Mildura’s Olympic Park, Sidecar Spectacular is the longest running, non Championship speedway event held in Australian speedway. This Sunday, the tradition of the best Sidecars in the land fighting out for the Keith “Curly” Carmes Memorial Trophy will be no different, as sixteen great sidecar exponents will converge on Olympic Park to contest the 2015 Spectacular.
Last year a first was created when visiting English riders, Mark Cossar and Daz Whetstone took the Trophy, ahead of Cossar’s British colleague Mick Cave, who took second place ahead of a good Australian field, but this time Cossar has returned from his Oceania competition and Mick Cave banged himself up pretty severely last year and could not even come to Australia to race.
That leaves it wide open for the Australian guys, and hopefully some of our local riders to try to wrest the trophy back from the English.
Best of the chances should be dual World Champions, Mick and Jesse Headland, who have not been having it all their own way this season as Mick is on a mission of set up for the regular tracks around the country, with some emphasis on the need to do well at the larger 400 metre circuit at Alice Springs, where the 2015 Australian Title will be held over the Easter weekend.
A good collection of stars will attend with Shane Hudson / Brad Pitt coming down again from Sydney along with Damian Niesche / Mitch Spear and the Hartwig siblings, Arron and Teagan, Rob Patterson / Brenton Kerr and Klae Hobbs / Jack Spear coming from Adelaide and Waikerie. Best news for Olympic Park patrons is that gracing us this weekend will be the “Prince of Port Adelaide,” the amazing Ronny Parker, with Jarrod Edey in the chair. Parker is one of the most affable riders in SA motorcycling Sidecars, as he races and rides a number of disciplines on three wheels, including being a better than average speedway exponent. Parker has a great rapport in the sport and it liked by competitors, officials and patrons alike. He will be a worthy inclusion in the field, for his first ride since the track has been refurbished.
Mark Radford / Chris Walker contest another Mildura meeting, being regulars at most Olympic Park events and will do well while Adam Thompson / Adam Lang will return for another crack at the Mildura venue.
Local stars are expected to do well with “Wazza” Monson / Matt Morgan, “Byro” Gates / Micky O’Loughlin, Neale and George Hancock, Dale Milner / Nick O’Brien, Chris Dess / Steve Behsmann and AJ Pearce / Brodie Gebhart all representing Mildura at the top level. Monson had a big blow up in the recent Oceania meeting, however still managed a good third place overall in the tough series, but tonight will have some new horsepower underneath him while the Gates / O’Loughlin team have sorted out some early season gremlins and are now riding as the “Gater” of old and putting in some fast times. Milner / O’Brien are always thereabouts in good company and Neale and George Hancock can always lift points away from those when perhaps not expected.
It is pleasing to see local passenger Steve Behsmann back in the chair, as this week he has a tryout with Chris Dess. Behsmann was passenger with former Victorian Champ, Jason Bradshaw, but has not done any riding since they had a massive get off two season ago,
which left Bradshaw with some neck and back injuries. The Behsmann layoff has been lengthy but he is keen to ride again and this end of season opportunity will suit him well. Behsmann is a good passenger, so he might get Dess riding better than he has for a while.
Along with the Sidecar Spectacular field there is a Classic Sidecar support class, which will provide action aplenty for patrons. Mark Radford and Chris Walker will double up in both classes of racing with their Kawasaki ready to go in the older category while Sydney’s Greg Griffiths / Nathan McFadden will join Broken Hill veteran Robbie Kemp / Peter Harvy, both riding 750cc 2 stroke Suzuki “Water Bottles”. Kemp is a great exponent of the 2 stroke racer, as he had a vicious Water bottle back when he was winning Sidecar Spectacular events in the 1980’s.
Rod and Brodie Gebhart will join the throng but excitement will be created when the laconic Rex Byrne takes control of the throttle on the Simon Cohrs machine with Jamie Knudsen in the chair. Rex Byrne is one of the keenest blokes one could imagine and is totally responsible for contacting and organizing our Classic fraternity to race at Olympic Park. Rex will not be able to cover the large smile, even by his helmet, on Sunday night as he will be in the best place of all – in control of the throttle.
A Junior speedway program will start off the night’s entertainment, starting around 6:15pm, with a senior rider presentation to commence around 7:10. Senior racing will begin at 7:30pm sharp.
Olympic Park patrons are reminded that gates open at 5:00pm and that folk are able to bring a blanket or chair and take advantage of the grassy banks or utilize the adequate Grand Stand accommodation which is available “free of charge” to all spectators.
Olympic Park provides a full catering service and patrons are reminded that there must be No BYO by law.