The first of the weekend’s Australian Sidecar Championship meetings takes place at the Gillman Speedway in Adelaide on Saturday night (16 April), with the staging of the Blumberg Hotel Birdwood sponsored Qualifying meeting.
Sixteen teams will contest 20 heats with the highest eight point scorers qualifying for Sunday night’s championship meeting.
Only six qualified last year and eight this year might make it sound easier but the line-up is significantly stronger at the top end, including two former Australian Champions, Mark Mitchell and Trent Headland.
Headland, and passenger Darryl Whetstone, won the title the last time the event was held at Gillman (2017) and they should not only qualify but also be serious contenders for the title Sunday night, although they will be riding a borrowed bike after Trent’s bike was destroyed in a recent fire.
It is quite some time (2009) since Mitchell won the Championship but he is in good form, winning the Bob White Cup (at Gillman), and the Jeff Gittus Memorial (Pinjar Park WA) in recent weeks.
As well as Headland and Mitchell, there are three of last season’s seeded teams in the line-up - Byren Gates (new passenger Eli Bock), David Bottrell/Darcy Risstrom and Rick Stephens/Nick O’Brien - and three of the qualifiers, Damien Niesche (passenger Ayrton Canning), Shane Rudloff/Scott Morris, and Max Howse/Riley Commons.
That’s eight already but many will have Kym Menadue/Shane Dolan marked down to qualify, and the Queenslanders will fancy Stuart Firth/Tim Green’s chances, but that still leaves Jake Treloar/Eli Wright, Brian Silvy/Damian Egan, Paul Hemsworth/Adam Botham, Jack Summerling/Martin Wilde, Stephen Saunders/Duane Dennis and Chris Walker/April Cottrell, so an increase to the top eight doesn’t appear to have made it any easier.
It could be very tight around the middle order of the scorecard and all riders won’t want to make any mistakes, or suffer any bike trouble, or there could be some surprise non-qualifiers.
The 250cc Junior (Under 16) Sidecars will also be in action, racing for the Glenn and Nathan O’Brien Cup on their own infield junior track during the track grades for the senior events.
The gates will open at 2pm, with practice for all riders, including the seeded riders for Sunday night, at 5pm and racing at 7pm.
For interstate and overseas followers, or locals unable to attend because of Covid isolation, the meeting will be live streamed on http://speedwayaustralia.tv. Further meeting details below.
Everything You Need To Know:
Meeting Date: Saturday, 16 April 2022
Venue: Gillman Speedway Stadium, 65 Wilkins Road, Gillman – near the Port Adelaide area.
Parking and entrance: Patrons can enter via gates at the western and eastern ends of the venue. There are free off-street parking areas near both gates.
Gates open: at 2 pm.
Covid requirements: Covid QR code check-in, and masks are no longer compulsory, however people are encouraged to wear masks in busy areas like the canteen/bar areas if they feel safer doing so.
Pit access for spectators: Free spectator access to the pits between 2pm to and 4.30pm; and 6pm to 6.30pm.
Racing starts: at 7 pm.
Live streaming: To access the live streaming viewers need to go to http://speedwayaustralia.tv and follow the instructions under the FAQ tab to create an account. The cost is $27.50 per meeting. If you have any issues with the livestream please contact https://support.inplayer.com
Admission: Adults $25, Age Pension and Student Concession $20, Children Under 16 free. Souvenir programme $5. Grandstand seating free. Parking free. Programme includes chances to win $50 fuel vouchers. EFTPOS available at both entrances and in the canteen for contactless payments.
Concession is limited to holders of the Centrelink Pensioner Concession Card and Student Concession card holders only.
Seating: Grandstand seating is free for this meeting but is limited to 216 people. There are large grassed viewing mounds and terracing suitable for deck chairs.
VIP Area: The Gillman VIP area is available to anyone who would like to treat their business colleagues, family or friends to the best view in the stadium. Enjoy the elevated view overlooking the track, either from inside the temperature controlled room, on the timber deck, or on the enclosed lawn area. The VIP area also has its own bar and toilet. Ring Ivan Golding on 0417 138 378 for more details.
Food and drink: Full bar and catering available. Food includes hot chips, hamburgers, chicken burgers, pies, pasties, sausage rolls, Chiko Rolls, dim sims, hot dogs, doughnuts, coffee, cold drinks, sweets. “Gillman has far and away the best speedway tucker” [Peter White’s Speedway World] EFTPOS available at the main canteen.
Please note a condition of our liquor licence is no byo alcohol or glass can be brought into the venue.
Pets: No pets, other than guide dogs, are allowed into the venue.
Souvenirs: There is a well-stocked souvenir shop. See the “A Night At Gillman” tab.
Weather Forecast as at 15 April: maximum 30, minimum 17. Sunny. [www.bom.gov.au/sa/forecasts/adelaide.shtml]
The best way to get to Gillman Speedway is off Hanson Road.
If you are coming from the eastern and southern suburbs, get on to Hanson road off Torrens Road or Grand Junction Road, travel north on Hanson road over the train line then take the first road on the left, which is Wilkins road.
From the northern suburbs, travel down the new Port Adelaide expressway and take the Hanson Road exit. Once on Hanson Road, take the first exit on your right, this is Wilkins road.
From the western suburbs, Wilkins Road is the continuation of Bedford Street, north of Eastern Parade.
Contact for this meeting: Ivan Golding 0417 138 378 or email firstname.lastname@example.org