Australia’s most successful Speedway Sidecar rider, Darrin Treloar, added another championship to his resume when he won his seventh Australian Sidecar Championship at the Gillman Speedway Stadium on Sunday night.
After a fabulous meeting which had all the usual twists and turns, at the end of the night the four pre-meeting favourites, and the four best riders on the night, reached the K Trans sponsored final, and probably finished in the order many would have predicted with Treloar and his Mildura-based passenger, Simon Cohrs leading all the way to win from Mick Headland/Paul Waters, Mark Plaisted/Sam Gilbert and Wes Jenkins/Damian Egan.
Ironically for such a good meeting the final was probably the tamest race of the night, with very little passing, in direct contrast to the previous 21 races, most of which featured continual passing and re-passing.
For all the excitement dished up during the heats, however, the final score chart threw up very few surprises.
Treloar was the top point scorer with 13 points from four heat wins and then a third place behind Wes Jenkins and Dylan Blain in heat 17. Mark Plaisted also scored 13 points but lost out on first choice of gate positions in the final to Treloar by a countback of heat wins. Plaisted’s 13 points came from three wins and seconds to Mick Headland and Treloar.
Mick Headland was the next highest scorer with 12 points from four wins and an exclusion. Headland’s exclusion came in heat seven. After some jostling for positions through the first two turns, Headland slowed looking for a restart. When the restart did not come, he stayed on the track and caused the race to be stopped which meant an obvious exclusion for causing the race stoppage. Although he would have initially been in last place, had he just continued to race, chances are he would have finished second or third which would have given him first or second choice of gate in the final.
Wes Jenkins was the fourth highest scorer with 10 points and he also could have finished on 13 points as he was excluded from a win in his second ride. Jenkins was considered a serious threat for the title but had a disastrous start. He was in yellow in his first ride against Headland and Plaisted and got taken wide and filled in through the first two turns. He was able to salvage 1 point from third place and looked to be back on track with a scorching win in heat 8, but the referee deemed his passing move on Warren Monson, in which he took Monson right out to the fence in turn four, forcing Monson to throttle off to avoid crashing, was too aggressive and excluded him. With just 1 point from his first two rides he was in serious trouble but he rebounded to win his remaining three rides and the last chance semi-final.
Placegetters behind Jenkins in the semi-final were Monson/Matt Morgan, Trent Headland/Jesse Headland and Byren Gates/Michael O’Loughlin.
Monson had some good rides without looking like a serious threat. His best rides came at the end of the night with a very good ride in heat 20 when he chased down and passed Hayden Bond and Mark Drew, and a good second place in the semi-final. Gates looked fast all night but like Monson he looked very good but not a threat to the top four. The Headland brothers probably went home with mixed feelings. A place in an Australian Championship semi-final, and overall sixth in the championship is a good result in anyone’s book, but they’d be thinking they could have done even better as they struggled with bike problems all night. It shows how well they have gone this season that they could still reach the semi-final despite a retirement in one ride and a faltering bike in some others.
Just missing the semi-final on a countback to Trent Headland, was Mark Drew/Steven Blair and Drew would be kicking himself for a few lost points which ultimately cost him dearly. On a night when good races followed one after the other all night, Drew’s were amongst the best, starting with his first when he had everyone sitting up and paying attention when he passed Treloar to take the lead. Treloar eventually repassed him to take the win but it was a bright start. His next start saw one of the toughest first three laps of the night between himself and Plaisted. In heat 13 he passed Mick Headland and led until lap three; and in the last heat of the night, needing only two points to qualify for the semi-final he led from the start and looked to be a certain winner only for Monson and Hayden Bond to run him down on the last lap.
Hayden Bond/Brady Cox were next on the scorecard with 7 points and these two 17-year-olds look to be real stars of the future. There is no need to worry about the future of the section when some of the current big names start to retire because the thought of teenagers Bond, Dylan Blain and Arron Hartwig, to name just three, going head to head for the next decade at least is an exciting thought.
Following Bond on the scorecard were Brodie Cohen/Josh Sinnott on 6, Jason Hardy/Geoff Langdon, Blain/Robert Gottardi and Grant Bond/Glen Cox on 5, Neale Hancock/Lachlan Greenhalgh on 3, and Rick Stephens/Dale Knights and Jason Bradshaw/Steve Behsmann on 2.
All were more than competitive, but Hardy and Grant Bond both looked like semi-finalists in the early stages but things went awry for both. Hardy continued the good form he has shown all season, as probably the most improved rider in Australia, when he bolted away in the opening heat and held off a fast finishing Monson to win by half-a-bike length but his bike sounded rough for the rest of the night and he wasn’t able to hold on to some handy positions he was in in other heats. Bond looked very good in heat three as he led onto the second lap but then he unexpectedly got out of shape and lost passenger Cox. That exclusion was followed by another, under the two minute rule, in his next ride when the bike broke down as he came out the pit gate.
They both, however, fared better than former Australian Champion Russell Mitchell. The Perth star was down to ride at number two but the fuel injection on his bike packed up and he never even got out for the parade laps.
In the junior support events Jack Gilbert/Alanah Cornwell won the Territory Marine Glenn & Nathan O’Brien Junior Sidecar Cup after some exciting heat races which saw Jackson Bond/Liam Cox top score with the maximum possible 12 points. In the final they were three wide down the back straight but after some pushing and shoving by all three, Jackson Barbary/Josh Malic were excluded, and in the rerun Bond ran infield and was excluded leaving Gilbert/Cornwell to cruise to an easy win.
The full heat results for the K Trans 2013 Australian Championship and the Territory Marine Glenn & Nathan O’Brien Junior Sidecar Cup can be found on the Gillman Speedway website under the results tab.
Action from just one of the many thrilling races in the K Trans Australian Sidecar Championship. Here Mark Drew/Stephen Blair power under Darrin Treloar/Simon Cohrs to take the lead in heat four. Treloar came back to win the race. Photo by Judy Mackay.
The victors. Championship number seven for Darrin Treloar, and number two for Simon Cohrs. Photo by Judy Mackay.
And the other placegetters. Mick Headland/Paul Waters (blue), Mark Plaisted/Sam Gilbert (yellow) and Wes Jenkins/Damian Egan (white) in the battle for second place in front of part of the big crowd which witnessed the K Trans Australian Championship. Photo by Judy Mackay.