Darrin Treloar and Blake Cox added more trophies to their collection when they won the Chooks Custom Grafix Gillman Sidecar Championship in Adelaide on Saturday night (9 April).
The win was Treloar’s sixth, and Cox’s third, and also ensured they won the three round Sidecar Super Series, although that was basically a formality as they had a near unassailable points lead after the first two rounds.
The Gillman Sidecar Championship field boasted most of the riders from next weekend’s Australian Championship and was the last chance for anyone to stand out as a possible challenger to Treloar/Cox for the title, but only Warren Monson/Andrew Summerhayes and Shane Hudson/Adam Constable showed anything like their known form, in a meeting that had an unusually high number of bike problems and infield exclusions.
Combined with the two 13-rider 13-heat formats, which is always a bit difficult to follow, it was hard night to get an idea of anyone’s form for next weekend, but Treloar, Monson, Hudson and Justin Plaisted/Simon Cohrs stood out as the best on the night.
Both Hudson and Monson went through their respective groups unbeaten (12 points) to be the direct qualifiers for the final.
Hudson had a little luck in that Treloar was a non-starter in their heat together, but, that apart, both were well ahead of the others, both in terms of distance on the track, and points on the scorecard.
In Group 1, Treloar/Cox were the second highest scorers with 9 points from three wins after a split oil line on the parade lap caused them to miss the first race of the night, and they were joined in the Group 1 semi-final by Trent Headland/Darryl Whetstone, 8 points, Mitchell Spear/Glen Zaworski 7, and Max Howse/Riley Commons 7. Among the riders who missed out were Brodie Cohen/Damian Egan 6, Brandon Warke/Mitchell Danks-Firth 6, David Bottrell/Darcy Risstrom 3 and Damien Niesche/Ayrton Canning 3 who all had bike and/or exclusion issues during the night.
Cohen’s troubles started before the racing started when his number one bike, which he brought down from Townsville for the Australian Championship, caught fire at the pit gate after a practice ride. He had a back-up bike, on which he’s done well on in recent Gillman meetings, but started with an infield exclusion from second place (behind Niesche) in his first race.
Of the non-qualifiers Niesche looked the rider to watch as he clocked the fastest lap time, and second fastest race time of the night in his first race but was then out for the night with a bike problem.
The semi-final was won by Treloar/Cox after a brief challenge from Spear/Zaworski who finished second ahead of Headland/Whetstone and Howse/Commons. Headland was riding the bike usually ridden by Aaron Silvy, but in the Australian Championship will be riding the bike usually ridden in Queensland by Bayley Ogilvie.
In Group 2, Monson/Summerhayes were also three points ahead of the next best in the scorecard, with Justin Plaisted/Simon Cohrs 9, Mick Headland/Brenton Kerr 9, Jake Treloar/Eli Wright 8, and Byren Gates 8 qualifying for the semi-final. The biggest name missing was Mark Plaisted/Ben Pitt who had a non-finish and an exclusion to only finish with 5 points, with Kane Golding/Isaac Amos (with two exclusions), Shane Rudloff/Cameron Diwell and Stuart Firth/Tim Green also all on 5 points.
Justin Plaisted had dropped a couple of points in the heats when he was excluded from second place behind Monson for going infield but was a clear winner of the semi-final ahead of Jake Treloar, in his best night of the season, with Mick Headland and Byren Gates both running off the track, Headland while second and Gates while fourth.
In the final, Monson was in red, Hudson blue, Treloar white and Plaisted yellow. Monson was the early leader from Hudson but Treloar and Plaisted both got under Hudson on the opening lap, and Treloar got under Monson on the second lap to take the win with Monson second, Plaisted third and Hudson fourth.
Plaisted’s podium spot was his third from three meetings since making a comeback last month, and he’s shown enough to suggest he would have been a title contender next weekend but, unfortunately, at the time the nominations closed and the selections were made he had not ridden any meetings for five years after suffering serious injuries at Whyalla Speedway in March 2017, and was therefore not selected.
In the support Flat Track Solo events Jackson Milner got the better of Kyle Machin in two of their three heats but Machin took the final ahead of Milner, John White and Dale Knights.
In the Junior Sidecar races, Kayden Gates/Harley Ackerley went through the card unbeaten, beating Adam Niesche/Kobi Canning twice to suggest they may now start as the favourites, ahead of Niesche/Canning and Brady Tickle/Isaac Mitchell in this weekend’s Australian Championship.