The 2016/17 season comes to an exciting end this weekend with the staging of the country’s premier event, the Nankang Tyres Australian Sidecar Championship, at Adelaide’s Gillman Speedway.
The Championship Final will take place on Sunday night, but is just one part of a three day speedway carnival.
On Good Friday the promoters will open the stadium with free entry to a “festival of speed” which will feature dozens of classic and current day bikes and cars from all forms of motorsport on display. There will also be interviews with riders and drivers throughout the day, plus activities for kids – and repeating, all for free entry. This was hugely popular last year with the venue crowded with people throughout the day. The canteen will be open, and there will be plenty of souvenirs available to purchase.
The festivities will run from 10am until 4pm and then it will be time to shut up shop and start the final venue and track preparations for the Australian Championship racing which starts on Saturday night with the Qualifying meeting.
24 riders will take to the track at Gillman to decide who will win the toughest event in World Speedway Sidecar racing.
On Saturday night sixteen of those riders will take part in the Qualifying Meeting to determine eight riders to go forward to the Championship decider on Sunday night where they will meet eight who have qualified through their State championships.
It sounds relatively easy to score enough points from five rides to finish in the top eight, but there will be some good riders who are going to miss out because many of the riders in the qualifying meeting are amongst the best in Australia, and that virtually guarantees fast and furious racing.
Those that miss out won’t necessarily have a bike problem, or even do anything wrong. They might ride their hearts out and deserve to get through, but the simple fact is only eight can make it.
Riders in the qualifying meeting include former World Track Racing Champion Mick Headland, former Oceania Champion Mark Plaisted, former Australian Champion Mark Mitchell, current World number three Andrew Buchanan, Dave Bottrell and Grant Bond who have both been Australia number two, former Victorian champion Byren Gates, winner of the Roll the Dice Garry Treloar meeting in NSW this season, Hayden Bond, and Gillman star Damien Niesche.
For those that do make the cut, it all starts from scratch again Sunday night against the best of the best, led by nine-times Australian Champion Darrin Treloar, and newly crowned World Cup and Oceania Champion Warren Monson.
As well as Treloar and Monson, the qualifiers will have to face last season’s Australian and World #2 Trent Headland, former Australian Champion Russell Mitchell, Arron Hartwig, Tyler Moon, Rick Howse and Brodie Cohen.
It is possible to come through the qualifying meeting and win the title however, as Jason Aldridge proved in 2010 when he and Rick Howse top scored in the qualifying meeting and then finished 1-2 in the championship final.
Everything You Need To Know:
Venue: Gillman Speedway Stadium, 65 Wilkins Road, Gillman – near the Port Adelaide area.
Festival of Speed: Friday, 14 April 2017, 10am to 4pm, free entry.
Meeting Dates: Saturday, 15 April 2017 (Qualifying Meeting); Sunday, 16 April 2017 (Australian Sidecar Championship).
Parking and entrance: Patrons can enter via two gates, at the western and eastern ends of the venue. There are free off-street parking areas near both gates.
Gates open: at 2 pm (Saturday) and 5 pm (Sunday). The Eastern gate will close at 8pm.
Racing starts: at 7.30 pm both nights. Free spectator access to the pits to approximately 6.30 pm.
Practice: Saturday 4.30pm to 5.30pm. Pits closed during this time. No practice on Sunday.
Darrin Treloar / Blake Cox (NSW)
Trent Headland / Darryl Whetstone (SA/Vic)
Arron Hartwig / Teagan Hartwig (SA)
Warren Monson / Andrew Summerhayes (Vic)
Russell Mitchell / Andy Gajek (WA)
Tyler Moon / Adam Lovell (Qld)
Rick Howse / Adam Commons (NSW)
Brodie Cohen / Damian Egan (Qld)
plus the 8 highest point scorers from the qualifying meeting:
Mick Headland / Brenton Kerr (SA/Vic)
Mark Plaisted / Ben Pitt (SA/Vic)
Byren Gates / Michael O’Loughlin (Vic)
Mark Mitchell / Sam Harrison (SA)
Shane Rudloff / Scott Morris (SA)
Andrew Buchanan / Denny Cox (NSW)
Grant Bond / Glenn Cox (NSW)
Hayden Bond / Brady Cox (NSW)
Neale Hancock / Brendan Johnson (Vic)
Kym Menadue / Eric Melton (SA)
Damian Niesche / Mitchell Spear (SA)
Hamish Golding / Bayley Ogilvie (Qld)
Dave Bottrell / Christopher Bottrell (Qld)
Daniel Puddy / Luke Puddy (SA)
Clint Mayes / Sean Colbey (Vic)
Dean Hobbs / Justin Richards (SA)
Reserves Tim Bichard / Brenton Marsh (SA), Aaron Silvy / Ayrton Canning (SA)
Junior (250cc) Sidecars on the infield track: Hugh Evans / Jake Treloar, Mark-John Papastamatis / Teagan Pedler, Seth Pascoe / Angus Vandenberg, Max Howse / Riley Commons, Jaron Speyer-Silvy / Kaidyn Silvy, Harry Hearne / Nate Headland, Jack Fewster / Adam Fewster, Connor Curran / Brodie Kerss, Jackson Milner / Adam Niesche, Hamish McCarten / Kayden Gates, Justin Southgate / Terrance Lanigan. Esculent Gillman Sidecar Cup on Saturday night and the Glenn & Nathan O’Brien Cup on Sunday night.
Admission prices Saturday night: Adults $25, Age Pension and Student Concession $20 (*), Children Under 16 $5 (aged 12-15 inclusive), Children Under 12 free. Family $55. Programme $5. Grandstand seating $5. Parking free.
Admission prices Sunday night: Adults $30, Age Pension and Student Concession $25 (*), Children Under 16 $10 (aged 12-15 inclusive), Children Under 12 free. Family $70. Programme $5. Grandstand seating $5. Parking free.
(*) Concession is limited to Centrelink Pensioner Concession Card and Student Concession Card holders only. A family ticket covers 2 adults and children under 16.
Weather Forecast: Friday — maximum 24, minimum 12, sunny. Saturday – maximum 25, minimum 11, partly cloudy. Sunday – maximum 24, minimum 12, partly cloudy [www.bom.gov.au/sa/forecasts/Adelaide]
Seating: 216 seat grandstand; terracing and large grassed viewing mounds suitable for deck chairs.
VIP Area: The V.I.P. area is available to anyone who would like to treat their business colleagues, family or friends to the best view of motorcycle speedway action in Australia. Spectators can enjoy the elevated view overlooking the track, either from inside the temperature controlled room, on the timber decks, or the enclosed lawn area, for a very reasonable price per person. A fully stocked bar and a variety of food to suit all budgets is available and you can book the whole room or part thereof. Ring Gillman Speedway Manager David Parker on 0403 364 658 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org 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. Also note no pets, other than guide dogs, are allowed into the venue.
Souvenirs: There is a well-stocked souvenir shop including the latest Blackchrome manufactured shirts and jackets. Eftpos available only in the souvenir shop.
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. Once you are on Tapleys Hill Road you can’t really go wrong. You only have to make three or four turns and most of those are simple. Just 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, so pretty easy to this point). Continue down Port Road for about 1 km to the first intersection which is Grand Junction road and turn right. You only 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 (you can’t go straight ahead) onto Bedford Street. Just keep going on that road until you get to the speedway. About 2 kms.
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. An exciting new accommodation venue, Quest Port Adelaide, has recently opened only five minutes from the track. Quest Port Adelaide has modern studio, one, two and three bedroom apartments.
Contact for this meeting: Speedway Manager, David Parker 0403 364 658