
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Rules - Tracks, Bikes, Races, Scoring
About the Fairgrounds

Rules, Tracks, Bikes, Races, & Scoring

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Costa Mesa Track Stats

- Length: 185 yds. on the pole 1/10 mile.
- Shape: Varies from oval to football or egg with pole placement
- Width: Straight 33' Corners: 48'
- Surface: Clay base with D.G. surface
- Arena Size: 300' x 150'
- Seating Capacity: 8,750

The first modern United States National Championship was held at this very race track way back in 1969.

Although the sport of Speedway is constantly changing, the Costa Mesa Speedway track remains mush as it was when Steve Bast claimed that first title.

Sure the track has been widened a bit since then, but it still looks narrow at 60 mph with no brakes! And there is more banking now but that crashwall is just as hard as ever!

How about that awesome D.G. (decomposed granite) base which is trucked from North Hollywood and makes such a even track? It can also be a clumpy, muddy, rutted-out trip to plywood city during the wet early heats.

Costa Mesa Speedway remains too narrow, too tight and too difficult to ride a 500cc, methanol-burning, brakeless motorcycle around. Maybe that's why the racing here continues to be the most exciting and unpredictable in the world.

Keep an eye on the racing surface during the wet and heavy first round. Many championships have been won or lost when a rider fell victim to the event #1 muck!

Watch as the spinning rear wheel of the motorcycle creates two distinct racing lines, the inside groove and the outside cushion. The inside groove is the shortest, surest and often the fastest way around Costa Mesa Speedway. Unfortunately, a rider who is leading is most often blocking the inside groove causing a trailing rider no chance other than to try the outside cushion.

The outside cushion is the dark, fluffy dirt just beyond mid-track. Riders love it and hate it. It can propel a skilled rider past his competition or, through the wall! The outside cushion can pay big dividends or big penalties. Ouch!

The hot tip is to use the cushion when you have to, then get back to the safer groove. The ability to both read and ride is a major key to victory.

Costa Mesa Speedway Track 2007

Costa Mesa is small by comparison to tracks in Europe but many european fans agree that the shorter tracks make for more exciting racing. The racers are often wheel to wheel, shoulder to shoulder and grip to grip while they charge down the straights and double up in the turns.

Speedway Bikes

The sport of Speedway uses a unique type of 500cc motorcycle that are capable of going from zero to 60 in 2.5 seconds.

Machines used cannot:

- Use a Supercharger in any form
Be constructed in any part from Titanium
- Use uncoated ceramic parts
- Use telemetry during a race except for timing purposes
- Use any electronic components to control the engine
- Use brakes of any form

In addition all motorcycles must have a safety cut out device fitted, this is defined as a switch that "must cut off the circuit of the electrical supply by the simple action of pulling a lanyard or a non-elastic string (with a maximum length of 30 cm) attached to the rider's right wrist."

As Speedway bikes do not use brakes, the clutch is used as a release mechanism for starts.


Typical program is based on a championship format which has been used to determine speedway championships worldwide since 1930. It insures that every rider meets each one of his competitors once. It also gives a rider one start in each of the four start line positions. The catch is, each rider competes in five heats, so luck of the draw determines which position he starts from twice.
Points are scored 3-2-1-0 in each heat with a maxi¬mum score of 15 points possible from each riders 5 scheduled rides. Finishes are decided by two scorekeepers who record the race order at the end of each lap. Championship races are run over 4 laps. Points are awarded by the scorekeepers who determine all finishing orders. All riders must complete all 4 laps in order to earn points. No points will be awarded to riders who fails to complete 4 laps.

Scoring for
Heats with 4 riders
Place Points
1st 3
2nd 2
3rd 1
4th 0


1 -Don't touch the tapes!
2-Don't cause a restart
20 yard penalty
3-Don't cause another rider to fall or crash
20 yard penalty
4-Dangerous riding
5-You must finish on the lead lap to score points
6-Don't delay the start
20 yard penalty
7-Over 2 minutes

Starts are critical in a race which lasts only 50 seconds, and competitors know this. More races are won and lost in the first 30 feet between the tapes and turn one than anywhere else. Quick reactions and a good drive to turn one can put a rider in the perfect position to control the remainder of his race.

All riders are required to stage in their assigned box with the front wheel of his machine set 6"-12" from the tapes. When all riders are staged to the satisfaction of the referee the green light is turned on. Once the green light comes on the start is "eminent" and the tapes must go up within 2-5 seconds. During the staging period no rider shall touch the tapes or anticipate the start . Any rider who touches the tapes, anticipates the start or has a mechanical problem during the staging procedure shall be penalized.

If the starting gate malfunctions or in the opinion of the referee a rider rolls creating an "unfair start" the race may be stopped and restarted. If two or more riders touch the tapes simultaneously the race may be restated.

First Turn
The closest, scariest and most unpredictable action of each race will surely come in the first turn. Four riders all fighting for one position can mean only one thing, trouble. Be cautious in the first turn and watch the field ride away. Go for broke and there is a good chance you'll end up on your head.

If half of the field (two or more riders) falls before one lap is completed a full restart shall be ordered. A rider who is deemed to be the cause of the restart may be excluded from the restart. The race will not be stopped for a rider who falls alone unless a second rider caused him to fall in which case the second rider shall be excluded. A rider who falls alone and causes the race to be stopped "in the interest of safety" shall be excluded from the re-run. If all the "mays" and "shalls" are beginning to confuse you, don't feel alone!

Determining fault among four riders fighting over 12 feet of first turn real estate can be nearly impossible. When more than half the field falls in turn one look for a full restart unless one particular rider does something "ugly" to his opponents.

A rider who hopes to win a heat without being first to turn one has only one option, passing! Passing against the best short-track riders in the world is very, very difficult. Often it involves contact or stealing the leading riders line which results in contact. Controlled contact alone is not basis for exclusion, but knocking a competitor down may be. Contacting a rider or his machine front wheel first, taking him into the wall or losing control resulting in a crash are all basis for exclusion. Good close racing which results in one rider going down will most likely not bring out the red flag. Survival of the fittest is the game but speedway racing is not a demolition derby. Once again this is all judged by the referee and is at his discretion. No referee wants to decide a title with a call. He, like the fans, want the #1 to be earned on the track.

The referee has the best seat in the house to be judge of the starts, but has a tendency to order a full restart when he has any doubt as to who was at fault in a racing incident. When he does make a call however, it's the one "he" saw and he call 'em as he see's 'em.

Controversy is inherent and there is no reason to believe this years events will be any different. Some riders will push the rules and get caught, others will push them and be rewarded. No referee can see everything all the time. Every rider will take any advantage he feels he car get away with. It's the nature of the sport, it's what makes the racing exciting, it is SPEEDWAY!

Two minute warning
This period of time is standardized to two minutes from a time determined by the match referee. All riders must be at the tapes under their own power before the two minutes have elapsed. Additional time between races may be allowed by, and at the discretion of, the referee if a rider has two consecutive rides, to allow the rider time to prepare.

A rider who is not at the start line within a reasonable period of time is also liable to be disqualified.

Track boundaries
Marked by white lines or barriers on the inside and outside of the track, any rider who crosses this boundary with both wheels will be disqualified unless they only did so in the interest of safety or were forced to by another competitor.



Terry "Ike" Clanton

Announcer Assistant
Miranda Oxley

Pacific Ambulance

Associated Editors
Ryan Evans
Elaine Jones

Infield Stewards
Tyler Kegler
Jack Straw
Tom Fox
Evan Yoder
Ian Young

Line Marshall
John Creith

Pit gate Coordinator
Lynn E. Bennink

Pit Stewards
Gary Hicks Sr.
Ryan Evans

Mike Phipps
MSD-Photography & Videography

350MPH Photography

JT (Jim Thorn) -
Back it in photos

Program Printing
Dennis Fink Printing Inc.

Brad & Jaleen Oxley
International Speedway Inc.
P.O. Box 3334 San Clemente, CA 92674-3334
(949) 492-9933

Bryan Galvin

Phil Boronow

Jean Fink
Sandra Hicks

T-Shirt Sales
Melissa Ciedeburg

Vicki Filtz
Jonnel Barrett
Judy Loveland
Krysta Branson
Kaley Barrett

Track Electrician
Bruce Hedrick

Track Staff
John Creith
Lynn E. Bennink
Jim Brokaw

Mark Williams


International Speedway, Inc. | P.O. Box 3334 San Clemente CA 92674 | (949) 492-9933 - Fax (949) 492-2547