Ermolenko Seventh in Speedway Final
Three speedway motorcyclists from Southern California were unsuccessful in their bids to win the world championship at the World Final here Saturday night.
Sam Ermolenko of Cypress finished seventh in the 16-rider field with nine points. Ermolenko rode with a broken right knee that he sustained in a crash two weeks ago in Ipswich, England. He lost in his first heat to eventual champion Jan O. Pedersen of Denmark but came back in the next two races to finish first and second.
Ermolenko dropped out of contention in his fourth heat when he retired on the last lap of the four-lap race. Ermolenko, 30, had finished second in the 1985 World Final and third in 1987 and 1988.
Ronnie Correy of Fullerton won his opening heat but faded when he failed to score in his second and third heats. Correy, 24, finished with six points.
Billy Hamill, 21, from Monrovia, also scored six points in his first World Final. He finished second in his first heat but was excluded in his next heat when he broke the starting tape.
Pedersen had a perfect night, scoring 15 points in five heats to win his first world championship. Tony Rickardsson of Sweden was second with 12 points and Hans Nielsen of Denmark defeated countryman Tommy Knudsen in a four-lap runoff for third. Both riders scored 11 points.