Ermolenko Is Favored in Field for American Final at Long Beach
Sam Ermolenko, who won three consecutive years, 1987-89, is fully recovered from injuries that forced him to quit after two heat races last year and is the favorite in the 10th American Final on the quarter-mile track at Long Beach Veterans Stadium tonight at 8.
The event is the first qualifying round for American motorcycle riders leading to the world championship.
Ermolenko’s competition figures to come from Ronnie Correy, Greg Hancock and Billy Hamill, all overseas riders. The top five scoring riders will advance to the Overseas Final. The world championship is scheduled Aug. 31 at Goteborg, Sweden.
On the program but not expected to ride is Shawn Moran of Huntington Beach, who won a year ago after a four-lap runoff against Hamill, Hancock and Rick Miller and went on to finish second in the world championship, losing to Sweden’s Per Jonsson in a runoff.
Moran was stripped of his second place and suspended for six months because he had failed a random drug test after the race in Bradford, England.
The test detected that Moran had taken the narcotic dextropropoxyphen napsylate before the race. Moran admitted that he bought an over-the-counter painkiller, distalgesic, to help alleviate the pain from four ribs broken in Sweden three weeks before the race.