AUSTRALIA, SOUTH AUSTRALIA, ADELAIDE. South Australian Sidecar star Mick Headland left the last Gillman Speedway meeting in the back of an ambulance, after a spectacular crash with Warren Monson, but he and passenger Brenton Kerr are making a quick return to contest the Eagle Fuels Gillman Speedway Sidecar Championship this Saturday night, 10 February.
Although Headland has been South Australia’s most successful rider during the 2000s, winning amongst other events the FIM Gold Trophy, two World Track Racing Championships and three South Australian Championships, the Gillman track championship is one event he has had difficulty winning.
His only victory has been in 2015 and he has only been on the top three rostrum three times, so he is keen to add another victory to the list but it won’t be easy as they’ll be up against one of this season’s in-form teams, the Riverland brother and sister team of Arron and Teagan Hartwig.
This will be the Hartwig’s first appearance at Gillman this season but they have been riding regularly at the country tracks including just last Saturday night when they were unlucky not to win the Iron Triangle Sidecar Masters at Whyalla. They were unbeaten in the heats and had just taken the lead in the final from Australian Champion Trent Headland when Teagan fell from the bike. She very, fortunately, was not hit by the following bikes but, of course, they were excluded for causing the race stoppage.
While Headland and Hartwig will share equal favouritism in the Sidecar Championship, former British Under 21 Champion Robert Branford will start as the favourite for the Solo Championship, but he won’t want to make any slip-ups as there are a number of riders ready to take over the front-running including defending champion Dakota Ballantyne, fellow Australian Under 21 Championship riders Declan Knowles and Brayden McGuinness, Australian Championship rider Robert Medson, and perhaps even an dark horse in Seth Hickey who has shown good form since buying a bike from Branford.
The 125cc Under 16 Solos will also contest their Gillman Championship event with defending champion Patrick Bowes and Hugh Evans the favourites.
The three championship events will be supported by some Flat Track races culminating in an all-in 12 rider final.