Saturday, 26 May 2018


An enthusiastic crowd enjoyed a thrilling night’s racing at Gillman Speedway on Saturday night, with close, exciting racing in each class, which saw Justin Plaisted’s ‘Apprentices’ win by a point in a last heat decider in the Sidecars event.

Although there was no state pride on the line, the riders from both teams took it very seriously and every rider played their part, but the man of the match was Damien Niesche (passenger Mitchell Spear), who scored two exciting wins over Darrin Treloar/Blake Cox, including the last heat decider.

The Masters went into the last heat leading by a point, 27-26, with Treloar and Neale Hancock/Brendan Johnson facing Niesche/Spear and Justin Plaisted/Simon Cohrs, but with Niesche winning a thrilling dice with Treloar, and Plaisted gaining the upper-hand in an equally thrilling race with Hancock for third, the Apprentices scored a 4-2 heat win for a final score of Apprentices 30 over Masters 29.

Justin Plaisted

Photo: Judy Mackay

The Masters would probably look at the loss of Warren Monson/Andrew Summerhayes after only two of their four heats as their downfall, but the Apprentices had their own problems, specifically an exclusion for Plaisted in heat seven which turned a probable 4-2 for the Apprentices into a 3-2 for the Masters. Plaisted had been outstanding in his team-riding with Shane Rudloff/Scott Morris in heat four, but when he tried to protect Aaron Silvy/Adam Pascoe’s lead in heat seven he was excluded for blocking when Byren Gates/Michael O’Loughlin were forced infield.

In the supporting Division 2 Sidecar races Kym Menadue/Eric Melton went through the card unbeaten, winning their four heats and the final, with Adon Pearce/Brodie Gebhart and Mal Greig/Ayrton Canning filling the other placings in the final, with Steve Fowler/Ben Goodridge excluded from second place for an overly aggressive pass on Pearce. Earlier the four finalists had met in heat six and it was one of the best races of the night with Fowler, Pearce and Menadue three wide through the last corner. Fowler had led all the way but was almost relegated to third in the run to the line, with Menadue winning and Fowler and Pearce side-by-side with Fowler getting the referee’s nod for second place.

Teenagers Thomas Adams/Katelyn Silvy looked likely to be a major threat on the borrowed Keith Bichard bike, but suffered bike trouble while well in front in two of their races, and therefore were not up to speed on their own lesser-powered bike.

The Sidecars finished their night with four heats and a final to decide the Rider of the Night, and the result would have had Treloar’s rivals for the Oceania, World and Australian Championship meetings, coming up at Gillman in April, shaking their heads. After going down twice to Niesche in the teams’ event, Treloar was last in the early stages of the RofN final. Plaisted was away and looking good in front, while Treloar was behind the dicing Gates and Monson. He managed to get past Gates on the first lap, but could not get past Hancock until lap three by which time there looked to be no chance of catching Plaisted, but he reeled him in and won the race by the narrowest of margins.

The supporting 500cc Solos finished their races with a six-lap handicap race which would have been a nightmare for the handicappers as some close racing in the preceding six scratch races saw a real mixture of results, with Brayden McGuinness, Cooper Riordan and Robert Medson all winning races, and sharing the placings with Mitchell Grech. They ultimately decided on Seth Hickey from the gate, Grech 30 metres, McGuinness and Medson on 60 and Riordan on 70. Although he was a bit out of his depth in the scratch races, Hickey was looking the goods in the handicap until Grech fell on lap three and Riordan had to lay his bike down to avoid him. Hickey again looked good in the rerun but McGuinness caught him on lap four to win from Medson with Hickey third.

The next Gillman meeting will be on 4 February with the feature attraction yet to be announced, although the Division 2 Sidecar Championship is a possibility depending on rider availability.

PLEASE NOTE: This article first appeared on 

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