AUSTRALIA, SOUTH AUSTRALIA. Darrin Treloar and Jesse Headland again dominated the opposition to win the second round of the Nankang Tyres/Mitch Chassis Sidecar Super Series at Gillman Speedway on Saturday night (27 January).
There was no maximum score this time, however, as they were excluded from the first heat of the night for exceeding the two-minute time limit. Thereafter they were generally untroubled by their rivals, although they had to do it the hard way in heat twenty when they found themselves in last place on the first lap behind three quick riders in Andrew Buchanan, Mark Plaisted and Jamie Moohan.
They got by Moohan at the end of the first lap, Plaisted, who was unbeaten at that stage, on lap two, and Buchanan on the last lap before holding off Buchanan on a race to line to win by just two metres.
Treloar’s rides over his last two Gillman meetings have been reminiscent of his dominance a few seasons ago and he is very much the rider to beat at the moment.
With Treloar’s lost points in the first heat, the early pacesetters were Mark Plaisted/Ben Pitt and Mick Headland/Brenton Kerr who were both unbeaten after three rides, and heat thirteen looked like being a blockbuster with Plaisted, Headland and the World Cup champions Warren Monson/Andrew Summerhayes. Monson was also on song having beaten Australian Champion Trent Headland in his first ride, in the fastest time of the night, and Buchanan, Mark Mitchell and Dave Bottrell in his second ride, before losing control and running off the track in his third ride.
Tension was increased when the bikes came out for the start and there was no Plaisted. His bike would not start and he had to hurriedly swap bikes, coming to the tapes with just three seconds to spare.
Once the race started it lived up to expectations as they were three wide down the back straight on the opening lap. But tragedy lay ahead. Plaisted took the lead with Headland second and Monson third. Monson then got under Headland on lap two and challenged Plaisted but mid-way between turns three and four on lap three, Monson spun 180 degrees and the bike stood upright on the back wheel right in front of Headland who had no chance to avoid him. There was a heavy collision with all four riders and passengers thrown from the bikes. While Monson, Summerhayes and Kerr were eventually able to return to the pits, Headland remained on the ground and received lengthy medical treatment before being taken to hospital where it was later announced he was cleared of any serious injury.
The race was declared, with Plaisted the winner, and with his third place in heat 20 he went into the final as the highest scorer with 13 points, one ahead of Treloar and Trent Headland/Daz Whetstone on 12.
Starters for the last chance semi-final, missing Mick Headland who had scored 11 points, were Mark Mitchell/Tony Carter and Shane Rudloff/Scott Morris with 10 points, Andrew Buchanan/Denny Cox 8 and Damien Niesche/Mitchell Spear 7, who edged out Dave Bottrell/Chris Bottrell on countback.
Niesche had been the front runner of that group with his 7 points coming from his first three rides before a thrown chain forced him out of his last two rides, and there was another problem in the semi-final as he found as he approached the tapes he had no clutch and he rode across the infield and swapped to Plaisted’s number two bike.
Rudloff had shown a big improvement towards his known abilities to score consistently through the night for his 10 points, but Mitchell and Buchanan were both on only four points after three rides before scoring the necessary points to qualify in their last two rides.
After failing to win a race all night, Buchanan then produced the goods when needed most, first by beating Plaisted for second place in heat 20 to scrape into the semi-final, and then leading all the way to win the semi ahead of Mitchell and Rudloff, with Niesche excluded when he spun the Plaisted bike and ran backwards into the air fence on lap two.
Buchanan’s efforts to get into the final were to little avail, however, as he touched the tapes and was excluded. In the restart Treloar lead all the way to win from Plaisted and Trent Headland, leaving Treloar and Plaisted the top scorers with 16 series points each.
After two rounds Darrin Treloar/Jesse Headland lead the series points with 35 points, from Mark Plaisted/Ben Pitt 31 and Trent Headland/Darryl Whetstone 29. The full series points can be found on the Gillman Speedway website in the results tab, under the results for this meeting.
Round 3 of the Super Prix will be held at Gillman on February 24, but the next Gillman meeting is the Eagle Fuels Gillman Speedway track championships, for 500cc Solos, Sidecars and Juniors, on Saturday night, 10 February.
Top photo: Warren Monson/Andrew Summerhayes (red) challenge Mark Plaisted/Ben Pitt (white) for the lead in heat 13 before the crash pictured below. Photo: Judy Mackay.