Former Grand Prix rider Troy Batchelor won his sixth South Australian Championship at Gillman Speedway on Tuesday night (3 January) after a titanic battle in the final with Justin Sedgmen.
With only three international riders in the line-up – Batchelor, Sedgmen and Dave Watt – the title was always destined to go to one of them and nothing in the heats suggested otherwise as they top scored with 15, 14 and 13 points respectively.
A fourth international rider, Tyron Proctor, was originally favoured to be the fourth rider in the final, but a car problem caused him to scratch from the original (washed out) staging date of 28 December.
His absence left the fourth berth in the final, and the possibility of a working visa for the UK, wide open but no doubt to the chagrin of those desperate to get to the UK, the other place in the final went to a rider who announced his retirement during the night, Brodie Waters.
24-year-old Waters, in only his fourth season of speedway after an earlier career in road racing (in which he won the Suzuka 4 hour endurance race as an 18-year-old in 2010), went out in style though, winning his last two heat rides in exciting fashion to finish with 10 points, and then leading the last chance semi-final all the way, narrowly ahead of Jordon Stewart (9), Jaimon Lidsey (9) and Cooper Riordan (12).
Riordan, who is one keen to get to the UK, was only beaten by the three internationals in the heats but was then a disappointing last in the semi-final.
Just missing a start in the Semi-Final were local riders Robert Medson (8 points) and Dakota Ballantyne (7).
The final was a classic race between Batchelor and Sedgmen, with Watt and Waters wheel-to-wheel only a few bike lengths behind them. Batchelor was the early leader but Sedgmen executed a masterful inside pass in turn three on the second lap to take the lead. Batchelor then regained the lead on lap three but Sedgmen came back at him again and they were level for most of the last lap with Batchelor just getting home first by about half-a-bike length.
Batchelor has now competed in the Title on six occasions for six victories, which cements him in third place on the all-time winners’ list behind Jack Young and John Boulger, who both won the event 9 times.
In the supporting SA Under 16 250cc Championship, Queenslander Jedd List went through the heat rides unbeaten but it was fellow Queenslander Keynan Rew who won the final ahead of List, Jack Norman and Tom Dixon.
Rew won the start in the final and List clipped his back wheel in the first turn on the final, which caused him (List) to lose ground, and a place to Norman. He quickly rounded up Norman but Rew had established a decent lead which he was able to maintain to the end.