||Last Updated: Jan 5th, 2015 - 10:23:43
English rider James Sarjeant won the 2015 New Zealand Solo Championship raced at Moore Park Speedway – West Melton on Saturday in a brilliant final by less than a bike length from Invercargill’s Hayden Sims from Dale Finch and Andy Aldridge, both from Christchurch.
Sarjeant, aged 21 is racing out of Invercargill’s Oreti track over the summer as part of Interprovincial teams league series had to pull out all the stops to defeat Sims who impressed and almost pulled of what would be been a stunning sensational victory in what was his debut senior NZ Final
Sims was the only rider to go through the qualifying heats undefeated with the 18 years old inflicting the first of two defeats by the defending champion, Jason Bunyan who was chasing a record 10 national title. In the final Sims, from gate four blasted around the outside of Aldridge to lead coming out of the first turn with closely followed by Finch and Sarjeant. The latter quickly accounted for both the local riders to trail Sims after the first of the four laps. The two leaders were locked together at half distant and raced side by side for the next lap with Sarjeant managing to take the lead on the back straight for the final time with Sims trying to force his way back in front on the outside line with Sarjeant going on to win by the half a metre with Finch getting by Aldridge on lap three to claim third place.
Eighteen year old Sims second placing must now be among the front runner in the selectors mind for New Zealand spot for the World Under 21 qualifiers to be raced in Europe later in the year after finishing in third place in the recently run NZ Under 21 title with the Invercargill rider heading off to England after Easter to try his luck and hopefully force his way into a spot a team.
Bunyan who is tied with Christchurch Larry Ross with nine titles, looked set to reach the final when holding a close second place to Sarjeant the second semi-final only to be force to retire when the lead came away from the top of the spark plug cap to bring to an end a eleven year sequence of finishing on the rostrum for the blue ribbon event., with his nine wins coming in three blocks of three wins in a row then a gap.
Results 2015 New Zealand Solo Championships – Riders from Christchurch unless stated.
Qualifying Points: Sims 9, Finch 8, Sarjeant 8, Aldridge 7, Bunyan 7, Terry-Daley 6, Tocher 6, Tregoning 6, Moss 5, McCluskey-Young 3, Stockton 3, McRae 3, Cox 1, Wayne Drake 0, Glen Sole 0.
Repercharge 1. Moss 1, Tocher 2, McRae 3. 67.6
Repercharge 2. Tregoning 1, McCluskey-Young 2, Stockton 3. 67.2
Semi-Final 1. Aldridge 1, Sims 2, Moss 3. 66.2
Semi-Final 2. Sarjeant 1, Finch 2. Tregoning retired, Bunyan e/f. 63.9
Final. Sarjeant 1, Simms 2, Finch 3, Aldridge 4. 63.4
With thanks to Gavin Searle.
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