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Australian Speedway Last Updated: Nov 11th, 2015 - 09:57:09

Australian Speedway: Eagle Fuels sponsor Saturday's meeting at Gillman.
By Admin
Nov 11, 2015, 09:56

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The action continues at Gillman Speedway this Saturday night (14 November) for the third weekend running in a busy start to the season, with a 39 event programme of Solos, Sidecars and 250cc Junior Solos, with riders from South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales.

This meeting, sponsored by Eagle Fuels, has been the opening meeting in recent seasons, and although it has been pushed back to meeting number two this season to allow for the highly successful Darcy Ward Benefit Meeting to be run last weekend, it will still be the first meeting of the season for most of the Sidecars, so they’ll be out to impress to hopefully put their names forward for selection for some of the championship meetings coming later in the season.

Speedway Manager David Parker said “This meeting is always a good one. Riders seem to come out of the woodwork at the opening of the season and we end up with a lot of bikes and some very evenly ranked riders and consequently close racing. We have 20 Sidecars programmed so they have been split into two groups, both with their own semi-finals and finals.”

The Group 1 Sidecars will see the top eight riders go head-to-head and the favourite would appear to Riverland youngsters Arron and Teagan Hartwig, who reached the final last year, although they’ll want to have a better finish to the night than last year when their bike caught on fire! Likewise Melbourne’s Simon Hartley, who was in the mix last year despite a horrific looking crash in his first ride.

While the Hartwigs will be the favourites the other seven riders are all capable of taking out the final and it is hard to see who the four finalists will. Local riders Shane Rudloff and Tim Bichard will fancy their chances, while Paul Hemsworth from Kurri Kurri in New South Wales went through the Group 2 races unbeaten last year, leading home another of Saturday night’s Group 1 riders, Victoria’s Mark Radford in the final. The remaining riders, both from Mildura, Chris Dess and Neale Hancock, have also done well at Gillman in the past, and Dess was unbeaten in last season’s Division 2 Championship, beating Rudloff and Bichard in the final.

The Group 2 Sidecars are wide open with a number of the riders having a similar amount of experience and ability, and with the added intrigue of a few surprise names in the line-up, with former riders Mick Tucker, Steve Fowler and Steve Browne returning to the sport. It will be interesting to see how they fare, but they face strong opposition, particularly from Kym Menadue and Dean Hobbs, who were finalists last season, and Klae Hobbs who recently won a round of the East Coast Sidecar Roundup at Undera in Victoria.

In the Solo ranks, Darcy Ward Benefit finalist Justin Sedgmen is back, along with English rider Richie Worrall and Mildura’s Brodie Waters, who were both just short of a semi-final place last meeting. They’ll be joined in the Group 1 races by Mildura teenagers Cooper Riordan and Jaimon Lidsey. 16-year-old Lidsey had a baptism of fire last meeting when he started alongside the former World Champ Chris Holder in his first 500cc ride at Gillman, but he was on the pace and won’t be out of his depth in the top group.

A number of other teenagers will ride in Group 2, including another 16-year-old who made an impressive 500cc debut last meeting, Dakota Ballantyne. Ballantyne scored his first senior win in his second ride, but the more experienced Jordan Stewart, from Mildura, who turns 17 on Friday, had his measure in their other clashes.

In the Under 16 250cc races, South Australians Mitchell Grech and Brayden McGuinness will take on Victorians James Davies and Oliver Hamilton, while twelve younger riders from SA and Victoria will take part in the junior 125cc races on the infield track during the brief track grades.

Racing starts: at 7.30 pm. Free spectator access to the pits until approximately 6.30 pm.

500cc Solos (10): Dakota Ballantyne, Gary Fischer, Seth Hickey, Jaimon Lidsey (Vic), Blake Ridley, Cooper Riordan (Vic), Justin Sedgmen (Vic), Jordan Stewart (Vic), Brodie Waters (Vic), Richie Worrall (Eng)

Sidecars (20): Chris Bichard/Brett Lewis, Keith Bichard/Michael Bell, Tim Bichard/Franco Vasile, Steve Browne/Scott Morris, Chris Dess/Brenton Kerr (Vic), Steven Fowler/Scott Kauschke, Neale Hancock/Brendon Johnson (Vic), Simon Hartley/Travis Debono (Vic), Arron Hartwig/Teagan Hartwig, Paul Hemsworth/Rodney Russell (NSW), Dean Hobbs/Andy Westover, Klae Hobbs/Mitchell Spear, Kym Menadue/Eric Melton, Luke Puddy/Damian Egan, Mark Radford/Chris Walker (Vic), Shane Rudloff/Tom Adams, Aaron Silvy/Adam Pascoe, Brian Silvy/Josh Knott, Mick Tucker/Corey Palmer, Darryll Woods/Will Walker

250cc Junior Solos (4): James Davies (Vic), Mitchell Grech, Oliver Hamilton (Vic), Brayden McGuinness

125cc Junior Solos (12): Connor Bailey, Fraser Bowes, Patrick Bowes, Mitchell Grech, Hugh Evans, Patrick Hamilton (Vic), Liam May, Jack Norman, Teagan Pedler, Nicholas Possingham, Layne Riordan (Vic), Jack Sadler,

Admission prices: Adults $25, Age Pension and Student Concession $20 (*), Children 12-15 $5, Under 12 free. Family $55. Programme $5, Grandstand seating free, Parking free.

Sponsor: Eagle Fuels, your one stop Adelaide based Fuel and Lubricants distributor.

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