FROM THE FRONT: After the success of the first Mildura and Adelaide speedway teams challenge, two new European teams have joined the party. After the re-shuffling of riders, Mildura’s Cooper Riordan, PICTURED, has been made captain of the ‘Swindon Robins’ side. Photo: PAUL MENSCH
SULTANS OF SLIDE – By BRENDON GLEDHILL
WHAT began as a well thought and contrived experiment to introduce teams racing to Mildura and Speedway just a month ago, has expanded to double the numbers of the riders involved and has already become a huge success.
The initial double header meeting between riders from Mildura (Swindon Robins) and Adelaide (Leszno Bulls), which was held at Mildura’s Olympic Park in early May, has now grown by two more teams, which will ensure the success of the series.
Australian speedway lacks any teams training due to the vast distances between domestic tracks, but teams training has been talked about in Adelaide and Mildura for some time. Local star Justin Sedgmen and Gillman Speedway manager, Dave Parker, are the two who have put the whole concept and program together which has been embraced by both clubs.
Sedgmen and Parker have been rewarded by the international interest which has been created as two new overseas clubs have asked to be involved should any expansion be forthcoming.
The Edinburgh Monarchs and the Falubaz Zielona Gora clubs have both been in touch asking to have their teams as now representative teams in both Mildura and Adelaide.
Some revamping has been done to even up all four teams. Sedgmen becomes skipper of the Monarchs while other local rider Cooper Riordan has been made captain of the Robins.
Queenslander Zaine Kennedy will captain the new Zielona Gora side while SA’s Rob Branford will be replaced, just for this month, by Queensland’s Ryan Douglas as captain of the Bulls.
Four reasonably even teams of six riders have been selected to represent the two Polish and Great Britain clubs.
For the more technically minded, each team will use Rider Replacement (R/R), instead of naming a number five rider in each team. This means that all the other team riders, with the exception of the captain (number one), may be used at the manager’s choice to fill in where the number five rider is engaged.
This will achieve two things; firstly, it will give more rides to each member of the team, but will also allow the manager to select an appropriate rider to take the specific number five spot. And secondly, it allows for six riders to represent each team. If more riders nominate for future meetings then each team could be a team of seven riders.
More riders are engaged and the new teams look slightly different to the first matches held.
The Edinburgh Monarchs will have Kane Lawrence at number two, Rob Medson at three and young Cowra rider Ben Cook at four. Matt Pickering (six) and Tom Dixon (seven) fill the reserve positions, with all riders supporting Justin Sedgmen at the number one spot.
Leszno will have Ryan Douglas as number one, racing alongside Dakota Ballantyne (two), Zane Kelerher (three) and Scott Warwick-Day (four). Reserves are Brandon Coglan (six) and Blake Ridley (seven).
For the Swindon Robins, Cooper Riordan will captain the team of Josh McDonald (two), Matt Gilmore (three) and Zach Cook (four). Reserves will be Jack Morrison (six) and Seth Hickey (seven).
For the second Polish team, Falubaz Zielona Gora, Zaine Kennedy will be skipper in number one and will have Fraser Bowes at two, Declan Knowles at three and Declan Kennedy at four. The reserves are Aaron Jackson at six and Dayle Wood at seven.
The other interesting contest will be the contest between the four team managers where Cam Woodward, assisted by Lyndon Schlein, will be in charge of Edinburgh while Nigel Sadler will take control of the Leszno team. Cory Gathercole will hone the skills of the Robins and Shane Bowes will take charge of Zielona Gora. It is expected that these managers will all play ‘hard ball’ and work as hard as they can for their teams.
Club officials have been delighted with the spirit at which these team managers have come on board and are enjoying the concept. They, like the riders, have embraced the team concept, knowing that young riders in the domestic scene have the opportunity to, firstly, get more rides in the ‘off-season’ and, secondly, to learn the skills of teams riding, which will stand them in good stead should they try to follow a professional career as speedway riders in UK or Europe.
This teams initiative is being followed closely right through Europe and England, as it gives an opportunity for team owners and managers overseas to observe what is happening on the other side of the world and to allow them to keep their eye on a prospective candidate for the future.
This Sunday, the two matches, Edinburgh versus Leszno and Swindon versus Zielora Gora will be run concurrently, so there will be no hold ups in the program as each team will have riders in another match taking part in the racing which allows double the time for between heat situations.
District patrons have heard about the success of the first try at teams racing, so the Mildura Motorcycle Club is expecting to see greater numbers of spectators in attendance on Sunday, especially as the fields are so strong and the double header format will see the two groups of two going at it as hard as they can.
The Jason Lyons Cup will be decided on Sunday morning, starting around 10.30am, so spectators are in for a most entertaining day watching both junior and senior competitors.
The Jason Lyons meeting will be an individual meeting with an outright winner taking the prestigious trophy from the humble Lyons. Jason enjoys seeing the kids having fun on the track and enjoys the success of all riders as they learn more about speedway and improve their skills.
Gates will open at 10am with the Lyons Trophy starting first of all. The seniors, with all four teams engaged will continue from just after midday and senior practice will be held interspersed through the teams program.
A modest charge will be made for adults only and good catering will be available from mid-morning until the expected finish time of around 4pm. All are welcome.