Including top placed competitors and teams from as far and wide as New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States of America, the FIM Oceania Speedway Sidecar Championship is tightly fought and Australian's have always proved to be stanch competition for the tourists.
The tight and twitchy Undera track played host to many race incidents on Saturday night including an unfortunate outing for Mick Cave and Bradley Steer, crashing out on the first lap of the first heat, after traveling all the way from England to compete. Cave suffered a nasty injury to his knee and wrist after his machine spectacularly cartwheeled down the straight. Cave and Steer later attempted their second heat (Heat 5) as their machine miraculously escaped damage, however pain and injury made it difficult for the rider to start.
Cave sharing; "We had a terrible time of it here last year, suffering many mechanical and electrical issues. One thing after the other really, and now this! (Injury). It's a bit of a quick dash out here for the FIM Oceania rounds for us really. I havenít ridden since Australia last year and we've done no meetings at home (UK) in the meantime. Now, all I'm after on my trip here to Australia this year is some pain killers and sunshine!" He finished.
It was relatively clean, down to the wire racing all night at Undera in the crisp night air as the B Final got underway including the all Australian line up of Darrin Treloar / Blake Cox, Mark Mitchell /Sam Harrison and Trent Headland / Daryll Whetstone and New Zealander Jamie Moohan with passenger Brenton Marsh from South Australia rounding out the grid. The first lap saw Headland spin, bringing the following teams infield forcing a rerun of the B Final.
In the B final rerun, Treloar was in the lead when the red light was signalled, yet another restart that saw Treloar go on for the third and final attempt at the B to claim it in a smooth and easy win.
Warren Monson and passenger Andrew Summerhayes received no points in the A Final after spinning infield on the exit of turn one, forcing the Victorians to watch the rest of the race. New South Wales team Grant Bond and Glen Cox, claimed third position in the A, finishing the night on a total of 14 points.
The unstoppable duo of Sydney-sider Darrin Treloar and Blake Cox managed second position (15 points) as Kiwi rider, Andrew Buchanan with his Australian passenger Denny Cox won the all important A Final and the night on 17 points total.
Monson and Summerhayes shared their comments: "Speedway is always a bit of fun. The track is slippery in the cold tonight, but our bike is running well. Getting the start at Undera is important as turn one is really tight. Whoever has the lead on exit of turn one will have a huge advantage for the remainder of the heat. This round is a great lead up to the World Cup at Gillman (SA) and we are able to gauge the rest of the field as the riders are also competing there too. We are excited for Gillman as we've done plenty of laps there and have a good base setting for that track." The team finished.
Although on a great result, Darrin Treloar was left unsatisfied at Undera adding; "Im not 100 % happy out there as the track is slippery and the bike is having trouble putting power down. This is great preparation for upcoming rounds of Sidecar the and the Wold Cup at Gillman. Every meeting is just as vital as the next. We are continuously improving and developing with minor changes, we will work through the traction issues as a team and hopefully have it dialled in and all sorted for the next round!" The past Champion shared.
Now in it's fifth year running, the FIM Oceania Speedway Sidecar Championship is a relatively new initiative catering for Speedway Sidecars, as the need for an internationally recognised championship was recognised. The first FIM Oceania Speedway Sidecar event ran at the Olymipic Park Stadium in Mildura in 2013 and was won by Mark Plaisted and Brian Anthony.
In an intriguing turn of events that have made Speedway Sidecar history at Undera on Saturday night, all three passengers on the final podium are from the same family representing two generations. Denny Cox 19 years (1st place), Blake Cox 26 years (2nd place) and Glen Cox 53 years (3rd) and Brady Cox 21 years was placed on reserve.
For the complete Round One score card from April 01 at Undera, click here.
2017 Sidecar Speedway has not been without injury and drama, as hot favourites Shane Hudson and Justin Plaisted both unfit to compete in the first round at Undera due to crash injuries sustained at Broken Hill (NSW) and Whyalla (SA), dashing their seasons efforts.
Round Two of the FIM Oceania Speedway Sidecar Championship will take place this weekend, Sunday April 9th at Gillman Speedway in South Australia.
Contact Gillman Speedway for booking information and enquiries by clicking here
For further information on the Australian Speedway Championships, head to www.ma.org.au
Keep up to date with all Australian Speedway Championship news by heading to the Australian Speedway Championships Facebook page or the Motorcycling Australia website for results and pictures, and as always, follow us on the Motorcycling Australia Facebook and Instagram pages.