Honours shared at Gillman Speedway Classic Championships
October 28, 2019 by Gillman Media
The spoils were shared in the annual Gillman Speedway Classic Solo and Sidecar Championships meeting on Saturday night, with seven different winners from three different states taking home the blue ribbons after an entertaining night’s racing.
As is the usual format, the riders all had three heat rides each before the championships were decided by finals for the top four point scorers, and the first of the finals was the Two Valve Solo Championship for riders aged 40 and over.
As expected, local rider Steve Graetz won this class, but it wasn’t as easy as most expected, with defending champion Kevin Webb close behind throughout the final. Earlier Webb had been unbeaten in the heats, with Graetz a non-finisher when they clashed in the first race of the night. Mildura’s Andy Musgrove and Perth’s John Howell, who were both making their first appearance at Gillman, finished third and fourth respectively in the final. WA’s Barry Kennington, a regular in the event, was unlucky not to make the final as he beat both Musgrove and Howell in the heats, but missed his second rider and came up a point short of a final berth.
The British Sidecar class was a Vincent trifecta with former five-time Australian Champion, Dennis Nash, with local lad Jaron Silvy as passenger, successfully defending their championship ahead of Ronny Parker/Mick Sleeth, Peter Tolley/Don Morris, with Shane Rudloff/Damian Egan, on Geoff Baran’s Norton, fourth. Nash was in impressive form all night but dropped a point to Parker in the last heat when he collided with Parker and dislodged his kill-switch.
Victorian Paul Donnelly was another to successfully defend his title, winning the Evolution Sidecar Championship after some close races with runners-up Wayne Lethbridge/Grantley Simounds. Donnelly had Jamie Knudsen as passenger this year after winning the previous two years with Jake Roberts.
Brayden McGuinness, who has just returned from a season racing in Denmark, Germany and Poland, went through the card unbeaten in the 2 Valve under 40 Solo class, but despite his dominance in the results this class provided the best racing of the night with McGuinness, Arlo Bugeja and Robert Medson constantly wheel to wheel and at times three wide.
Another rider to clean sweep was Steven Lewis (passenger Shane Rudloff) in the Japanese Sidecar Championship. Lewis/Rudloff were the standout duo, with nothing much between the other competitors - Aaron Silvy/Jaron Silvy, John Atherton/Don Morris, Christopher Wakefield/Geoff Burke and Sean Chapman/Peter Engels – who had some close races against each other. Placings in the final, behind Lewis/Rudloff were Wakefield/Burke, Atherton/Morris, Chapman/Engels.
It was a similar scenario in the Upright 4 Valve Solo class with Victorian Adam Bond winning each race convincingly with some close racing between Darryl Christopher, Teagan Pedler and Andy Musgrove for the minor placings. In the final Pedler took second place, Christopher third and Musgrove fourth.
The Post Classic Sidecar class saw another clean sweep with Ron Parker/Mick Sleeth winning all four rides. Aaron Silvy/Jaron Silvy and Chris Wakefield/Geoff Burke were second and third in the final with Chris Rae/Corey Palmer excluded after a scary moment when they hit the fence. Rae did well not to roll the bike but unfortunately went infield as he regained control.
The meeting also had some demonstration events by the Three Quarter Midgets (TQs), reviving memories of their hey-day at Rowley Park and a host of country tracks in the 1960s.
The opening summer meeting is in a fortnight on Saturday night, 9 November.