||Last Updated: Oct 25th, 2015 - 11:23:05
Australia showed the world what we are made of last night, as The 2015 DON Smallgoods Australian FIM Speedway Grand Prix held it’s 2015 Championship finale, in front of over 25,000 dedicated fans at Etihad Stadium in Melbourne.
The iconic venue, which is usually well known for hosting AFL matches, was transformed in to one spectacular speedway racetrack yesterday, providing the perfect stage for Australia’s stars to shine.
A parade of Australian Speedway legends kick-started proceedings this yesterday evening, before spectators were treated to the sweet sound of the Australian Children’s Choir singing the Australian National Anthem. Then it was the roar of bike engines that fired up the crowds, with racing all set to get underway.
With anticipation building, thousands of fans only had to wait until heat two to see the first Australian Troy Batchelor on track. And despite not getting the jump off the start he would have liked, wowed the crowds and set the stage for a huge night of racing.
After an action packed heat three, where Jason Doyle came to a firey finish with international rider Nicki Pederson, fans were treated to an action packed heat four, where Australian’s Chris Holder and Sam Masters went head to head, before a photo finish determined their finishing positions.
By heat seven Etihad Stadium completely erupted, with New South Welshman Doyle snatching up the first Aussie race win for the night, proving the Australian boys were there for business.
With heated battles left right a centre, and fierce rivalries emerging early in the night, the crowd were pumped with adrenaline packed racing, with newly crowned World Champion Tai Woffinden gaining the support of fans after taking second place in an earlier heat, when he came in to significant contact with a side barrier.
At the mid-way point of the evening, disaster appeared to have struck Australia’s Doyle, who took a huge impact in turn one during a heat race – however with a fighting Aussie spirit, Doyle returned to the circuit and to his bike, ready for the heat re-run.
Spectators were fed more action in heat 15, with Australia’s Batchelor and wildcard entrant Masters keeping spectators on the edge of their seats. Master’s eventually giving crowds plenty to cheer about, battling with international star Maciej Janowski for four laps to take a closely fought second place.
It was the final heat before the semi finals got underway, that provided the real treat of the night, with the three Australian’s Batchelor, Doyle and Holder all lining up for one loud, air horn blasting race.
At the conclusion of the four laps it was Doyle who had reason to celebrate - fighting off his Aussie compatriots to take the heat win, seeing him progress to the all important semi finals.
With only Doyle left to fly the Australian flag in the semi, all eyes were on his blue number 69 bib - fans eager to see the Aussie rise to the occasion and represent his country in the final.
And rise to the occasion he did – Doyle taking a spectacular second place in the opening semi final in front of a screaming crowd - seeing him line up alongside three other riders in the final, where the night’s winner would be crowned.
When riders lined up for the last time in 2015 last night, Australian fans erupted showing their support for Doyle who itched at the prospect of a win on home soil. However it wasn’t to be for the Newcastle star, who went down along with two others just after the first turn.
Despite Doyle’s fighting spirit, his night was ended prematurely – leaving the venue in the hands of medical staff, after what had looked to be a history making evening for the hardworking Newcastle boy.
Despite the final race of the night requiring a restart and Doyle unable to return to the track, the crowd remained supportive and in Doyle’s absence got behind three time World Champion Greg Hancock. Hancock, who even in his 40’s remains highly competitive, concluded the night with the final race win, and collected second place in the 2015 Speedway Grand Prix Championship.
When racing had wrapped up for the evening, crowds were treated one final time, as the 2015 FIM Speedway Grand Prix Champions were crowned, and a colorful fireworks display filled Etihad Stadium.
At the post event press conference it was confirmed that Doyle was conscious, and had been transferred to the Royal Melbourne Hospital for further treatment. Motorcycling Australia will endeavor to provide an update on his condition as information becomes available.
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