Opening night honours go to Dan Bewley, Shane Rudloff/Damian Egan, and Ashley Jansen-Batchelor
November 11, 2019 by Gillman Media
Mildura-based English Solo riders Dan Bewley, Kyle Bickley and Tom Brennan made their Australian season debuts in Adelaide on Saturday night, in the opening meeting of the Gillman Speedway summer season, and it was Bewley who took the major honours, clean-sheeting his races to take out the Jack Young Cup.
And in the other events, Shane Rudloff/Damian Egan won the Gillman sidecar Championship, and Ashley Jansen-Batchelor won the Gillman 125cc Junior Solo Championship.
With meetings on in three other states on the same night, Solo numbers were down and Bewley didn’t face any serious opposition but the racing was nonetheless entertaining, mainly through local rider Robert Medson’s challenges to the English riders. He chased Bewley closely a couple of times, but the only rider to actually lead Bewley was recently turned 18-year-old Fraser Bowes who raised the heartbeats of the Adelaide fans when he led for two laps in heat seven.
At the end of the night though it was Bewley all the way in the final, ahead of Medson, Bickley and Bowes. Bewley is the third English rider to win the Cup following Steve Schofield in 1992 and Josh Auty in 2010.
Bickley had a mixed night, finishing third after a good race with Medson in the final, but he suffered several bike problems in his heats including a flat tyre while leading Brennan in the opening heat. Brennan, on the other hand, won his first two heats but then crashed out of the meeting in his third ride. He was third behind Bewley and Medson early in the race and just slid off going into turn three. It was not a major crash but he damaged his knee and sat out the rest of the meeting, but he did manage to limp onto the track for the after-meeting presentations.
Close and exciting racing was predicted in the Sidecar Championship, with most of the line-up having the ability to make the final, and they didn’t disappoint.
The night started in exciting fashion when the favourites, Shane Rudloff/Damian Egan and Rick Stephens/Nick O'Brien, met in the first heat, resulting in a narrow win for Stephens after he passed Rudloff nearing the end of lap two, and the racing continued in similar fashion for the rest of the night.
Kym Menadue/Eric Melton won the second heat in fine style to put themselves alongside Rudloff and Stephens as favourites, but unfortunately for them bike gremlins forced them out later in the night.
Nathan Fleet/Ayrton Canning then came into consideration with a win over Stephens in heat three, and, in what was thought could be a forerunner to the final Rudloff led home Stephens and Menadue, with Fleet a non-finisher, in heat five.
The close racing got even closer in the remaining heats as everyone was chasing vital points. Aaron Silvy/Jaron Silvy won heat six quite easily but there was a fierce battle between Dean Hobbs/Glen Zaworski, Brian Silvy/Cameron White and Stephen Fowler/Corey Palmer for the minor placings.
Rudloff then won a very close race with Fleet in heat seven, and Stephens passed Aaron Silvy through turns three and four on the last lap to win the last heat, and it was Rudloff (11 points), Stephens (10), and Silvy (7) who earned direct entry to the final.
In the semi-final Fowler looked like causing an upset when he made a great start from gate four to lead into turn two, but Fleet, Brian Silvy and Hobbs gradually pegged him back before he slowed with bike trouble on the third lap.
It was Fleet who scored the win to advance to the final but it counted for nothing as he was left at the start and trailed a quarter of a lap behind, but it was a very good race between the other three who were three wide on the back straight and then wheel to wheel before Rudloff took the win ahead of Stephens and Silvy.
Rudloff also created his own little bit of history with his win as he is the only one to have won the championship as a rider and a passenger, having previously won as passenger for Ron Parker in 2007.
Ashley Jansen-Batchelor won the Gillman 125cc Junior Solo Championship but after winning all of his heats he was made to work hard for the win in the final. He was only third in the early stages behind Jake Fleet and Harry Sadler, who both looked capable of taking the title, but Jansen-Batchelor didn’t do anything rash and managed to get under Sadler at the end of lap one, and under Fleet at the end of lap two. Fleet finished second, Sadler third and Nicholas Possingham fourth.
The next meeting is the FIM Oceania Solo Championship on 23 November.