2021 British Champion Adam Ellis upstaged former World Champions Tai Woffinden and Jason Doyle to win the FIM Oceania Championship in his farewell Australian appearance at Gillman Speedway in Adelaide on Wednesday night (28 December).
The meeting was staged over the SGP format of 20 heats, two semi-finals and a final, and after the 20 qualifying heats Woffinden was unbeaten with 15 points, with Ellis on 14, and Doyle 13. The lost points for Ellis and Doyle came when they met Woffinden in heat 14 which Woffinden won with Ellis second and Doyle third.
The fourth highest scorer was Justin Sedgmen with 12 points, and in a just result they were the four finalists.
The semi-final line-ups, in starting order, were Doyle, Woffinden, Zane Keleher (10 points) and Fraser Bowes (7) in SF1, and Sedgmen, Ellis, Patrick Hamilton (6) and Brayden McGuinness (9) in SF2.
The only major name missing was Rohan Tungate, who featured in the TV advertising, but pulled the pin on the day and didn’t travel over from his home base in New South Wales.
Woffinden suffered his first loss of the night in the first semi-final with Doyle taking the win ahead of Woffinden, with Bowes winning a close race with Kelleher for third.
Ellis won the second semi-final from Sedgmen with McGuinness third and Hamilton fourth. McGuinness briefly too over second from Sedgmen but couldn’t make it stick.
In the final it was Ellis almost all the way. He led narrowly from Doyle until the last lap when Doyle got under him down the back straight, but Ellis was able to switch to the inside through the last turn and win the drag race to the line by about half a bike length.
The meeting attracted a large crowd who showed their appreciation not only for the racing the riders turned on, but also their willingness to support Australian Speedway. It is believed this was the first time two former World Individual Champions have appeared on the same night at Gillman, but that will happen again next meeting (Tuesday, 3 January) when Chris Holder will join Jason Doyle in round one of the 2023 Australian Championship, along with current Speedway Grand Prix riders Max Fricke and Jack Holder. For the full line-up see the Nominations tab of the Gillman Speedway website.
Injury update: Jackson Milner’s parents have posted an update on Jackson’s injuries after his heavy crash into the fence in heat 18. They said “Jacko has banged himself up just a little with concussion, three fractures in his back, bruised lungs and an egg on his head”. It was a sad ending to the night for 17-year-old Jackson who came into the meeting as a replacement for Rohan Tungate and had some good rides early on, starting with a second place to Justin Sedgmen in heat 4, and then having the thrill of leading Jason Doyle for most of the first lap in heat 9. Hopefully his concussion hasn’t caused him to forget that!