Speedway Grand Prix rider Max Fricke finally gets the chance to defend his Australian Championship, after almost two years of delays, when the Maughan Thiem sponsored Australian 500cc Solo Championship is held at Gillman Speedway on Saturday night (10 December).
Fricke won the title in the final round at Gillman in January 2020, but the Covid-19 restrictions that were in place in recent years forced the 2020/21 championship to be cancelled, and rather than cancel again in 21/22 it was decided to change the event to one meeting, instead of a series of rounds as it has been since 2004, and postpone it until later in the year, which is this Saturday night.
As a current Speedway Grand Prix rider, and the defending champion, Fricke will start as a red hot favourite to retain the title, however he did miss the end of the European season with injury, so if he is not at the top of his game there are several riders capable of taking his title, in particular, Jaimon Lidsey, Justin Sedgmen and Zach Cook.
Lidsey, a former World Under 21 Champion, and Sedgmen, have been in good form since returning to Australia, finishing 1-2 in their two meetings, the Victorian Championship and last Saturday night’s Gillman Championship. Sedgmen also has a good record at Gillman and has twice been runner-up in the Gillman rounds of the championship.
Cook, like Sedgmen, has just had a good season in the UK, so he’s a likely finalist but after that it is wide open with a host of young riders looking for their chance to make an Australian Championship final.
Leading the charge will be Keynan Rew who won the Australian Under 21 Championship in convincing style at Gillman last month, and it will be interesting to see how he goes against the more experienced riders.
Tate Zischke and James Pearson, who finished second and third in the Under 21 title are also back, while local hopes will rest with Fraser Bowes and ex-pat Kiwi Jake Turner, who both made the semi-final last meeting , while Zane Keleher, Maurice Brown, Jack Morrison, Cooper Riordan and Michael West have all ridden well at Gillman in the past so will all think they are capable of reaching the semi-final stage, which this week is the Motorcycling Australia preferred format of two semi-finals for the top eight scorers rather than the regular Gillman format of the top three scorers going into the final with a last chance semi-final for the next four highest scorers.
In support events an interesting rider will be 21-year-old German rider Celina Liebmann. Liebmann finished second in this year’s German Under 21 Championship and was also given wild card to ride in a round of the World Under 21 Championship in the Czech Republic. This will be her only appearance in Australia.
Livestreaming link below.
Everything You Need To Know:
Meeting Date: Saturday, 10 December 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 3 pm.
Pit access for spectators: Free spectator access to the pits until official practice.
Racing starts: at 7 pm.
Classes and Nominations:
Solo 500cc: Fraser Bowes (SA), Maurice Brown (NSW), Aden Clare (NSW), Ben Cook (OUT-engines have not arrived from UK), Zach Cook (NSW), Max Fricke (Vic), Zane Keleher (Qld), Jaimon Lidsey (Vic), Jack Morrison (Vic), James Pearson (NSW), Keynan Rew (Qld), Cooper Riordan (Vic), Harrison Ryan (OUT-illness), Justin Sedgmen (Vic), Jake Turner (SA), Michael West (NSW), Dayle Wood (Vic), Tate Zischke (Qld). Reserves: Broc Hall (Qld), Tom Dixon (OUT), Patrick Hamilton (Vic)
500cc Solo Support: Broc Hall (Qld), Tom Dixon (OUT), Patrick Hamilton (Vic), Jackson Milner (Vic), Teagan Pedler (SA), Celina Liebmann (Germany)
Admission: Adults $30, Age Pension and Student Concession $25, Children Under 16 free. Parking free. Souvenir programme $5- includes chances to win $50 fuel vouchers. EFTPOS available at both entrances, canteen, bar and souvenir shop.
Concession is limited to holders of the Centrelink Pensioner Concession Card and Student Concession card holders only.
Seating: There are large grassed viewing mounds and terracing suitable for deck chairs. The Grandstand is not available for this meeting due to refurbishment.
VIP Area: The Bob White 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 rooms, 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]
Please note a condition of our liquor licence is no byo alcohol or glass can be brought into the venue.
Souvenirs: There is a well-stocked souvenir shop. See the “A Night At Gillman” tab.
Pets: No animals are allowed into the venue except assistance animals, eg guide dogs.
Weather Forecast as at 7 December: Maximum 33, minimum 16. Partly cloudy.
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 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