Rohan Tungate and Shane Hudson/Cameron Bell the winners at Gillman opening meeting

Rohan Tungate and Shane Hudson/Cameron Bell won the main events at the opening Gillman Speedway meeting on Saturday night; Tungate winning the Jack Young Solo Cup, and Hudson/Bell going through the card in the support Sidecar events.

The Jack Young Cup was the major event of the night and featured new World Champion Jason Doyle and fellow international riders Tungate and Nick Morris, who travelled to Adelaide to support the event which doubled as a fundraising meeting for the Australian World Cup teams.

As expected the three internationals were the top three point scorers, each scoring 11 out of possible 12 points and only dropping their points to each other — Morris beat Doyle in heat five, Doyle beat Tungate in heat twelve, and Tungate beat Morris in heat fourteen.

That should have meant they were the three automatic qualifiers for the deciding final, but there was a disappointment for the fans when it was announced after the heats that Doyle would not be riding in the final. Speedway manager David Parker then came onto the microphone and explained Doyle had been ill all day and probably should not have ridden at all, but he gave it his best shot for his four heats but was then too exhausted to take his place in the final. Earlier Doyle had received a standing ovation from the crowd as he made his first appearance anywhere as the World Champion.

Doyle’s bad luck was good luck for the fourth highest scorer, Jordan Stewart, who was promoted into the final in Doyle’s place. Stewart had continued his good form from the Victorian Under 21 Championship at Broadford the previous weekend to finish with 10 points from three heat wins and a close third behind Doyle and Tungate in heat twelve.

The four semi-finalists were Cooper Riordan (9), Zach Cook, Jaimon Lidsey and Robert Medson (all 7 points). Just missing out were Matthew Gilmore and Dakota Ballantyne on 6.

There was no obvious favourite for the semi-final but in the early stages it looked like local rider Medson would win as he led from Lidsey, Cook and Riordan. However one very minor mistake cost him the race. Coming toward the end of the second lap he lifted slightly. Not enough to cause any serious problem but enough to move him slightly off his preferred line and that was all Lidsey needed. They were side by side for the next half-a-lap before Lidsey edged ahead and he went on to take the win, with Medson second, Cook third and Riordan fourth.

The final saw Tungate in red, Morris in blue. Lidsey in white and Stewart in yellow and the red lights were quickly on when Tungate and Morris clashed going into turn one. In the restart Morris made a lightening start to take the lead and he seemed to have Tungate’s measure. A win for Morris looked even more likely when Stewart challenged Tungate on lap two and they collided going through turns one/two which forced Tungate wide and allowed Morris to open a bigger gap. But Tungate is something of a Gillman track specialist, despite usually only riding there in the Australian Championship rounds, and he was able to catch and pass Morris to take the win with Morris second only just in front of Stewart.

Above: Rohan Tungate (red) taking the lead from Nick Morris in the Jack Young Cup final; and below the placegetters, left to right, Jordan Stewart (3rd), Rohan Tunagte (1st), Nick Morris (2nd), Jaimon Lidsey (4th). All photo this page courtesy of Judy Mackay.

In the Sidecar support events visiting New South Wales rider Shane Hudson, with passenger Cameron Bell, went through the card unbeaten and recorded the fastest one and four lap times on the new MYLAPS electronic timing system.

Hudson’s win in the final was made somewhat easier than expected with his major pre-meeting rivals Mark Mitchell/Dale Knights and Mick Headland/Brenton Kerr failing to see the meeting out, but Hudson had beaten both in heat five so would have still been confident of victory had they been in the final.

Mitchell had only dropped a point to Hudson in his first two rides and was on his way to victory in his third ride when his bike broke down and spun around in front of the closely following Kym Menadue who clipped him as he tried to avoid a crash. That put Mitchell out of his final ride, and it was a similar story for Mick Headland in his third ride as he was well ahead going into the last lap only to pull up with a clutch failure.

In the absence of Mitchell and Headland, Hudson was joined in the final by Kym Menadue/Eric Melton (11 points), Tim Bichard/Derick Thomas (9) and Aaron Silvy/Jaron Speyer-Silvy (9) who won the last chance semi-final from Ron Parker/Ayrton Canning (7) and Steve Browne/Colby Higgins (7) with Paul Donnelly/Jake Roberts (5) excluded from third place for going infield.

The race went as the heat points suggested with Hudson leading all the way for a narrow win over Menadue with Bichard third and Silvy fourth.

Earlier in the day the 250cc and 125cc Junior Solos had a programme of four rides each and Queenslander Keynan Rew was unbeaten in the 250s, although Fraser Bowes and Jacob Hook took it right up to him, Bowes leading for three laps when they met in heat 2, and Hook and Rew wheel to wheel for the full four laps in heat six. Patrick Bowes was the best of the 125cc riders, just ahead of Hugh Evans.