World Champion heads stellar line-up for Australian Solo Championship
December 31, 2018 by Gillman Media
Former World Champion Chris Holder heads a star-studded line-up for this season’s Australian 500cc Solo Championship which starts at Adelaide’s Gillman Speedway this week with a qualifying meeting on Wednesday night (2 January) and round one on Thursday night (3 January).
Recent seasons have seen some thrilling Australian Championships with the winner not decided until the final race of the series, and this season’s series looks like it will be another thrilling affair which will go down to the wire.
The strength of this season’s line-up can be seen not just in the list of seeded riders, but in the riders in the qualifying meeting which includes seven established British League riders.
In total there are four previous Australian Champions in the line-up – Chris Holder, Brady Kurtz, Sam Masters and Rohan Tungate – and another three riders – Jack Holder, Nick Morris and Justin Sedgmen – who have won rounds of the championship.
There could well be different winners in every round this season, as there was in both 2016 and 2017, in which case consistency in making the finals will be the key to winning the title. In 2016 Sam Masters did not win a round but he qualified for every final and went within one point of winning the title. The only other rider to reach every final was the eventual champion, Brady Kurtz.
Holder is a five-time national champion but hasn’t competed in the competition since 2015, when he was forced to withdraw due to injury. But in his only appearance in Australia this season, at NSW’s Loxford Park Speedway on Boxing night, Holder showed his rivals he’ll still be the favourite to claim his sixth title.
Holder went through the Boxing night meeting unbeaten, beating three of his major challengers for the national title – Tungate, Masters and Jack Holder – in the heats and again in the final, although Masters and Jack both led until the last lap in the heats, and Tungate was only beaten by ten metres, so Holder will have to be at his best to reclaim the title.
Other riders in top form since Christmas are Max Fricke and Jaimon Lidsey, with Fricke winning the South Australian Championship at Gillman last Friday night, and Lidsey beating Fricke to win the Phil Crump Trophy at Mildura the next night.
British League rides in Wednesday night’s qualifying meeting are Nick Morris, Justin Sedgmen, Mason Campton, Todd Kurtz, Jordan Stewart, Josh Pickering and Ryan Douglas. As well as their British League experience several of these have good Australian Championship CVs as well. Nick Morris has only ridden in two championships but finished fifth and sixth; Justin Sedgmen has made nine appearances and finished in the top eight every year except the first, and Mason Campton finished fifth last season.
Racing on both nights starts at 7.30pm and should finish around 10pm. The weather forecast for Thursday is very hot during the day but it is expected to be quite pleasant during the evening.
Everything You Need To Know:
Meeting Dates: Wednesday 2 January and Thursday 3 January 2019.
Venue: Gillman Speedway Stadium, 65 Wilkins Road, Gillman – near the Port Adelaide area.
Gates open: Gates open at 4.30pm. Free spectator access to the pits until approximately 6.00pm.
Racing starts: 7.30pm.
Australian 500cc Solo Championship CBS Bins Qualifying meeting on Wednesday, 2 January 2019
As selected by Motorcycling Australia, alphabetical order: Mason Campton (NSW), Ben Cook (NSW), Zach Cook (NSW), Ryan Douglas (Qld), Matthew Gilmore (NSW), Jacob Hook (Qld), Todd Kurtz (NSW), Brayden McGuinness (SA), Robert Medson (SA), Nick Morris (Qld), Jack Morrison (Vic), Josh Pickering (NSW), Cooper Riordan (Vic), Justin Sedgmen (Vic), Jordan Stewart (Vic), Kye Thomson (Qld). First reserve: Fraser Bowes (SA); second reserve: Seth Hickey (SA)
Australian 500cc Solo Championship CBS Bins Round 1 on Thursday, 3 January 2019
As selected by Motorcycling Australia, alphabetical order, Max Fricke (Vic), Chris Holder (NSW), Jack Holder (NSW), Zane Keleher (Qld), Brady Kurtz (NSW), Jaimon Lidsey (Vic), Sam Masters (NSW), Rohan Tungate (NSW) plus highest eight point scorers from the qualifying meeting.
Wednesday night (Qualifying): Adults $25, Age Pension & Student Concession $20, Children aged 12-15 $5, Under 12 free, Family $55, Programme $5. Parking free. Grandstand free.
Thursday night (Round 1): Adults $30, Age Pension & Student Concession $25, Children aged 12-15 $10, Under 12 free, Family $70, Parking free. Programme $5. Grandstand $5.
Concession is limited to holders of the Centrelink Pensioner Concession Card and Student Concession card holders only.
Seating: Grandstand seating for 216 people. 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, tea, cold drinks, sweets. “Gillman has far and away the best speedway tucker” [Peter White’s Speedway World]
Bar facilities available but please note a condition of our liquor licence is no byo alcohol or glass can be brought into the venue. Also note no pets, other than guide dogs, are allowed into the venue.
Souvenirs: There is a well-stocked souvenir shop, including 2019 Australian Speedway Championship T shirt (full colour, $40, all sizes Adults and Children). Eftpos available in the souvenir shop.
Weather Forecast: (As at 31 December) Wednesday Maximum 34, minimum 16. Thursday Maximum 41, minimum 19. [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. The Pavlos Motel on Main North Road, Pooraka offers a discount to speedway fans but you must ring the motel direct and ask for the Gillman Speedway discount. Full details are on the Gillman website under the information/accommodation tab.
Live results: Live results are free to view on the MYLAPS phone app. (www.speedhive.mylaps.com). The Gillman programme is available to download from the Gillman Speedway website (under the Shop tab) for $5.50 payable by credit card or PayPal.
Contact for this meeting: Speedway Manager, David Parker 0403 364 658
Top photo: Chris Holder. Photo by Jesper Veldhuizen.