World Under 21 Champion Jaimon Lidsey scored a comfortable win in the final of the Solo Spectacular at Gillman Speedway on Monday night (28 December).
Lidsey was never challenged in what looked like being a much closer race after all four finalists – Lidsey, Jason Crump, Justin Sedgmen and Dakota Ballantyne - had each scored 13 points in the heats.
Local rider, and current track champion, Ballantyne kept the excitement level high for the local fans however, with a strong ride for second place ahead of Sedgmen and Crump, following a win over Crump in heat 20 to join the other three on 13, and then victory in the last chance semi-final to reach the final.
It was a career best finish in what has so far been a career best season, and local supporters are hoping he can carry his form through to next meeting’s state championship to earn a work permit for the 2021 UK season.
Early in the meeting Sedgmen, who likewise has been in top form this season with wins in the Jack Young Cup and the Victorian Championship, and Queensland’s Ryan Douglas looked like they would be the riders to fight out the final. They were the only unbeaten riders after two rides and then produced a thrilling race in heat twelve, with the lead changing several times before Sedgmen won a wheel-to-wheel race to the line.
Sedgmen only dropped his first point in his fourth ride when he was beaten by Crump, and then dropped another point to Lidsey in heat 19. His race against Crump was another thriller, but a super gate by unheralded Dayle Wood probably cost Sedgmen the win as he held off Sedgmen just long enough for Crump to establish a lead. Sedgmen was able to reel him in but couldn’t find a way past.
Apart from his heat 20 loss to Ballantyne, Crump dropped his other point to Douglas in heat seven which was also the race Lidsey lost his two points when he finished third. Spare a thought for the fourth rider in the heat, talented 16-year-old Maurice Brown who found himself lining up at the tapes alongside the World Under 21 Champion, a three-time World Champion and the rider who beat them both!
Ballantyne lost his points to Sedgmen and Lidsey but had some interesting races with Douglas in heat 13 and the semi-final with Douglas throwing away victory in both races. A win in heat 13 would have seen him finish as the top scorer with 14 points and he was leading a close dice with Ballantyne when he inexplicably fell and slid into the fence on the straight at the end of the second lap.
That loss of points relegated him to the semi-final, along with Ballantyne (who lost the draw for the riders on 13), Matthew Gilmore (10 points) and Robert Medson (9), and it was déjà vu as Douglas again led Ballantyne narrowly and again fell near the same spot, this time within metres of the finish of the race.
Although understandably not quite on the pace of the four international riders, the riders in the bottom half of the scorecard also produced some good racing between each other, even bottom of the table Dayle Wood (1 point) and Bradley Page (0) who were in the mix and rode well for no reward. Top scorer of the non-qualifiers for the finals was Shane Bowes on 8 points, ahead of Declan Knowles on 6, Steven Graetz, Maurice Brown and Adam Clare on 5, Jacob Hook 4 and Patrick Hamilton 3.
In the support classes, Blake Ridley had his best meeting to top score in the Solo reserves’ races, ahead of Seth Hickey and Jake Mitchell, which may have moved him ahead of the other two for a possible berth in the state championship; Brian Silvy/Damian Egan and Kym Menadue/Eric Melton top scored with 11 points each in the Sidecar heats; Nigel Sadler was unbeaten in the Flat Track Solos; and Michael Cogdell dropped just one point in the Under 16 250cc Solo races.
No final was held for the Sidecars because of the lateness of the meeting finish after a lengthy delay following a bad crash involving Jordan Hargreaves and Billy Brown in a heat of the Under 16 125cc Solos on the infield track. Both riders had possible serious injuries and were kept on the track until two extra ambulances arrived to take them to hospital. Fortunately the injuries were not as bad as they could have been. There was concern about a neck injury and a possibly dislocated knee cap for Hargreaves but he escaped with bad bruising to his knee and thigh, while Brown, from Cowra in New South Wales and the younger brother of Maurice (“Moz”), was not so lucky and suffered a broken arm. Both are looking at about two months on the sidelines.
Placegetters in the Gillman Solo Spectacular, left to right, Jason Crump (4th), Justin Sedgmen (3rd), Jaimon Lidsey (1st) and Dakota Ballantyne (2nd). Photo by Judy Mackay.