Billy Janniro captured his seventh national championship during the final round of the AMA Speedway National Championship Series at Fast Fridays Motorcycle Speedway in Auburn, Calif., on Sept. 16.
The seven championships ties Janniro, of Winters, Calif., with Mike Bast, who competed in the 1970s. World speedway champion Greg Hancock holds the current record of eight championships.
“Billy is a force to be reckoned with in the speedway world, and the AMA is pleased to award him his seventh AMA National Championship,” said AMA Track Racing Manager Ken Saillant. “I look forward to him returning to defend his championship.”
Janniro, 36, said winning the championship was a relief.
“I’ve had a hard couple of weeks with my [collarbone] injury, but it didn’t hurt all night until the last few races [when] I began to feel it,” Janniro said. “I honestly thought I would come here and win the 10 or 12 points I needed to win the championship and watch the rest of the races, but the competitive side of me said finish this out.”
During the four-round series, Janniro was not outscored in a round and was perfect in two of the rounds with 21 points.
Janniro is already setting his sights on next year.
“I have to win eight championships, and maybe Greg [Hancock] will retire [from world championship competition] and come back here, and we can battle it out for the next couple of years,” Janniro said.
Ninteen-year-old Max Ruml of Huntington Beach, Calif., finished second in the series. He was just 10 points behind Janniro heading into the final round. His brother, Dillon, finished the series in third.
“I came into the night thinking it was possible, and I did all I could,” Max Ruml said. “But it is what it is. Billy [Janniro] is an animal when he gets out in front, and it really hard to catch up to him.”
Ruml added that “there’s always next year” and that it was really cool to have his younger brother finish in the top three with him.
2016 AMA Speedway National Championship Results
Billy Janniro, 77
Max Ruml, 63
Dillon Ruml, 46
Gino Manzares, 43
Aaron Fox, 42
Luke Becker, 41
Broc Nicol, 40
Bart Bast, 40
Austin Novratil, 31
Tommy Hedden, 25
For more information about speedway racing, visit www.americanmotorcyclist.com.