NEWS BY ROD COLQUHOUN 1/11/2016

• A real downer for the Hunter Valley’s Sam Masters, who leaves for the UK on Friday in order to sort out his visa for the next season or two.
The problem has arisen due to his late call up to the Australian Grand Prix to replace the injured Jason Doyle in the Melbourne event.
Sam left the UK with a lot more haste than he had intended and had no time whatsoever to undertake the painstaking task of getting his visa renewed.
Clearly this situation is far from desirable, but it is absolutely critical it is sorted out correctly – happy travels Sam!
At this stage it is unknown if any other riders are in a similar predicament.

• On the subject of Sam, it has been a great week for him following a disappointing showing in the Australian Grand Prix (Compared to last year). He won open meetings over consecutive nights at Mildura and Gillman over successive nights against riders the caliber of Max Fricke, Justin Sedgmen, Jason Crump and Mikael Jepsen Jensen (To name a few) – very hard to do, especially twice.

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• Some lovely images surfacing of Darcy Ward enjoying some time on the water with mates last weekend, courtesy of one of his Polish face book friends – really great to see the smile on his face and some great friends he has too.

• Talented Queenslander Tyson Nelson hasn’t ruled out doing some racing this summer – he would be a great domestic addition to this summer’s major events – he can ride this fella!

• Awesome to see the legendary Phil Crump looking well at the meeting held in his honour last weekend in Mildura. Phil remains an incredibly popular figure within the sport and his presence certainly added some magic to the night.

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NEWS BY ROD COLQUHOUN

• December 3 will see Kurri Kurri host the NSW Championship, after last year’s meeting was held at Tamworth’s picturesque equestrian centre.
NSW currently has some exceptional riders with Sam Masters, Rohan Tungate, Brady Kurtz, Jack Holder and Mason Campton sure to be in the thick of the action – not to mention any interstate visitors who may take part.
Jason Doyle will almost certainly miss the meeting through injury, while Chris Holder is also unlikely to be involved.
It will be a great chance for some of our rapidly improving domestic riders to make their mark with Josh Pickering and the Cook brothers from Cowra among riders in that category.
While the aforementioned riders are very well credentialed there is little doubt that plenty of people will be keen to see what pint sized junior star Mathew Gilmore can do against senior company.

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Cowra’s Brady Kurtz in action for the Poole Pirates in the UK. Awesome pic from our good friend Jeff Davies

• Talk is that Coff’s Harbour’s Hugh Skidmore will draw time on his overseas racing career this season and settle back in Australia.
Hugh is a really nice fella, but sadly has done very little racing in Australia and as a result is virtually unknown on home soil.
He spent almost his entire overseas career riding for the Sheffield Tigers.

• The Grand Prix series finale provided speedway fans with a great opportunity to witness the continued resurgence of 2012 World Champ Chris Holder first hand.
It’s been a massive battle both physically and mentally for the affable Appin resident, who suffered a very serious injury to his legs, hips and feet at Coventry in 2013.
Such was the extent of the damage that my own assessment of the situation was that he would likely retire, but thankfully I was wrong. There is a certain ‘flow and rhythm’ to the way Chris rides and this has been absent to some degree since that horrific accident.
There were genuine signs on Saturday night as he kept Tai Woffinden at bay in the final that the Chris Holder of old is about to re-join the fray in a big way and seek out a second world championship, gotta love it!

• The GP Series has many positives, not least of which is letting Australians see a round first hand.
If it does have a massive flaw when compared to the pre 1995 ‘One off’ world finals, it is the often meek conclusion to the championship itself.
Admittedly this year’s Melbourne GP would have been the series decider had Jason Doyle not been injured, but unfortunately the championship itself ended in the first four heats of the night.
The one off world final guaranteed an absolutely spine tingling experience for spectators, with the result hardly ever known until the final race was run.

• I reckon 7 rounds across 5 countries Sweden (2), Denmark, Poland (2), England and Australia would be the ideal duration for the GP series. One per month for 7 months – this would also greatly reduce the negative impact the series has on domestic speedway, particularly in the UK. In fact, domestic speedway at elite level could have a ‘lay day’ every fourth Saturday to ensure the GP series was the primary focus for everyone involved in the sport on that day – just a thought.

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• It sounds as though one of the most ill-conceived exiles from a major sporting competition is set to end, with Emil Sayfutdinov apparently signaling his willingness to return to the Grand Prix circuit.
Sayfutdinov looked on track to win the title in 2013 before a major injury toward the end of the season ended his charge.
He has blamed finances among other things for choosing not to participate in the championship race for the past two years but now he may return and will oust another permanent wildcard hopeful in the process.
Sayfutdinov is unquestionably one of the top three riders in the world and his return would be a massive shot in the arm for the series, which is arguably still reeling from the absence of the explosive Australian talent Darcy Ward.
Emil’s inclusion would further enhance the series’ claim to be ‘global’ and would almost certainly enhance the chances of there being a round in Russia.
Whether he likes it or not, if Sayfutdinov returns he will enter next year’s series as one of the favorites to win it!

Inside GP - Emil

• Aussie riders from all over the globe are busily packing up their gear and jetting back to Australia in preparation for the summer down under.
In the case of Chris Holder, Brady Kurtz and Sam Masters it is compulsory that they move quickly as they are in the field for the Australian GP, while many others will be not far behind.
Following next weekend’s GP we have marquee meetings at Mildura, Gillman and Kurri Kurri to look forward to.
Bring it on!

• This summer’s Australian Championship series may be the closest fought for a long time if the right people all take part.
Depending on nominations I have little doubt that it will once again go down to the last race of the last round.
Our second tier riders are now very good international racers and at least six of them could enter the series thinking they are a great chance of winning.
The series dates and venues are as follows:
Gillman, SA Jan 4 (Wed)
Mildura, VIC Jan 7 (Sat)
Shepparton, VIC Jan 11 (Wed)
Kurri Kurri, NSW Jan 14 (Sat)

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BY Rod Colquhoun

• It’s been said a thousand times already, but what dreadful luck for Jason Doyle last weekend and now the news that he won’t be able to compete in Melbourne really is a body blow for not just Jason, but the meeting itself.
Doyle, a former elite junior baseball player, is the darling of Aussie fans at the moment and his omission just knocks a bit of the stuffing out of what genuinely promised to be a momentus occasion.
It could have been, and I stress the word ‘could’, the first time in history that an Australian has been crowned world speedway champion (excluding sidecars) in his home country – hard to comprehend given the success we have had at levels, particularly over the past 15 years.
There has been anger expressed on social media from some close to JD who said he has been robbed of the world championship, but that wording is a little cut and dried for what is a multi-faceted situation.
Yes, he was involved in a crash and no he wasn’t at fault, but as they say in the classics – that’s racing.
He has certainly been removed from the list of potential winners and that is real shame for him given he really has been the best rider in the world for the last two months.
The good news is that he will recover fully and no doubt give a great account of himself again next year and possibly get the job done.
He has most certainly earned the respect of his peers over the latter half of this season!

• Jason’s very unfortunate omission has handed a lifeline to fellow Hunter Valley racer Sam Masters and whilst it answers Masters’ prayers in terms of being involved, he told me today that he really feels for Jason;
“Doyley has been on fire and he deserved to be in Melbourne fighting for the title”, he said.
“It feels a lot different to last year because of what has happened to Doyley, but now that I have the chance I know what to expect so as always I will prepare well and give it everything,” he concluded.

• Great to hear that Pioneer Park has a new owner and will once again be part of the bike scene on the east coast.
The picturesque little venue is situated about 40 minutes out of Townsville (South East from memory) and it has hosted many prestige events over the years.
No doubt there will be plenty of people willing to lend a hand so hopefully the roar of engines won’t be too far away!

• It’s been another winter of action on a number of tracks around the country and Kurri Kurri celebrated the end of their off season competition over the long weekend with the party continuing long into the night.
Speedway is nothing without its volunteers and Campo and his loyal band of helpers have managed to convert a vacant piece of land into one of Australia’s premier bike speedways.
The amount of work involved can never be truly measured, suffice to say it would be tens of thousands of volunteer man hours.
The awards for the season’s best have been handed out and the recipients are as follows.
Before I go any further – congratulations to all of you!

2016 Senior Club Champion – Josh Pickering
Runner- up – Zaine Kennedy
3rd. Alan MacDonald
4th. Ben Cook

2016 Junior Sidecar Club Champions – Kyle Rolla & Adam Botham

2016 B Grade Club Champion – Tony Phillips

2016 Junior Club Champion – (=) Jack Miles & Maurice Brown 71pts
3rd. Aiden Phillips
4th. Keynan Rew

2016 250cc Junior Club Champion – Mathew Gilmore
Runner up – Isaac Hawes
3rd. Mitch Cluff
4th. Declan Kennedy

Most Improved Senior – Matt Pickering (Josh’s cousin)

Most Improved Juniors – Nate Simpson & Jackson Harris

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* Great to hear that Jason Crump will once again grace the shale of Mildura’s Olympic Park later this year.
JC drives a hard bargain and it’s a credit to all involved that they managed to secure him to ride – even if the meeting is in honor of the man who fathered him!
Should be awesome.

* Queensland’s Zaine Kennedy and NSW racer Josh Pickering are just two of the riders whose names have been mentioned in the UK as potential full time league racers. No doubt their visa status and results this summer will go a long way to determining just how quickly their careers escalate.

* This summer’s Australian Championship series should be a belter and for once it does not rely on the participation of our GP stars. Whilst Jason Doyle and Chris Holder would be more than welcome it is the continued development of the next wave of riders that really gets the blood flowing.
Brady Kurtz, Sam Masters, Max Fricke, Jack Holder, Justin Sedgmen, Nick Morris, Rohan Tungate and the list goes on and on!
It is going to be a title to behold – remember this year’s event was decided by a single point after 4 rounds!!!!
Let’s go boys!

Sam Masters, seen here in action, will be a major contender for this summer’s Australian Championship. Photo courtesy of Jeff Davies – Coventry UK,
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WORLD CUP SHOCKER
What an astounding announcement from England’s best rider, Tai Woffinden, that he will not take part in next year’s World Cup.
Wuffy was brilliant for the Brits in this year’s event, but the timing of his announcement seems to indicate that he hasn’t given the decision a lot of thought, nor any possible consequences.
The dust has barely settled on this year’s event and already the reigning silver medallists have lost their best rider for 2017.
Undoubtedly there is a bit more going on behind the scenes and that may come out in time, but this sort of stuff reeks of self – importance and dare I say receiving and listening to bad advice.
It is reminiscent of Russia’s Emil Sayfutdinov and his self – imposed exile form the grand prix series during the best years of his career.
Tai’s decision is a shame for the sport and a big kick in the guts for the British fans.
I have been mates with UK Team Manager Alun Rossiter for 25 years so maybe I’m taking this a bit hard, but what could possibly have caused such a change of heart from one of the sport’s marquee riders?

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Caption: Lambert, King and Cook – this is what’s left of the British Team following Tai Woffinden’s ill timed defection from the British World Cup team. Photo courtesy of Jeff Davies – Coventry, UK.

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PRODUCTION LINE IN FULL SWING!

BY ROD COLQUHOUN

The performance by our Australian youngsters at last week’s International Youth Gold Trophy tells us that the production line of great Australian talent is still very much in operation.
Winner Mathew Gilmore, third placed Jedd List and the luckless Mitch Cluff are just three of a new wave of talent waiting in the wings to take over at the top when the opportunity arises.
Just like Boyce and Wiltshire paved the way for Crump, Sullivan and Adams, Chris Holder and Jason Doyle are now leading Max Fricke, Jack Holder, Brady Kurtz and Sam Masters toward the next phase of their already illustrious careers and when that quartet is ready to pass on the baton it is the likes of Gilmore and List who will be lining up to take over!
Throw in names like Knowles, Norman, Hoares, Rew, Bowes and many others and you can see we are very well catered for as far as talent is concerned.
Not all will make it to the top and sadly some may be hindered by injury, but the Aussie spirit will be behind them all the way – so let’s sit back and enjoy the continuing evolution of Aussie speedway riders on the world stage!

Brady Kurtz - Photo courtesy of All Action Motorsports Photography.

Brady Kurtz – Photo courtesy of All Action Motorsports Photography.

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Jedd List in Action – Pic by Ray Woods
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Max Fricke – A young man on the move!

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BREXIT MAY INFLUENCE SPEEDWAY

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* The recent exit by the UK from the European Union may mean big changes to speedway rider eligibility going forward and there are already murmurings along these lines in the UK.
Whilst it’s too early to determine what it will mean for riders within the Commonwealth, riders from European countries may find themselves subjected to far more stringent visa criteria.
This would have a major influence on the make up of teams and could in fact make riding in the UK leagues almost untenable for some nationalities. Watch this space for updates in future months.

* Sensational effort from Rohan Tungate and Josh Grajczonek to win the Premier League Pairs on the eve of the British Grand Prix. The PL Pairs is one of the most competitive events of the season and because it is run on GP weekend it always draws a great crowd. Well done fellas!

* Everyone at Heffernan Motorsports would like to wish Hunter Valley Sidecar veteran Mick Farrell a speedy recovery following a bad turn he had at Kurri Speedway on the weekend. Great work from all involved to get Mick to hospital and hopefully we will get some positive news soon. Mick is a real character and has been a stalwart of the sport for many years both as a competitor and sponsor. He’s always quick to get behind meetings via his Farrell Transport business and has been a keen sponsor of Tony Primmer and the Slade Boys from Tamworth over the years.

* In recent weeks we have been touching base with some of the Aussie riders and giving mid season updates on their progress in 2016 (Via our Facebook page). So far we have put together pieces on Jake Allen and Mason Campton in keeping with our policy of supporting Aussies who ride overseas but also support our own major events during the summer. These guys are the heart and soul of the sport in the country.

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Thanks to Coventry (UK) based photographer Jeff Davies for the great images below.

Sensational Victorian youngster, Max Fricke, in action.
Web Max

The next Jason Crump? Cowra’s Brady Kurtz is a young man on his way to the top.
Jeff Davieswww.jeffdavies.luxipics.com

Two of the three Holder brothers, Jack and Chris – what a talented family!
Jeff Davies www.jeffdavies.luxipics.com

Brady Kurtz and Chris Holder ready to go into battle for the Poole Pirates.
Jeff Davieswww.jeffdavies.luxipics.com

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Items of Interest – 15/06/2016

• Queensland’s Josh Grajczonek must be close to getting a call up for Australia’s World Cup side following a string of really good performances across Europe during the past month.
Ironically, Josh had a fairly drab summer on track here in Australia by his standards following a couple of big get offs in the Aussie titles but he’s goin’ great guns now!

• Heffernan Motorsports retail headquarters will soon re-locate to a more central Hunter Valley location that will make picking up and dropping off parts a lot easier – even for people just passing through the region – more details soon.

• No doubt many speedway fans will have watched some of the coverage of the Isle of Mann road races recently and marvelled at the herculean performance of John McGuinness. John is a speedway fan and often attends major events in the UK, as is evidenced by this great Jeff Davies photo.

Jeff Davies www.jeffdavies.luxipics.com

• Kurri will host round three of its club championship this weekend (Saturday), with overall point scores close in all divisions. Once again the weather bureau is predicting unsettled weather but surely Campo and his team are due some luck!

• Congratulations to the Mildura Motorcycle Club, who have had their contribution the local economy recognised in recent times. The much improved venue hosted a string of high profile events last summer and has been credited with bringing big dollars into the region – well done to all concerned.

• Badly injured Queenslander Darcy Ward is set to return to Europe later this year in what will certainly be an emotional return for not just Darcy, but also his legion of fans.
Darcy’s absence from the track is something that many race fans may never come to terms with, but no doubt getting to see him in the flesh will be a positive for everyone.

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