||Last Updated: Jul 17th, 2014 - 17:56:14
Troy Bayliss achieved the highest honour in motor cycle racing as World Superbike champion in 2001, 2006 and 2008 but until the Queens Birthday weekend in 2014 he had never won an Australian Championship.
Bayliss did not just lay that bogey to rest – he smashed it as he won three in the one day at the 2014 Ausmulch Australian Senior Dirt Track Championships staged at the Old Bar track on the weekend.
Significantly the now Gold Coast resident returned to Taree, where he started riding dirt track in his younger days, to achieve his greatest success in any class of motor cycle competition in his home country.
He raced at the Old Bar track in January over the past three years in a meeting that has evolved into the Troy Bayliss Classic, showing great form on a KTM 450 machine.
For the weekend Bayliss added a KTM 250 to his stable and entered three classes – the Pro 450, Pro 250 and Pro Open – and he won them all with varying degrees of difficulty against the country’s most accomplished dirt track riders.
All looked good for Bayliss on Saturday as he won his first two rounds in all classes, before he went winless in the third rounds on Sunday morning.
All eight championship classes provided thrills, excitement and drama, and a touch of controversy in several, before Bayliss emerged as the only competitor to achieve more than one class win.
Bayliss was not always in front after 50 metres, but usually was by the first corner, but even when he did not make the best of starts he stuck to the racing lines that worked so well and he was inevitably soon in control.
The first two attempts to run the Pro 450 final were red-flagged with Bayliss leading, when firstly Luke Richards and secondly Joshua Hook fell, before Bayliss finally got to the checkered flag ahead of Jarryd Oram(who only got to the final via the repechage) and Marty McNamara.
Six times Pro 250 champion Luke Richards narrowly led Bayliss in the final when it too was red-flagged, but in the re-run Bayliss was a comfortable winner while Richards recovered from a poor start to just beat Jared Myer (who also came via the repechage)for second.
The icing on the cake for Bayliss was the Pro Open final, this time leading home Michael Kirkness and Ian Hamilton (he too in the final via the repechage).
There was some mixed outcomes among the results as both McNamara and Hamilton failed to shed the tag of ‘best never to have won an Aussie title’, while Kirkness bravely battled through the meeting just a fortnight after breaking bones in both arms in a track mishap.
Former champion Paul Caslick took no part in racing on Sunday after suffering a broken wrist in a crash on the first day.
Riders from the oiled tracks like Taree and Kempsey were prominent in the action, although it was a disappointing sign-off for local star Ian Bisley who has unbeaten in leading the qualifiers in the Pro Open, but failed to take home hardware from any of the three finals.
Former World Supersport contender Matthew Davies was a deserving winner in the Under 19s class, although not making the best of starts in the final. In one of several ‘photo-finishes’ only split by the timing transponder Brayden Elliott edged out Bayley James for second.
Only one of the 2-wheel champions in 2013 made it back-to-back victories this year with Jessica Shepherd winning all five rounds of the Womens class to beat Amy Wedd and Georgia Murray.
Over the past five years the Dirt Track Sidecars have been dominated by two teams and although triple champions Corey and Tom Banks won their heat clash against Adam and Graham Liebke the result was reversed in the final as the Liebkes also became triple champions. Brad Banks / Stephen Hamilton finished third in the final.
The ATV riders played a significant role in the meeting having done many laps to dry out the track on Sunday morning before racing started .
This was the fifth year that the ATVs have had championship status, and for the first time South Australian Mel Brandle did not claim either of the class wins.
The honours were shared with Robert Booth (Pro) and Toby Hyde (Open) the winners as well as each taking second place in the other class, with Mel Brandle and Jack Weston third respectively.
Ian Bisley did manage to claim victory with an unbeaten run in the Over 35s support class, while the two junior classes saw victories to Max Stauffer over Jarred Loveday and Luke Bush (65cc 7 – Under 11) and Jack Hyde over Max Stauffer and Andrew Jordan (85cc 2str / 150cc 4str 9 – Under 13).
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