Keynan Rew and Mitchell McDiarmid new Australian Solo Champions
Gillman Media 28 November 2022
Keynan Rew and Mitchell McDiarmid are the new Australian Solo Champions, at Under 21 and Under 16 level respectively, after an entertaining night’s racing at Adelaide’s Gillman Speedway on Saturday night (26 November).
Rew was the star rider of the night and was a class above the rest as he won his six rides virtually unchallenged to take the Under 21 500cc Championship. Eventual runner-up Tate Zischke did challenge Rew briefly on the first lap of the final but thereafter Rew pulled away for a comfortable win. Zischke was similarly in a comfortable position to take second, while James Pearson won a close race with Jacob Hook to decide third and fourth.
In the earlier qualifying heats Zischke was only beaten by Rew, and their fellow Queenslander Cordell Rogerson, to finish with 13 points, while Hook was the third direct qualifier with 12 points. Hook had scored an impressive 11 points from his first four rides, beaten only by Rew in their opening race, but could only manage third place behind Zischke and Pearson in heat 17.
Pearson’s third place in the final was a good result after an alarming crash in his first ride in which he (in yellow) and Fraser Bowes (in white) collided in the first turn and crashed heavily with Bowes’ bike going over the fence. Both, however, were able to ride in the rerun which Bowes won from Rogerson, with Pearson third, but then Pearson’s father and local rider Roy Stout had to work hard to swap his engine into a different frame after his number one bike was badly damaged in the crash. He was only beaten by Rew and Zischke in his last four rides to qualify for the last chance semi-final with 11 points, along with Bowes, also on 11, Liam May (9) and Maurice Brown (9).
The impressive Rogerson also scored 9 points but missed out on a place in the semi-final on countback. Rogerson actually had one hand on a semi-final berth when he led the last heat of the night for most of the race before being passed by Michael West on the last lap. The win by West was enough to knock Rogerson out of the Semi, but not enough to get West in, as he finished on 8 points. A fall in his first race when he was third behind Rew and Hook is what cost him a place in the Semi.
Bowes was the early leader in the semi-final but Pearson was able to pass him on the second lap and went on to win with Bowes second, Brown third and May fourth.
In the Under 16 250cc Championship, just turned 13-year-old Beau Bailey was the standout in the heats, scoring a very impressive 15 point maximum, including a thrilling ride in heat 13 when he was in third behind Liam Powell and Noah Grabham, who were side-by-side for the first three laps, before he went around the outside of them on the last lap. The meeting was only the fifth for Bailey on the 250 since turning 13 in October.
Joining Bailey as direct qualifiers for the final were fellow New South Wales riders Alexander Adamson (13 points) and Noah Grabham (12).
Qualifiers for the semi-final were Ashley Jansen-Batchelor (11), Mitchell McDiarmid (11), Lincoln Metcalf (10), and Harry Sadler (10).
Jansen-Batchelor’s night started disappointingly when he was out with a minor mechanical fault within half-a-lap in the opening race of the night. He regrouped to score his 11 points from his remaining four heats, beaten only by Adamson, but even greater disappointment was to come in the semi-final. Jansen-Batchelor was the early leader but fellow South Australian Harry Sadler was challenging hard on his outside until he (Sadler) fell and hit the fence hard in turn four on the second lap. The hit was hard enough to mean he could not quickly get off the track, meaning a restart. Again Jansen-Batchelor was the pacesetter and he led for three-and-a-half laps before McDiarmid went around him on the back straight on the last lap to take the win. You could say he was just fated not to make the final!
The final was a thriller. Bailey took red but was narrowly beaten to the first turn by Adamson (blue) and Grabham (white) so clamped in third place. As the three NSW riders battled for the lead down the back straight and into turn three, McDiarmid went around the three of them to take the lead. Grabham lost control in turn four which allowed Bailey to get into third behind McDiarmid and Adamson, but the task looked too hard from there, despite his heroic ride from the back in heat 13. He did manage to get pass Adamson on the last lap but couldn’t quite catch McDiarmid who scored the win, and an impressive one at that, to go with the Victorian Championship he won earlier in the month.
Full heat results are on the Gillman speedway website, under Results.
The next meeting at Gillman is this Saturday night (3 December) and will include international Solo riders Adam Ellis (England), Jaimon Lidsey, Justin Sedgmen and Rory Schlein, and a host of Australia’s best Sidecars including current Australian Champions Mark Plaisted/Ben Pitt, Mick Headland/Brenton Kerr, Shane Hudson/Adam Constable, Damien Niesche/Mitchell Spear and Byren Gates/Michael O’Loughlin.