Sunday night's racing kept fans enthralled with thrills, spills and restarts aplenty, as Trent Headland and his passenger Darryl Whetstone succeeded over racing greats, Darrin Treloar (Nine-time Australian Champion)/ Blake Cox (NSW) and current FIM World Champions- Warren Monson/Andrew Summerhayes (VIC), amongst a host of other experienced riders.
In the only event of the evening that saw Andrew Buchanan/Denny Cox (NSW) dropping a point when he finished second, all eyes were on Trent Headland in his convincing win, setting the benchmark for the other competitors by lowering the track record by almost a full second. Formerly, the lap record for Speedway Sidecars at Gillman was 57.30 seconds. Hedland smashed it down to a new time of 56.36 seconds.
As the night before, Heat three was an event in itself when Grant Bond/Glenn Cox (NSW) was excluded for 'barging' Shane Rudloff / Scott Morris (SA) causing an upset and restart. In the restart, Rudloff and Arron Hartwig/ Teagan Hartwig (SA) had a slight encounter which sorted out the order of running. Meantime, Brodie Cohen / Damian Egan (Qld) was increasing the distance between himself taking the win in good fashion from Hartwig and Rudloff.
Heat 11 had Mick Headland / Brenton Kerr (SA/Vic) in fourth position as he desperately tried to make up ground from the retirement in his first heat and a third placing in his second heat. On entering the final corner on the final lap, Headland entered the last corner of the last lap on too much angle, spinning the machine around and overturning it which brought on the red light, and earning an exclusion for his efforts. The heat was won by Mark Plaisted, from Rick Howse / Adam Commons (NSW) and Rudloff.
Heat 14 took two attempts to get underway as a result of less than satisfactory starts, and were recalled. Racing finally got underway at the third attempt, in a quick win for Damian Niesche / Mitchell Spear (SA), leading Hartwig, Mark Plaisted / Ben Pitt (SA/Vic)and Russell Mitchell / Andy Gajek (WA)
All four competitors remained tightly bunched in Heat 18 from start to mid back straight, when Warren Monson / Andrew Summerhayes (VIC) came to grief, dramatically overturning his machine. Both he and passenger were thankfully uninjured and no blame was apportioned to other competitors, all re-started. The restart saw, Dave Bottrell / Christopher Bottrell (QLD) excluded for forcing Rudloff infield on the second lap. Niesche was too good in the heat, taking the win from Monson and Rudloff.
Cohen turned his three-wheeler machine around on lap three in Heat 19, backing into the air fence at speed, automatically turning on the red light. Cohen was then excluded and the race was declared. Niesche was so far in front at that point that he had already started his fourth lap. Previous Australian Champion, Mark Mitchell finished 2nd, with Russell Mitchell trailing in third.
The first lap of the B Final (Heat 21), had all competitors approaching turn three when the Bottrell's machine on the outside of the pack, overturned and dislodged him and passenger, Chris Botrell (Son). The family duo were unhurt and all restarted.
Niesche spun in the restart in the middle of three competitors, striking Mark Mitchell and causing Niesche's to overturn, again bringing on the red light and Niesche's exclusion. The third attempt bought a clear win for hot favourite Darrin Treloar, elevating him to the fourth position in the A Final which meant he gained the outside (yellow gate).
A clean start saw the A Final (Heat 22) running order sorted out promptly with Trent Headland scorching the earth, establishing a clear lead, which he maintained for the duration of the journey. Buchanan desperately tried to make up ground but the distance was too great to bridge. Monson was at a disadvantage on a foreign machine on loan from Mark Mitchell (having damaged his in the Heat 18 incident), and Treloar, struggling to make up the yards, had a couple of minor infield trips to incur an exclusion.
The A Final was well deserved win by Headland, who had set the standard early in the meeting. It was always apparent he and Buchanan were going to be the ones to fight for the Title.
Headland shared his winning comments adding; “To go that one step better, and win against Treloar was most definitely a career highlight for me. To be the best, you have to beat the best. And now finally, I can confidently say that we’re there. To our tight-knit team – Daz, Tommy Hannigan, Jase Hardy, Millie Thomas, Glenn O’Brien, this is our victory. Each and every one of us has an integral part to play, all of which has resulted in the makeup of the Headland Roxby Rockets,” Headland finished
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The Junior (250cc) Speedway Sidecar O'Brien Cup produced solid and somewhat chaotic races, which bought about a number of exclusions, affecting the final order.
The previous night's winner, Jackson Milner / Adam Niesche was eliminated in the B Final, which also saw the quick Jack Fewster/ Adam Fewster's run halted by exclusion.
The A Final on the night was won by Harry Hearne from Connor Curran/Brodie Kerss after Justin Southgate / Terrance Lanigan was excluded for a barging incident.
Success continued for the Headland family, with Trent’s passenger son, Nate Headland (10, Roxby Downs SA) and his rider Harry Hearne (13, Mildura Vic) taking first place in the Glenn O’Brien Junior Speedway Cup.
Keeping it in the family, Nate and Harry were presented their trophy by Nate’s grandfather and the namesake of the cup – former Australian Speedway Sidecar Champion, Glenn O’Brien. With many riders showing early indications of being the bright young future of Sidecar racing in Australia, there is a lot to look forward to.
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Photo Courtesy of Gillman Speedway: Trent Headland and Darryl Whetstone after claiming the title. Photo by Judy Mackay.