STRONG BATTLE FOR VICTORIAN TITLE
BATTLE FOR VICTORIAN SIDECARS
One of the hottest Victorian Sidecar Titles in recent history should match the hot conditions on Friday night when Mildura’s Olympic Park hosts the Platinum Electrical, 2018 Victorian Sidecar Championship.
In what will be a great 26th January, Australia Day celebration, the Mildura Club is delighted to have a crack field to contest the event with riders vying for qualification to the Australian Titles to be held later in April this year. The major prize is a good accreditation either by winning the prestigious event or putting up a great show to the selectors of the National Title field for possible inclusion in the big dance.
Mildura is well placed with strong representation, headed by FIM Sidecar Gold Cup winners, Warren Monson / Andrew Summerhayes, along with former State Champion, Byren Gates / Mick O’Loughlin and Club President, Neale Hancock / Brock Gates, with both teams riding in great form as well as Clint Mayes / Sean Coleby, AJ Pearce / Eli Bock, Nathan Cock / Jack Wilson and Chris Dess / Cam Diwell.
Monson has been in wonderful form with his special machine seeming to suit the confines of Olympic Park with he and Andrew Summerhayes gelling together as a great team while Gates is always a wily competitor, often not standing out, but making it to the important finals by consistently scoring good points in the heats.
Strong riders have been seeded into the Championship by the Victorian Speedway management selectors who have included current Australian Champions, Trent Headland / Daz Whetstone, with Whetstone being another Mildura representative riding alongside the effervescent younger Headland, who is based in Roxby Downs. Travel seems to be no trouble for the “Roxby Rockets” team who move around the country with ease, but always supporting meetings at Olympic Park. Trent rides with good controlled aggression and always has some fast lines around Olympic Park.
Dual World Champion, Mick Headland and local passenger, Brenton Kerr have settled well as a team and Mick is back to his World Championship form. Team 107 are always on the pace and would expect a podium finish just like more than half of the field. Mick seems to have no fear and always puts on a great show.
Defending Victorian Champion, Mark Plaisted, with local passenger, Ben Pitt would fancy their chances of going back to back and taking an automatic qualifier to the Nationals later on.
Plaisted is a tough competitor and has been made better by the skills of Pitt, who is one of Mildura’s great Sidecar passengers. It is always interesting to see individuals who become great passengers and Mildura has had plenty in the past and has many good ones right now. Plaisted is not frightened to mix with any other riders and often gets his way by race end.
Former Kiwi, turned Australian for speedway, Andrew “Spud” Buchanan, with one of the famous passenger Cox family members, Denny Cox on board, will be looking to do well. Buchanan is a hard charger but rides fairly having formerly had his wife Phillip Burns as a talented passenger. Buchanan would expect to figure in the finals action as he knows his way around the famous Mildura circuit very well.
Winners of the first ever, Gates Sidecar Cup, back at the Club’s 70th birthday celebrations in November last year, the SA brother and sister team of Aaron and Teagan Hartwig have now got the Mildura track dialed in as they showed great form back at the 70th. The team is lightweight which gives them some advantage through the turns and when they power down the straights. They too could expect to be featuring with State honours.
Another team to watch out for will be the Queensland based Dave and Chris Bottrell, who never take racing anything other than serious. The Bottrells have spent some recent time in Adelaide but are regulars at Mildura as they love the tightness of the Olympic Park circuit.
The Broken Hill pair of Rick Howes / Adam Commons are fresh for doing very well last week at Kurri Kurri where they featured on the podium in the Garry Treloar Memorial, “Roll the Dice” meeting. The Silver City team is always good at Mildura, which is really their home track and they will expect to be another team expecting a podium position. Damien Niesche / Mitch Spear are amongst that highly credentialed group who would expect to see a podium spot as they also have a good record at Mildura.
More than a dozen teams out of the sixteen could reasonably expect to finish in the top group, so the meeting will be an absolute cracker from start to finish. Points will be hard to come by, with none coming easily, but teams will have to fight for minor placings to ensure that their scoreline is ticking along all night.
Support events will include some races for the meeting Reserves as well as a Classic Sidecar group who will entertain the expected large crowd.
The Mildura Motor Cycle Club’s strong “Heat policy” will come into action for the second week in a row when the Victorian Junior Sidecar Championships will be conducted by being interspersed through the Senior Title event. The Juniors will not ride ahead of the senior meeting as their regular start time will be too hot, so they will ride once the temperature has cooled off a little.
The Juniors will like getting out during senior race time and will especially enjoy having the support of patrons as they undertake their Title event.
Gates will open at 5:00pm as usual at Olympic Park with a short Practice session commencing at 6:30.
Patrons are reminded that there will be no action trackside until 6:30 due to the expected heat of the day.
Rider introduction and acknowledgement of Australia Day will take place before the meeting from 7:15pm. Racing will commence as usual at 7:30 pm.
Olympic Park is fully catered with great food and drinks and patrons are reminded that there must be No BYO by law.