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Reno Duo Wins Featured Races at Speedway Opener


International Speedway opened its 33rd season at the Orange County Fairgrounds on Saturday, and it turned out to be a stellar night for the city of Reno.

Mike Faria, an electrician in Reno, and his employee, Chris Manchester, won the scratch and handicap main events, respectively, on the renovated 1/8-mile oval.

Faria, a three-time national champion, caught a plane from Reno at 2 p.m., then rode Manchester's backup motorcycle to the checkered flag. He led from start to finish in the four-lap scratch main, holding off Corona's Gary Hicks.

Norco's Ryan Fisher, 17, finished third on a night when there wasn't a single pass for first place.

"I was late off the tape and I couldn't get to [Faria]," Hicks said. "When [he] got out front, it was over."

Manchester drove to Orange County after his workday ended on Friday and arrived about 2 a.m. Saturday.

"I had to bring my equipment for the season," said Manchester, who plans to compete the full season this year for the first time since 1993. "Mike didn't want to miss any work if it was rained out, so he waited until the last minute. He called and asked if he could use my bike. That bike [a 2001 Jawa laydown] had never been ridden; he broke it in."

Faria plans to run at least eight races this season, as well as some special events. Like Manchester, Faria will race in Auburn on Fridays and at Sacramento on Saturdays as the schedule allows.

The track had more grip than last season. "You needed throttle control like a brain surgeon," Hicks said. "Too much throttle, you were into the wall."

Manchester finished ahead of Hicks and Fisher in the eight-lap handicap main event. No rider started fewer than 40 yards from the start line in the handicap race, and Manchester had the lead going into the first turn. He was never seriously challenged.

"I looked back and there were a few people there," Manchester said, "but I knew they weren't going to get me."

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