Sidecar Championship at Gillman Speedway Saturday night
December 25, 2019 by Gillman Media
South Australian speedway fans can see the year out in fine style with the prestigious Eagle Fuels 2019/20 South Australian Sidecar Championship at Gillman speedway this Saturday night (28 December).
This event is always one of the hardest fought events on the Australian motorcycle speedway calendar, which the stats confirm.
Darrin Treloar has won the event seven times, but he is in a class of his own, statistically the best speedway competitor of all time, with 11 Australian championships and 39 state championships to his name!
But take Treloar out of the discussion and no rider has won more than three times, and only one of those is a current-day rider - Mick Headland.
If Headland can win on Saturday night, he’ll move into rarefied air as outright second on the stats list as the only four-time winner.
He has plenty of top class opposition however.
Unlike the recent Solo championship which only had one previous winner, Saturday night’s meeting has three previous winners in Headland, defending champion Mark Plaisted and Mark Mitchell.
If Plaisted wins he will join Don Willison, Len Bowes, Kym McConnell, Brian Schultz, Mark Drew and Mick Headland as a three time winner, but going back-to-back has been rare. The last rider to achieve it was Treloar, with three in a row from 2007-09, and before that it was Drew, also with three in a row from 1999 to 2001. And the last South Australians to successfully defend the championship were Peter Fleet and Greg Black in 1990 and 1991, so it is not easy. If Plaisted and Ben Pitt can do it Saturday night it will be quite an achievement.
This is their first appearance on any track this season, so it could be said it remains to be seen if they, and the bike, are refreshed and ready to go or if they are race-rusty, but we said exactly that in last year’s preview and they came out and won the title, defeating Darrin Treloar twice in the process.
Mark Mitchell, as well as being a former State champion is also a former Australian champion, so along with Plaisted/Pitt and Headland/Brenton Kerr, he and Tony Carter will be one of the favourite teams, but many will have as their favourites a duo who have never won the title, Warren Monson and Andrew Summerhayes.
Monson has not only never won the title, but last season was surprisingly the first time he has reached the final, where he finished fourth, but he and Summerhayes are the reigning World Cup and Oceania champions, and have won both events twice and each time at Gillman, so it is amazing they don’t have a very good record in the SA championship. Is that proof of how tough this event is to win?
Outside of Plaisted, Headland, Mitchell and Monson, other major contenders for the final stages are Shane Rudloff/Scott Morris, Rick Stephens/Nick O’Brien and Neale Hancock/Brendan Johnson.
Rudloff and Stephens finished first and second in this season’s Gillman Sidecar Championship and have both been in top form throughout 2019
The others look more like spoilers rather than outright contenders - capable of taking points off some of the more fancied riders without taking the title themselves - with Kym Menadue/Eric Melton a perfect example. They beat Mark Mitchell at the last meeting but bike problems have stopped them stringing together consistent results.
Photo: left to right, Rick Stephens/Nick O'Brien (red), Mark Plaisted/Ben Pitt (blue), Shane Rudloff/Scott Morris (white). Photo by Derick Thomas.
Everything You Need To Know:
Meeting Date: Saturday, 28 December 2019.
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 5 pm. Free spectator access to the pits until closed to the public for practice and racing.
Racing starts: at 7.00 pm.
Eagle Fuels South Australian Sidecar Championship : alphabetical order: Simon Cohrs / Reece Farr (Vic), Nathan Fleet / Ayrton Canning, Neale Hancock / Brendan Johnson (Vic), Mick Headland / Brenton Kerr, Dean Hobbs / Glen Zaworski, Kym Menadue / Eric Melton, Dylan Milton / Josh O’Bryan (WA), Mark Mitchell / Tony Carter, Warren Monson / Andrew Summerhayes (Vic), Mark Plaisted / Ben Pitt, Mark Radford / Blake Halls (Vic), Shane Rudloff / Scott Morris, Aaron Silvy / Jaron Silvy, Brian Silvy / Cameron White, Jack Spear / Mitchell Spear, Rick Stephens / Nick O’Brien (NSW)
Championship format: 20 heats. The top three point scorers qualify for the final, along with the winner of a last chance semi-final for the 4th to 7th highest scorers. The finishing order in the final will determine the championship placegetters.
Meeting Sponsors: Eagle Fuels.
Admission: Adults $25, Age Pension & Student Concession $20, Children aged 12-15 $5, Under 12 free, Family $55, Programme $5. Parking free. Grandstand free.
Concession is limited to holders of the Centrelink Pensioner Concession Card and Student Concession card holders only. Eftpos is only available at the eastern gate. The western (main) gate is cash only.
Seating: Grandstand seating is free for this meeting but is limited to 216 people. There are large grassed viewing mounds and terracing suitable for deck chairs.
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] Eftpos available at the main canteen.
Bar facilities available but please note a condition of our liquor licence is no byo alcohol or glass can be brought into the venue.
Pets: No pets, other than guide dogs, are allowed into the venue.
Souvenirs: There is a well-stocked souvenir shop. Eftpos is not available in the souvenir shop.
Weather Forecast: Maximum 38, minimum 23. Very hot, mostly sunny day. Forecast updated 26 December. [www.bom.gov.au/sa/forecasts/Adelaide]
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 new 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.
For interstate visitors flying into Adelaide and getting a hire car, Gillman is about 20kms, and 30 minutes’ drive (depending on traffic lights) from the airport.
The easiest and most direct way from the airport, if not going to your accommodation first is:
On leaving the airport, turn left onto Sir Donald Bradman Drive. Continue along Sir Donald Bradman Drive until you reach the end of the airport grounds and turn right onto Tapleys Hill Road. Keep going on Tapleys Hill Road until you can’t go any further. That’s Port Road. Turn left onto Port Road (you can only turn left). Continue down Port Road for about 1 km to the first intersection which is Grand Junction road and turn right. Go 700 metres along Grand Junction Road, over a bridge over a railway line. Stay in the left lane because at the bottom of the bridge you turn left into Gray Terrace. Go to the end of Gray Terrace and turn right onto Bedford Street. Keep going on that road until you get to the speedway. About 2km.
Accommodation: There is plenty of accommodation in Adelaide and suburbs, within 20-30 minutes of the Speedway, ranging from five star hotels to caravan parks and backpacker hostels. Speedway supporter discount available at the Mansfield Park Hotel, 426 Grand Junction Road, Mansfield Park (3 km from the track). Call 08 8445 3300 or use the link https://hotels.cloudbeds.com/reservation/VgHXNT#promo=GillmanSpeedway