Qualifying battle royale at the Australian Sidecar Championship finale
April 19, 2017

Trent Headland/Darryl Whetstone (blue) and Andrew Buchanan/Denny Cox (red). Photo by Judy Mackay.

Gillman Speedway was once again alive with excitement for the Nankang Tyres Australian Sidecar Championship over the Easter long weekend, with the Qualifier kicking off on Saturday night in exciting fashion.

Saturday's Qualifying session at Gillman Speedway in South Australia, provided action packed, no holds barred racing that quickly thwarted the efforts of hotly tipped favourites and paved the foundations for others to shine in a tri-wheeled methanol fuelled showdown for the ages. In a blow by blow tour-de-force, the crowd was left spellbound.

In what would transpire into being the highlight snippets of the evening, Heat four of the Qualifier saw steadfast competitors Mark Plaisted/Ben Pitt caught out on the back straight as he was under pressure from Neale Hancock/Brendon Johnson (VIC), clipping the fence bringing on a red light and a restart. Plaisted didn't make the same mistake again and stole the victory from Hancock, Damien Niesche/Mitchell Spear (SA) and Haydon Bond/Brady Cox (NSW)

Dave Bottrell/Chris Bottrell (QLD) developed engine problems on the second lap of Heat five, losing power from their machine while fending off second position before a forced retirement ended their race. Hobbs was also down on power finished third. Byren Gates/Michael O’Loughlin (VIC) went on to finish in second from Niesche.
Hancock was excluded after a tangle with Mark Mitchell/Sam Harrison (SA) in Heat 11, which required Mitchell's skill to not overturn. Dean Hobbs/Justin Richards (SA) crossed the line second from Kym Menadue /Eric Melton (SA)
Heat 19 ensured thrilling racing with Grant Bond/Glenn Cox (NSW) excluded for exceeding the two-minute pre-start window, replaced by Tim Bichard/Brenton Marsh (SA)(the only event of the meeting requiring a reserve to be called on) The heat also saw Hamish Golding/Bayley Ogilvie (QLD) and Menadue retire, gifting the event to Niesche who won well ahead of Bichard. 
Dynamic duo Andrew Buchanan/Denny Cox (NSW) put on a high quality display to win each of their heats finishing with a maximum score of 15, and earned first Qualifying position for the Championship.
Niesche qualified third by virtue of a countback from Plaisted when they both finished on 11 points. Similarly on countback, Grant Bond ahead of Shane Rudloff /Scott Morris (SA) and Hancock all three finished on seven points apiece.
In Under 16 Sidecars for the Esculent Gillman Speedway Sidecar Cup, Jackson Milner/ Adam Niesche top scored the maximum 12 points ahead of fellow Victorian, Harry Hearne / Nate Headland on 10, advancing both of them directly to the Final.
The B Final saw South Australian, Mark-John Papastamatis move through to the final, leading Jaron Speyer-Silvy / Kaidyn Silvy, after Connor Curran / Brodie Kerss was excluded when he ran infield.

In the A Final Heat, Milner was the one to beat after he gated ahead of Hearne and Papastamatis, which was the finishing order. 

For more information visit Gillman Speedway's website by clicking here.
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