Three-time World Champion Tai Woffinden will make his only appearance in Adelaide this season when he headlines the line-up for the 2024 FIM Oceania 500cc Solo Speedway Championship at Gillman Speedway on Saturday night (27 January).
Woffinden, who began his career in junior speedway in Perth before returning to his native England at age 15 to start his professional career, won the World individual Championship in 2013, 2015 and 2018, and was runner-up in 2016 and 2020. He is also a three-time British Champion, and an eleven-time Speedway Grand Prix winner.
The FIM Oceania Championship is one of the newest major events on the world speedway calendar with the inaugural event only staged in November 2019, and this season it takes on greater significance as it has been given official recognition by the FIM Track Commission as a qualifying round for the Speedway Grand Prix, with the highest placed Australian rider not already qualified for a Speedway GP place receiving a berth in one of the four European-based qualifying rounds during 2024 (along with the first four placed riders from the recent Australian Championship). From there the top four riders from each round progress to the SGP Challenge meeting where the first three will be added to the 2025 SGP roster.
This means spectators will see two strategies in one on Saturday night with riders like Woffinden, and Mildura rider Jaimon Lidsey, who already has a berth in the SGP qualifying rounds, going solely for outright victory, while others like international riders Brady Kurtz, Sam Masters, Justin Sedgmen and Josh Pickering will be equally focussed on getting the SGP berth on offer.
Kurtz will start the meeting as the favourite to claim that berth on the basis of his most recent form which saw him win the last two rounds of the Australian Championship, including the final round at Gillman just a fortnight ago.
However, with the FIM format which has two semi-finals rather than the top point scorers going straight into the final, anything can happen and an engine failure or a few surprise dropped points could see him in a tougher semi-final and facing elimination, which could open the way for one of the riders from the other semi-final to snatch the SGP place.
Justin Sedgmen was a finalist last season and has already won the South Australian and Gillman Speedway Championships at Gillman this season so he could be that rider, but again it could all come down to the luck of the draw with the semi-finals.
As well as the riders already mentioned the line-up consists of Jacob Hook and Zane Keleher from Queensland, Michael West (NSW),
Jack Morrison, Dayle Wood (Vic), Matt Marson (WA), Sam Hagon (Eng), and local riders Fraser Bowes, Jake Turner and Sam Martin.
Bowes and Keleher were both semi-finalists last season (where they were drawn against Woffinden and fellow World Champion Jason Doyle) and would obviously like to go one step further this time.
For those that can’t attend, the meeting will be livestreamed through the website link [https://www.spacequakesports.com/ppv] for a cost of $30. Please note this is the only official livestreaming link, any others touted on facebook sites are scams and should be ignored.
This is the last major Solo meeting of the season, with the focus switching to Sidecars from the next meeting.
Everything You Need To Know:
Meeting Date: Saturday, 27 January 2024
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 4.00pm.
Pit access for spectators: Free spectator access to the pits until approximately 5.30pm.
Racing starts: at 7 pm.
Championship riders: Fraser Bowes (SA), Sam Hagon (Eng), Jacob Hook (Qld), Zane Keleher (Qld), Brady Kurtz (NSW), Jaimon Lidsey (Vic), Matt Marson (WA), Sam Martin (SA), Sam Masters (NSW), Jack Morrison (Vic), Josh Pickering (Vic), Justin Sedgmen (Vic), Jake Turner (SA), Michael West (NSW), Tai Woffinden (Eng), Dayle Wood (Eng). Reserve: Riley Plum (Vic).
Championship Sponsor: CBS Bins — a family owned and operated business which commenced in 1975 when Graham and Marion Baker started with the purchase of a model 610 Bobcat. As the years progressed they were joined by their sons Steven, Mark and Darren, and today CBS Bins has grown into one of South Australia’s leading waste and rubbish removal companies. The western end terracing at Gillman is named The Graham Baker Terrace in memory of Graham, and in recognition of the family’s long and valued support of Gillman Speedway. Website [www.cbsbins.com.au]
500cc Solo Support (5 races): Declan Knowles (Vic), Bradley Page (NSW), Riley Plum (Vic)
Under 16 250cc Solos (5 races): Harry Sadler. Ashley Jansen-Batchelor (withdrawn)
Under 16 125cc Junior Solos (on infield track during main track grades): Kobi Canning, Owen Chapman, Ruby Chapman, Hayden Kuchel, Connor Machin, Ryleigh McGregor, William Nicol, Hayden Pascoe, Riley Stout. Addition to programme: Cooper Antone (NSW),
Admission: Adults $30, Age Pension and Student Concession $25, Children Under 16 free. Parking free. Programme $5-includes two chances to win $50 fuel vouchers. EFTPOS available at both entrances, the canteen, bar and souvenir shop.
Concession is limited to holders of the Centrelink Pensioner Concession Card and Student Concession card holders only.
Livestreaming: This meeting will be livestreamed on [https://www.spacequakesports.com/ppv]. The cost is $30 Australian. Any other claimed links to livestreaming are scams and should be ignored.
Seating: Free grandstand seating, large grassed viewing mounds, and terracing suitable for deck chairs.
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 24 January: Maximum 24, minimum 13. 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.
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.
Contact for this meeting: Ivan Golding 0417 138 378.