||Last Updated: Mar 23rd, 2016 - 19:21:30
It has taken four years of planning, negotiations, learning all about international regulations, and improving the stadium to meet those regulations, but finally the official FIM Speedway Sidecar 1000cc World Cup will take place at Adelaide’s Gillman Speedway Stadium on Saturday night (26 March).
The World Cup will be the highlight of the weekend, but it is just one part of a three day speedway carnival.
On Good Friday the promoters will open the stadium with free entry to a “festival of speed” which will see over one hundred classic and current day speedway bikes and cars on display. There will also be interviews throughout the day with riders and drivers, including the visiting overseas sidecar riders here for the World Cup, plus a rock band and activities for kids – and repeating, all for free entry. The festivities will run from 10am until 4pm and then it will be time to shut up shop and start the final venue and track preparations for the World Cup 24 hours later.
Gates will open at 4pm on Saturday with racing starting at 7.30pm. Spectators arriving early will have free access to the pits to get a close up look at the bikes and their riders/passengers, and then the action begins, when seven of the best Australian riders, as determined by last season’s Australian Championship results, will take on riders from Great Britain, New Zealand and the United States of America.
The World Cup will be decided over 20 qualifying heats with the top three point scorers going into a final to decide the meeting winner. They’ll be joined in the final by the winner of a “last chance” semi-final for the next four highest scorers.
Favourites to win the World Cup will be Darrin Treloar/Blake Cox (NSW), Mick Headland/Jesse Headland (SA), Mark Plaisted/Darcy Risstrom (SA/Vic) and Warren Monson/Matt Morgan (Vic/Qld).
These riders are the best of the best. Treloar is the most successful rider in Speedway Sidecar history, Headland is a former World Track Racing Gold Trophy and World Championship winner, Plaisted is a former Oceania Champion and Monson is the current Australia #2, so the rest of the field will have their work cut out just to reach the final ahead of any of these riders.
Fellow Aussies Trent Headland (and British passenger Darryl Whetstone) and Damien Niesche/Mitchell Spear have been two of the most in-form riders this season however, so it would not be a shock if either, or even both, qualified for the final.
Being able to put together five good rides to consistently beat the top four will be the key, and likewise with the overseas riders. They showed in trials last meeting that they are going to be very competitive and entertaining against each other, but can they take enough points off the Australians to be in contention for a place in the semi-final? The Kiwis Andrew Buchanan/Denny Cox, Derek Ramsay/Matthew Ramsay and Aiden Thwaites/Shane Twiss, and Americans Joe Jones/Tom Summers looked to be the best chances.
The action then continues on Sunday night when the riders will contest round one of the Oceania Sidecar Championship. A second round will be held at Undera Park Speedway in Victoria on the following Saturday night.
Sunday night’s meeting will be the last meeting of the season at Gillman so the last chance to see the international riders in South Australia.
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