A small crowd of about 150 people enjoyed an entertaining day at the Australian Masters Games speedway event at Gillman on Saturday afternoon (7 October).
On a lovely sunny day there was some spirited racing on the track, and plenty of banter and goodwill towards fellow competitors in the pits, fitting the mantra of the Games, which is to bring together weekend warriors from around Australia, and the world, to enjoy an extensive sport and social program.
With riders of various age groups competing against each other in the same race (because of limited numbers in some of the age groups), the race results were quite repetitive but just reading the results (under the Results tab on the Gillman Speedway website) doesn’t indicate the closeness of some of the racing.
For example, in the Modern Solos, 34-year-old former British League rider Sam Martin had no trouble winning every race, with Shaun Sampson second and Mark De La Haye third each time, but Sampson and De La Haye had some good scraps for the gold medal in the 50-59 age group, with De La Haye challenging Sampson on the opening laps each time before the home track rider was able to pull away.
In was a similar story in the Classic Solos. In the age 50-59 class Mildura’s Brendon Liddle won every heat ahead of Darryl Christopher, but Christopher made him work hard for his gold medal. In one race Liddle didn’t take the lead until the third lap and in another not until the last corner. The other group of Phil Georgeff and Trevor Henderson was probably the closest finishes of the day. At ages 75 and 80 respectively, their races were understandably the slowest of the day but the result was often in doubt right to the line.
The Modern Sidecars were not as close, with Mark Mitchell/Tony Carter the predictable winners in the 50-59 age group, but Phil Hudson and Adam Constable, on son Shane Hudson’s bike, were smooth and fast and not far behind Mitchell/Carter.
The Classic Sidecars were all grouped together and dominated by Chris Rae/Byron Mordaunt (60-69) but there was some close racing between Wayne Lethbridge/Grantley Simounds (50-59), Peter Engels/Angela Macfarlane (60-69) and Darren Pascoe/Michael Potts (50-59) for the minor placings.
In the Flat Track Solos Matt Paterson (30-39), Julian Timmis (40-49) and Greg Laanekorb (50-59) were grouped together and as the only riders in their age groups all won gold medals but they produced some close racing, despite Timmis winning four of the five heats.
In the other group the results were similar to the Speedway Solo classes. David Footner had no trouble winning gold in the age 60-69 class, with Con Twist second and Mark Stevens third in each heat, but Stevens was always challenging Twist for second place, while in the 70-79 class, like Georgeff and Henderson in the Classic Solos, there was nothing between David Harrison and Richard Bunting, with the victor often not obvious from the terraces, but Harrison got the nod in four of their races to take the gold medal.
The next meeting at Gillman will be the annual Gillman Speedway Classic Championships on 28 October, with a practice day (for modern and classic bikes) this Saturday, 14 October at 4pm.
Presentation photos by Judy Mackay.
30-39 : Sam Martin
50-59 : Shaun Sampson and Mark De La Haye
70-79 : Richard Bunting
50-59 : Michael Potts, Brendon Liddle, Darryl Christopher
80+ : Trevor Henderson; and 70-79 : Phil Georgeff
40-49 : Will Walker, Jarrad Nash, Nathan Johnston, Nick Johns
50-59 : Wayne Lethbridge, Grantley Simounds, Mark Mitchell, Tony Carter, Phil Hudson, Adam Constable
80+ : Merv Edwards, Len Burman
50-59: back row, Wayne Lethbridge, Grantley Simounds; front row, Darren Pascoe, Michael Potts
60-69: Chris Rae, Byron Mordaunt, Peter Engels, Angela Macfarlane
70-79 : Pieter Hoogland and Cory Palmer
Flat Track Solos
40-49: Julian Timmis; 30-39: Matt Paterson; 50-59: Greg Laanekorb