YOUNG GUNS DOWN UNDER: Tomorrow’s Jason Lyon Solo Trophy will have a distinctly international flavour, with, PIC 1, Dan Bewley (UK), Kyle Bickley (UK), Tom Brennan (UK), and Szymon Szlaudebach (Poland) amongst a number of riders calling Mildura home over the coming weeks. Our own Justin Sedgmen, PIC 2, also comes into the event in hot form after claiming the 2019 Victorian Solo Title. Photos: Wade Aunger

By BRENDON GLEDHILL

ONE of the most prominent meetings for Solo riders at Olympic Park this season will be held tomorrow night when the Jason Lyons Trophy will be decided amongst 16 of the best riders to be seen at Mildura for some time.

The field includes new British Speedway Champion, Charles Wright, along with his countrymen Dan Bewley, who last Saturday won the Jack Young Cup at Gillman, Tom Brennan and Kyle Bickley, with Emil Grondal from Denmark and Szymon Slauderbach from Poland also making a strong international line-up.

All these young international stars are residing in Mildura for about five weeks and they, especially Wright, will be keen on maintaining their good season’s form whilst enjoying the sunshine of Sunraysia after having such a wet end to the British season.

Matched up against these international riders are our own Solo stars. Justin Sedgmen is in great form after taking the 2019 Victorian Solo Title last week against good company at Undera. Jaimon Lidsey was the highest-scorer during the heats on the same night, and Jordan Stewart has recently come off a Knock Out Cup in England with Red Car Bears, alongside Charles Wright.

All three have been strong in their support of having the visiting riders by helping with machinery, travel and accommodation. These international friendships are vital in getting riders to visit, and a good sign that the system is working is that both Bickley and Brennan returned for their second visit ‘Down Under’.

Some of the other young stars of Australian Solo speedway competing include Zane Keleher, who has put his name in lights with good recent results.

Keleher, who hails from Townsville, took second place in the Victorian meeting behind Sedgmen, signalling his intent for the year.

In the first running of the title ‘A Final’, Keleher found himself in the lead ahead of meeting favourite Lidsey, who fell while chasing the young Queenslander very hard, causing the race to be stopped.

In the re-run, the experienced Sedgmen gated well and consolidated his position to win the Championship, otherwise Keleher may have been Victorian Champion.

A podium position in the prestigious Lyons meeting is not beyond the young rider, so perhaps more fancied riders will need to pay due respect to Keleher right from the outset.

Stewart had a fall while racing Sedgmen and Lidsey in a vital heat of the State Title and, after the stoppage, was excluded from the re-run. He was eventually medically disqualified from the remainder of the meeting, which took away any chance he had of finishing on the podium. 

Dakota Ballantyne has just spent time overseas learning the craft and Mildura fans will be keen to see his improvement, as they will with young Cowra brothers, Zack and Ben Cook as well as Matty Gilmore, who has also had time overseas learning the job of speedway.

The 16 riders also include Jedd List and Kane Lawrence, both of whom are clearly good riders and will not want to be taken lightly.

Club solo co-ordinator, Ryan Sedgmen, has gathered a very strong group for the Lyons meeting, so much so, that the spill over has been gathered into two more divisions of racing. 

These will be a ‘Young Guns’ class of eight riders, as well as a smaller group of ‘Future Stars’, who are the lads that have only recently graduated into Senior competition. 

The Young Guns include some riders who performed well in last week’s State Title. Bendigo’s Jack Morrison finished second in the ‘B Final’, Albury’s Aden Clare was third, and Swan Hill rider Declan Knowles was fourth, finishing an overall seventh in the State.

This form from these younger riders could easily be carried forward into the Lyons Trophy as all three lads will have taken great confidence from the Undera meeting.

The younger class includes locals Tom Dixon and Patty Hamilton with Bailey Viner, Dayle Wood and Jamie Crundwell providing stiff competition for each other.

Mildura’s local Sidecars also add some extra spice to the mostly Solo meeting. Mildura Motorcycle Club president, Neale Hancock/Tubs Johnson, former Victorian Champion Byren Gates/Mick O’Loughlin, Mark Radford/Blake Halls and Simon Cohrs/Reece Farr are all set to see if they can quell the form of our opening meeting’s firebrands AJ Pearce/Eli Bock, who started the season in fast, smooth and wonderful form.

Riders like Pearce and Bock sometimes just take a little while to get their machinery and their form in-sync and begin to score the points that they always hoped for. 

The club is delighted that so many young riders in both Solos and Sidecars are coming through, as that shows that Olympic Park fans are due for great entertainment in the future.

Club members are also delighted to welcome the boys from overseas and hope that their stay is memorable for more than just the dust storms which greeted them for their practice sessions of the last two weeks.

A Victorian Junior Title will also be held, with 16 young riders competing over 20 heats to decide the 2019 champion. Senior racing will begin with the regular Lyons Trophy stars contesting the Exposed Signage & Apparel – Dash for Cash.

Olympic Park gates will open to the public at 5pm. There is plenty of free grandstand accommodation available or patrons can bring their own chair or a rug and avail themselves of a spot anywhere on the grassy banks which surround the Stadium. Food and drinks are available from the concession holders at Olympic Park, and there is no BYO by law.

The next meeting at Mildura is now on Friday, November 29, when the Club will hold the Robinson Plumbing Mildura Solo Masters, which will see all the major players from this week’s Jason Lyons Trophy compete.