Thirty-two riders will compete for 14 berths in the U.S. Championship of speedway motorcycle racing tonight in the fifth of six qualifying rounds at the Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa.
Twenty-three riders from Southern California will compete against eight Northern California riders and Bruce Nelson of New York in 30 scratch races. The top 14 riders in the points standings following Sunday's final round at Carlsbad Raceway will join John Cook and Shawn Moran in the U.S. Championship scheduled for Oct. 12 at the Fairgrounds.
Alan Christian of Huntington Beach won the opening qualifier in Auburn, and Mike Faria of Colton won the next in Ventura. Sam Ermolenko won Wednesday's qualifier at San Bernardino, coming from behind to defeat Kelly Moran in the main event.
In one program change, Dave Faria of Vallejo has been scratched for failing to ride at Ventura and has been replaced by Tony Briggs of Dana Point.