CHAMP ON THE CHARGE: New World Speedway Champion Jason Doyle joins the field for the Phil Crump Solo Trophy at Olympic Park on Sunday night.
SULTANS OF SLIDE – By Brendon Gledhill
A SPEEDWAY meeting unique in the world will be seen at Olympic Park on Sunday night.
Mildura Motorcycle Club celebrates its 70th anniversary by having World Solo Champion, Jason Doyle, and World Sidecar Champions, Warren Monson and Andrew Summerhayes, riding in the celebratory meeting. Never before have the World Champions from both disciplines in the sport ridden at the same event.
Jason Doyle was crowned 2017 World Speedway Champion at Melbourne’s Etihad Stadium last Saturday night. Doyle scored enough points by winning his first three heat rides to take the Championship mid-meeting, and then went on to win the Speedway Grand Prix, scoring a superb 19 points to comfortably take the crown ahead of Pole Patryk Dudek and the UK’s Tai Woofinden.
Warren Monson and Andrew Summerhayes won their World Championship by winning a single title event at Adelaide’s Gillman Speedway at the end of last season in fine style.
Mildura’s 2017 season had been completed prior to the 2017 World Title event, so this Sunday’s meeting is the first time for Mildura patrons to congratulate the local Sidecar Title stars.
Doyle and Monson and Summerhayes will lead the large parade of riders prior to the 7pm start of the Phil Crump International Trophy and the Gates Sidecar Cup which will feature some of the best riders in the land.
The GT Onsite Windscreens Phil Crump International Trophy has some of Australia’s best international riders.
Doyle is at the top of the stack, while internationals Justin Sedgmen, Nick Morris, Rohan Tungate, and Robert Branford will be among the riders to try to spoil the Doyle party.
Mildura youngsters Jordy Stewart, Jaimon Lidsey, Cooper Riordan and South Australia lads Dakota Ballantyne and Rob Medson will try hard against other visitors, James Davies and former 250cc dual World Champion Matthew Gilmore, all of whom will work hard to take points from the other riders.
Doyle has had a wretched three months and it will be wonderful to see him ride with ‘no pressure’ on him. The Mildura Club just hopes that Jason can take his rides and just enjoy riding his bike, as that has been contrary to the tough conditions of the last few GP’s.
Massive injuries have befallen Doyle in each of the last two seasons and he will have this season’s badly broken foot repaired when he gets back to Europe in a couple of weeks.
Doyle has amazed speedway people by being able to ride and focus while carrying significant injuries. He has plates and screws in his foot after he broke bones in a savage crash mid-season.
Sedgmen comes fresh from a Grand Prix berth and a good meeting last weekend where he finished ahead of the current Aussie Champion, Masters and former 2012 World Champion, Chris Holder.
Rohan Tungate will still be thrilled with his two wins from two starts as second reserve at the SGP. Tungate finished with six points, finishing in ninth place, only missing the semi-finals by a single point.
Nick Morris has finished the British season in good form and Lidsey will be better for having joined Team Under 21 Australia just six weeks ago in Europe, as the Australians contested the FIM Under 21 Team Speedway final with Lidsey as reserve.
Jordy Stewart had a great weekend last weekend when he was a spectator at SGP and then journeyed to Broadford last Sunday and won the Victorian Under 21 Championship ahead of both Riordan and Lidsey in a keenly contested meeting at State Headquarters.
The Riordan’s Paint and Panel Gates Sidecar Cup will celebrate the involvement of the Gates family in Sidecar speedway now over three generations.
The field will feature former World Champions Darrin Treloar and Jesse Headland as well as dual World Champion Mick Headland, with Brenton Kerr, and current Australian Champions Trent Headland and Daz Whetstone.
Also lining up will be State Champions and Australian podium finishers Shane Hudson and Cam Bell, Broken Hill’s Rick Howse and Adam Commons, SA’s Mark Plaisted and Ben Pitt, Damien Niesche and Jack Spear, brother and sister team Arron and Tegan Hartwig, locals Byren Gates and Mick O’Loughlin, club president Neale Hancock and Dean Hobbs and Clint Mayes and Sean Coleby.
All this group of 11 riders will be trying to take the crown from Monson and Summerhayes in their first outing as current World Champions.
Support events will feature the ‘Ductmakers’ Solo Legends where old stager, Australian team manager Mark Lemon, will pit his skills against former international Travis McGowan and locals Chris Ferguson and Jason Stewart. This foursome will always be entertaining although fitness could tell a tale by night’s end.
The ‘Aus Glazing’ Classic Sidecars will also ride in support of the main three-wheelers.
Racing will be the evergreen Broken Hill specialist, Bob Kemp with Rex Byrne on side. Again from the Silver City is father-son combination of Chris and Ces Fraser who will test their skills against John Bennett and Jamie Knudsen, and Chris Wakefield and Naomi Bullock.
However, the team everyone will be watching is Byren Gates and Micky O’Loughlin. They’ll be riding the old number 50, which was ridden with great skill by John and Les Gates back in the day. The Kawasaki has been dusted down and tuned up ready to be featured on Gates Sidecar Cup night in a fitting tribute to John and Les from yesteryear.
A Junior meeting will be the curtain-raiser from 6pm onwards. The kids will provide an excellent appetite-whetting for the main event which will start with a spectacular rider’s parade from 6.40pm. Solo action begins from 7pm.
Olympic Park has excellent free grandstand facilities, and there will be no BYO by law.
A wonderful full colour Souvenir program will be available as a momento of the 70th Anniversary meeting.