Gillman Media 5 March 2023
Plaisted and Pitt successfully defend SA Sidecar Championship
Mark Plaisted and Ben Pitt successfully defended their South Australian Sidecar Championship at Gillman Speedway on 25 February.
Plaisted/Pitt’s only real challenge on the night came from Queensland champions Tyler Moon and Adam Lovell, who inflicted their only defeat on the night and briefly led the final.
Plaisted and Moon met as early as heat four and although it was a close race, Moon led all the way.
Like Plaisted, Moon only dropped one point in the heats, to Broken Hill teenagers Max Howse and Riley Commons, in heat ten, and by virtue of the heat four result, Moon had first choice of gate position in the final and took red, with Plaisted in blue.
A good start by Moon/Lovell saw them as the early leaders but Plaisted/Pitt edged under them in turn three and four and from that point it was all over, Plaisted/Pitt winning from Moon/Lovell with Nate Headland/Jaxon Rayner third and Mark Mitchell/Tony Carter fourth.
Plaisted’s win moved him to outright second in the list of all-time winners, with five wins, just two behind Darrin Treloar on 7. Treloar was entered for the meeting but did not travel over after he was unable to get a motor ready in time. However, with seven wins and fourteen top four finishes, with a 2700 km round trip each time, Treloar’s commitment to the title can’t be questioned.
Mark Mitchell/Tony Carter were the third automatic qualifiers for the final, ahead of Nate Headland/Jaxon Rayner and Max Howse/Riley Commons on countback after all three teams scored 12 points.
Joining the teenagers Headland (age 16) and Howse (age 18) in the last chance semi-final were Shane Rudloff/Scott Morris on 10 points and Mick Headland/Brenton Kerr on 9.
Although he won a couple of heats in was an unusually off-night for Mick Headland who was expected to be Plaisted’s main challenger for the title but he failed to reach the final, finishing second to his grandson Nate in the semi-final. Nate led all the way in the semi-final for a comfortable win, with Mick grabbing second place in the final straight after a close race with Rudloff and Howse.
The top seven were well ahead of the rest as far as points scored goes, but most of the non-qualifiers for the finals put in some good rides. The most eye-catching was probably another first-year team in Josh Pascoe/Matt Crawford who put on a good display for a miserly one point! In their opening ride they were leading Mitchell, Rick Stephens/Nick O’Brien and Howse until Stephens had an alarming looking spill at the end of the back straight. Stephens was lucky not to get hit by the closely following Howse, but although not seriously injured, the crash was bad enough to put them out for the rest of the meeting. In their second ride Pascoe/Crawford led Rudloff/Morris for two laps, and in their fourth ride they passed Nate Headland and Plaisted to briefly take the lead before being shuffled back to third.
Of the others Brian Silvy/Dean Cottrell weren’t prominent but efficiently scored six points to be the highest placed of the non-qualifiers; Daniel Puddy/Byron Mordaunt had some good rides; Adam Pascoe/Axel Brereton scored a good heat win; Stephen Fowler/Megan Cane were out of sorts; Dean Hobbs/Daniel Low had some good rides but suffered from two early bike failures; Chris Walker/Eric Melton, like Pascoe/Crawford, put on some eye-catching rides for not many points, although they did only finish two rides; and Kane Golding/Isaac Amos rode a near perfect race to beat Mitchell/Carter but failed to score in their other four rides, usually from turning too tightly and spinning off the track.