The annual Classic meeting at Gillman Speedway on Saturday night (28 October) produced some close racing through all the classes, so much so that only one rider, Jack Spear, was able to go through the meeting unbeaten.
Spear, and his brother Mitchell, on the ex-Peter Menz 1000cc Suzuki, were the outstanding competitors of the night, and, as they did at the Bob White Cup meeting in February, showed they really know how to ride this classic bike.
The events were programmed in a way that gave riders competing in more than one class a break between rides and the first championship decided was the 2 valve Solo for riders aged 40 or over, which went to Roy Stout ahead of Brendon Liddle and Darryl Christopher. Stout, Liddle, Christopher and Kevin Webb had some close racing in the heats but there was an unhappy ending for Webb, who was likely making his last appearance after making the long trip (2400km each way) from Perth for this meeting most years over the last two decades. Stout, Liddle and Webb were close together in the final but Liddle moved up track to try to get an outside line on Stout and Webb, who was on the outside of Liddle, clipped the fence and fell. Stout led all the way to win the rerun. There was a consolation prize for Webb, however, as he won the raffle for a meat tray!
The Japanese Sidecar class was won by Scott Morris and Shane Rudloff, riding Scott’s late father’s (Don Morris) 750 Suzuki. Morris lost a close race with Wayne Lethbridge/Grantley Simounds in the opening heat but then won his remaining heats and the final, again after a close race with Lethbridge who finished second. Peter Engels/Angela Macfarlane and Pieter Hoogland/Corey Palmer had their own dices for the minor placings in the heats and the final, each time Hoogland making a very slow start but then making up a lot of ground to only just lose out to Engels. Brian Silvy/Glen Zaworski had engine trouble with John Atherton’s 750 Honda and were non-starters throughout the night.
As mentioned, Jack and Mitchell Spear were the outstanding competitors on the night, winning all of their rides in the Post Classic Sidecar class with ease. Former Rowley Park rider, and now North Queensland-based, John Bennett and passenger Natural Stone won a close race for second place ahead of the Riverland’s David Lindsay/Liam Squire, and Clinton Crabb/Kate Barnes. This class boasted the biggest number of entries pre-meeting but numbers were reduced when Tim Bichard and Darren Pascoe were both out before the start and then in the opening heat we had the most upsetting incident of the night when Chris Rae suffered a broken leg when he and Crabb collided in turn one.
A lack of numbers meant the Evolution Upright 4 valve Solo class, and the non-championship Laydown Solo, for riders aged 40 or over, class were combined for the heat races with separate finals programmed, and Teagan Pedler, Brendon Liddle, Gary Fischer and Shaun Sampson produced some of the closest racing of the night. With Richard Bunting a non-starter in the Laydown final, Sampson was declared the winner of that class and rode in the 4 valve final, but from a handicap so he didn’t interfere with the other three in the championship class which was won for the third year running by Pedler, with Fischer second and Liddle third.
These riders, along with Darryl Christopher and Roy Stout, and maybe a few of the Flat Track riders if they were interested in trying their hands on a Solo, would make a decent Division 2 class during the summer season if they were willing to ride with a mix of current and classic bikes together.
The Greg Nestor Cup for the Classic Flat Track Solos was a repeat of the inaugural cup last season with David Footner and Seane Chapman having their own personal battle, just ahead of Mark Stevens, and finishing in that order in the final. Con Twist and Hannah Nestor also had their own dices in the heats and final, with Twist taking fourth in the final and Nestor fifth.
Apart from Tegan Pedler, only one other rider successfully defended his title and that was the legendary Dennis Nash in the British Sidecar class. Nash and passenger Scott Deslandes won the start and then had an easy run out in front but things were hectic for the other placings after Darren Nash/Greg Black were last in the early stages. For much of the race Rory McEnroe/Darren Turner looked like they would take the runner-up spot, but Darren Nash managed to get past Josh Pascoe/Seth Pascoe on the second lap, and then under McEnroe in turn four on the third lap. McEnroe was pushed wide which also allowed Pascoe to also get under him, to take third place on the Triumph to prevent a Vincent 1-2-3.
With Chris Rae out with his broken leg, Kane Golding/Matt King won the Evolution Sidecar class ahead of John Bennett/Natural Stone and Wayne Lethbridge/Grantley Simounds. They were wheel-to-wheel in an exciting third heat but the final was straight forward with Golding safely ahead of Bennett, with Lethbridge only making up the numbers with a damaged clutch.