BRITISH SIDECARS TAKE SPECTACULAR WIN
British Sidecar Champions, Mark Cossar and Darryl Whetstone took the “Curly” Carmes Trophy for winning the CLEANAWAY Sidecar Spectacular at Mildura’s Olympic Park on Saturday night.
Cossar and Whetstone were in excellent form all night, riding firstly in a depleted Group B, which was stricken by some late withdrawals, but they ended up with a “first choice” of gates for the Final.
Second place in the event again created history, as Mick Cave and Ben Goddard, also from England came in behind their British compatriots in a best result for the pair from Kent. Young Mildura combination, Adon “AJ” Pearce and Brodie Gebhart finished in third place in a “best result ever” for the youngsters, who ride together for convenience.
Sadly for the night’s other top scorers, Shane Hudson and Brad Pitt from the Hunter Valley, started poorly, getting caught in a wheel rut and were taken infield, from where they took no further part in the final.
The night commenced with some unavoidable attrition, sadly affecting only one half of the main program as only four riders were available to contest the “B” group of seven riders. Program changes were made which kept four riders in each event on the track, so patrons were always fully entertained.
Some excellent heat races were conducted with Cossar and Hudson Junior dominating in their group while Hudson’s father Phil Hudson / Nathan McFadden top scored in the “A” group ahead of Mick Cave / Ben Goddard and Byren Gates / Mick O’Loughlin who were tied. A count back was required to separate the next in line which was AJ Pearce / Brodie Gebhart and young Shepparton brothers, Ashley and Mitch Duncan. Sadly for the Goulburn Valley pair, the count back saw them miss on the semi final after they had ridden so well during the heats.
An eventful semi final saw Hudson senior, Cave, Gates and Pearce take to the start with Cave getting the best of the start. After one lap Cave still lead over Hudson and Gates, who were riding virtually side by side. Through turn one it seemed as though Hudson just lost traction slightly and Gates, who was still driving well, just touched the front wheel of the Hudson machine, with the result that Hudson flipped high into the air and some great work by the lesser experienced Pearce locked up immediately to avoid the fallen Hudson and McFadden. A red light stopped the racing and the dilemma was “who was the cause?” A decision, which was unpopular in some quarters, was reached and Gates was excluded from the re-run, much to Gates’ and O’Loughlin’s personal disgust. The decision clearly could have gone either way, depending on what was seen, however speedway Referees do not have any discretionary power and a decision, however bold, must be given.
In the re-run, Cave made light work of the semi, with Pearce placing second and an excellent appearance in a major final at Olympic Park.
By virtue of the smaller numbers in the other half of the program, Cossar and Shane Hudson were selected into the main event by their heat point scores.
The final was a superb event, with Cossar clearly dominating and after the infield excursion to Hudson / Pitt, the field spread with Cave taking a clear second with Pearce / Gebhart settling for a wonderful “first ever” podium position.
Support events for the night saw the Classic Sidecars entertain the crowd with some fine racing, especially by the evergreen, Robbie Kemp, from Broken Hill. Kemp, using Mildura’s Nick O’Brien as passenger was excellent from the starts, something which had not been happening for Kemp, who rides a 750cc, 2 stroke Suzuki, which was a fast and popular bike in its day. Many of Australia’s top riders chose the famous ”Water Bottle” as their race machine with Kemp being one of those riders who made the Suzuki popular.
Interestingly Kemp, last Saturday rode in his 35th Mildura Sidecar Spectacular, firstly in the top grade and only sitting out on his retirement, when he came down to watch and then he resumed his affection for the longest running Sidecar, non Title event in Australia when he took to Classic racing.
In the Classic Final, Kemp was top scorer, from Simon Cohrs / Reece Farr with Paul Donnelly /Jamie Knudsen next from family combination, Rod and Brodie Gebhart, with Gebhart the younger having a busy night as passenger for both his Dad, in the Classics and for his good mate, AJ Pearce and being so successful in the evenings finals.
Next effort for the competitors from last night’s meeting will be for the Qualifying meeting for the 2014 Australian Sidecar Championship, which will be held in Kurri Kurri, NSW on 28th and 29th March.
Those accepted into the Qualifying meeting are the “Spectacular” winners, Mark Cossar / Dazl Whetstone, locals, Byren Gates / Mick O’Loughlin, Broken Hill’s Ricky Stephens / Dacry Risstrom and the Hudson family from NSW where Shane Hudson / Brad Pitt and Hudson’s father, Phil Hudson / Nathan McFadden are included in the field..
Next meeting at Mildura’s Olympic Park Complex will be the staging of the Easter Arena Motorcross event, which will be the Victorian Championship meeting for Arena Motorcross. The big Easter special will commence at 5:00pm on Saturday 19th April and will continue under the permanent lights of the Olympic Park Arena Motorcross facility.