||Last Updated: Apr 5th, 2016 - 18:34:07
Local motorcycle dirt track racers will face plenty of tough opposition at the 27th annual Trackmasters meeting to be staged at the Barleigh Ranch Raceway this weekend (April 9 and 10).
The Trackmasters was first held at the Newcastle Showground back in late 1980s, but has become a regular feature meeting in recent years on the Hunter Motor Cycle Club calendar.
This year will see the Trackmasters meeting take on added significance as riders will be looking ahead to the Australian Senior Dirt Track Championships to be staged at the same venue in August.
Hunter Motor Cycle Club spokesman Keith Davies is pleased with the entry list received for this weekend.
“The Barleigh Ranch track has been praised by riders over the past two years and as word has spread we have been attracting more riders to our meetings” said Davies.
“As well there is the added incentive for riders to check out the track before August” he added.
While this weekend will see track racing (on the oval track) in contrast to the upcoming dirt track titles (which has a right-hander added to the track) there are some riders who will be making an infrequent outing on the track this weekend.
Even veteran Paul Caslick will be making a rare appearance at Barleigh Ranch.
The multi title winner showed last month that he is still a threat regardless of the opposition when he finished a close second in the Grand Slam meeting which boasted a Championship-quality field at Temora.
Two riders – Matthew Davies from West Wyalong and Jarred Brook from North Brisbane- are heading back to the Hunter for the first time since their highly successful junior days which laid the foundation for already plenty of success in senior racing.
The ‘award’ for the long distance traveler for the meeting goes to Andrew McLeish from Proserpine. He has a good record in Queensland championships and on his last trip to Newcastle finished an impressive second behind English rider Chris Hodgson in the Australian Supermoto Championship around the harbour foreshore last June.
Hunter Motor Cycle Club members, particularly the likes of Tony Thomas and the James brothers, Bayley and Mitchell, will be out to show that despite the quality opposition that they are still best on their home track.
Dirt Track sidecars and the ATVs are also part of the program this weekend with another long distance traveler Mal Brandle from Adelaide is coming to tune up for August’s national title showdown.
The junior classes, which continue to be a highly productive nursery of talent, also are part of weekend’s program.
Among the entries in the older age brackets are three standouts from the recent Australian Junior Track Championship meeting on the Easter weekend – two locals, dual champion Billy van Erde and Mackenzie Childs and Brisbane rider Max Whale.
Another Brisbane rider Jhett Calderwood was also a dual champion from Easter and he looms as the rider to beat in the younger age brackets.
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