||Last Updated: Nov 16th, 2015 - 10:38:57
Some hot racing compensated for the very cold weather in an entertaining meeting at Gillman Speedway on Saturday night (14 November), and staff of the meeting sponsor, Eagle Fuels, went home happy when their sponsored pair, Simon Hartley and Travis Debono won the main event, the Group One Sidecar Final.
Group One was restricted to the best eight riders, and the racing was close and unpredictable, with five different winners in the first five heats. The top three scorers, who earned direct qualification to the Final, were Shane Rudloff/Tom Adams on 10 points, and Victorians Hartley/Debono (8) and Chris Dess/Brenton Kerr (7).
Rudloff dropped his only points to Arron Hartwig/Teagan Hartwig, while Hartley was only beaten in his first ride by Neale Hancock/Brendon Johnson, but dropped a further three points when he spun out of control after a touch from Hartwig in heat six, which earned Hartwig an exclusion. Coupled with a pointless opening ride that put Hartwig (6) into the Semi-Final along with Tim Bichard/Franco Vasile (6), Hancock/Johnson (5) and Kurri Kurri’s Paul Hemsworth/Rod Russell (2).
After a comfortable win against Hartley and Hartwig in their opening ride, Hancock looked a good bet for the final, but dropped 4 points through twice being excluded from second place finishes for cutting infield in turn four.
Hancock was no threat to Hartwig in the Semi-Final, however, with Hartwig winning by a small but comfortable margin from Hancock, with Hemsworth getting under Bichard on lap three for third place.
In the Final, Hartley/Debono led all the way to win from Hartwig/Hartwig, Rudloff/Adams and Dess/Kerr, who had a furious three-way race for the minor placings, exchanging places throughout the race and finishing within a few metres of each other.
Unlike the Group One races with its mix of winners, the Group 2 Sidecar races were dominated by Klae Hobbs/Mitchell Spear who went through the card unbeaten, although they made hard work of the Final after four very easy wins in the heats.
Group two started on a bad note when Chris Bichard/Brett Lewis were thrown heavily when their forks broke in the first race, and there was a 25 minute delay while Bichard received attention for a broken ankle. Surprisingly, despite the delay, the 39-event programme still finished at the regular time of 10.30pm – a tribute to the track preparation by Dave Parker and Seane Chapman, and the officials for pushing the events through.
Joining the maximum men, Hobbs/Spear, in the Final were Aaron Silvy/Adam Pascoe (10), comeback rider Steve Fowler/Scott Kauschke (9), and Dean Hobbs/Andy Westover (9), who won a thrilling Semi-Final.
Dean Hobbs rode the best race of his short career to beat another comeback rider, Mick Tucker (passenger Corey Palmer), in the Semi-Final, after they exchanged the lead four or five times. Tucker and Fowler both did enough on the night to show they will be good additions to the Gillman Sidecar ranks, and Tucker (8) could have actually edged Fowler out of one of the direct spots into the final if he had not run infield in the last heat when guaranteed of at least second place.
On heat form, the Final looked to be a sitter for Klae Hobbs, but it was Fowler who took the early lead, and on the second lap, Silvy passed Hobbs for second place when Spear almost fell from the bike. But everything changed within the next half a lap as first Fowler lost control on the back straight and ran off the track, and then Hobbs passed Silvy and he went on to win with Silvy second and Dean Hobbs third.
The highlight of the supporting Solo races was the dices between British League riders Justin Sedgmen and Richie Worrall. The pair met in four of the six Group 1 races, with Sedgmen winning three of the four, including the Feature race which Worrall led for three laps.
Fans are hoping the duo will be back for a repeat effort in a fortnight’s time when the Jack Young Cup will be the feature event. Sedgmen is a past winner of the event, but that was back in 2011, and Ty Proctor is the current Cup holder.
Another highlight was a good first ride by 16-year-old Jaimon Lidsey to beat Brodie Waters for second place behind Worrall. Lidsey, Waters and Riordan had some good races for the minor placings but, understandably, were no threat to the two British League riders.
The Group 2 races were also dominated by two riders, teenagers Jordan Stewart and Dakota Ballantyne. 16-year-old Ballantyne, in only his second meeting, beat Stewart first time out, but Stewart, who turned 17 the day before the meeting, won their other two clashes to top score with 11 points to Ballantyne’s 10.
Craigieburn (Victoria) rider James Davies won all four Under 16 250cc Solo races with ease, and it will be interesting to see if he is any threat to Stewart and Ballantyne when he steps up to the 500cc class in the New Year.
The Under 16 125cc Solo races on the infield junior track were understandably dominated by the Australian Champion Jack Norman. Norman had no challengers with Mitchell Grech the best of the rest, but he is now a better rider in the 250cc class than he is on the 125s.
With thanks to Dave Parker.
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