* Another great GP result from Chris Holder on the weekend and his spirits must surely be buoyed by his early season GP form.
Ominous signs from Tai Woffinden with a storming victory, but all of Australia is behind Chris and Doyley to get the job done.
Would love to see some more colour on Tai’s bikes, but that’s just me.

* Josh Grajczonek, Matthew Gilmore, Sam Masters, Zaine Kennedy, Mitch Cluff, Jack Holder, Keynan Rew, Jason Doyle, Kieran Sproule, Rohan Tungate, Alex Davies and Ryan Douglas are just some of the riders putting in some great performances both here and overseas at the moment. All these guys, regardless of where they are racing are in red hot form right now!

One of the form riders overseas at present – Josh Grajczonek.

* Great win from Keiran Sproule on the weekend at Kurri in round 2 of their club championship. Sproule beat home Zaine Kennedy and the MacDonald brothers, who both fell at different stages of the A Final. Well done to all four riders.

* Just a few weeks until Nepean bursts back into life on June 4 and the cooler winter climate should ensure a great racing surface. The Nepean track is not overly big but rides faster than it’s size – a bit like Gillman to some degree.

* Lismore Speedway Promoter Dave Lander has unleashed his fury at speedway’s historic car and bike owners after having to cancel his annual festival that celebrates the sport’s glorious past. Lander was none too impressed by the apathy shown toward the event and canned it.

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• Superb result for Sam Masters and Brady Kurtz (Numbers 2 and 1 in Australia respectively) in getting through to the semi-final stage of the SGP Qualifying series via the King’s Lynn round.
Most of the qualifying places in the three rounds went to familiar GP faces, with Italy’s Nico Cavatti and Ukraine’s Andriej Karpov two the less familiar names to get through.
It was a less than great day for our other two combatants Nick Morris and Rohan Tungate, scoring 5 and 2 respectively at Slangerup in Denmark.

Brady Kurtz - Photo courtesy of All Action Motorsports Photography.

Brady Kurtz – Photo courtesy of All Action Motorsports Photography.

• On the subject of Rohan Tungate – he was called to a ‘must practice’ in Poland on Friday in order to be selected for the Polish league match on Sunday (Poles can be obsessive idiots sometimes). Following the practice, the team headed straight for Denmark and missed the ferry by five minutes, which meant a stressful night and much tighter deadlines than were really necessary. Then to top it off a blown engine put the icing on a very tasteless cake for the likeable racer – whom it has to be said has been in sensational form otherwise!
The glamorous life of a speedway racer!

• Next meeting scheduled for Nepean is in early June and it will be part of the ongoing winter series – hopefully we can get a bit of enthusiasm for this meeting, as well as upcoming events at Kurri and Tamworth.
Winter is a great time for up and coming racers to get some practice and as you well know from some of the results from our riders in all leagues overseas it is not easy over there – so get into it boys!

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• I mentioned earlier in the week that Michael ‘Rubberman’ Kirkness will be heading to America soon to contest the X Games flat track for the second time. Mick will head off in about 5 weeks and it will only be a whistle-stop visit of just 14 days. He hopes to squeeze in at least two other race meetings while he’s over there.
I have it on good authority that the way these blokes ride the big twins over there is absolutely mind blowing and Kirkness is no slouch either.

Bet 365

• I was chatting with a well known former racer recently and he suggested that the best way to resuscitate English speedway would be to open up a range of markets for betting.
I have to say that I totally agree but given the lack of professionalism in some quarters you’d have to think there would be some less than honest behaviour sooner rather than later (Match fixing etc).

• Little confidence booster for Jye Etheridge, beating home Workington rider Adam Roynon in a recent match against Workington. Scoring 1 + 1 bonus might not sound like much but it can be a springboard to better things for the likeable racer.

• Sam Masters took a guest booking for King’s Lynn to replace the injured Rory Schlein and picked up 4 + 2, while one of the forgotten men of Aussie speedway, Aaron Summers did really well to score 8 + 1 for the away side (Leicester).

• Another forgotten man of Australian Speedway is Cameron Heeps, a good young rider who has been plying his trade in the UK for about 4 years now and was part of the Ipswich set up for a while. He is now riding for Rye House and putting together some good scores – it’d be great to see him in the Aussie Titles next summer.

• It has been a patchy start for Queensland veteran Dave Watt in the UK but he’s starting to get it going now. I understand Dave has a bit going on away from the track business wise so he’s probably been a bit distracted. You have to hand it to him, he’s had a long career and continues to be a force in the UK.

• Top stuff from Mason Campton coming back from injury to score a very solid 9 for Workington as they convincingly beat Edinburgh – Sam Masters run of huge scores ended dramatically with the Monarch’s star attraction scoring just 2 from the two races he completed.

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• Former West Australian resident Tai Woffinden has been installed as a $3.50 favourite to win this year’s world championship on one betting site. Chris Holder (Pictured) and Jason Doyle weren’t even in the top eight on that site’s odds – not sure they are totally in tune with the sport!

• Good start to the UK season from Alex Davies for Scunthorpe. Alex is a top young bloke and it would be nice to see him race in Australia a bit more, much the way his father did; each to their own I guess.

• Tentative dates are doing the rounds for the proposed winter series put together to replace the postponed 2016 Heffernan Motorsports Winter Series. Looks like a good thing so keep your eye on Face Book for more information.

• Tough start to the UK season for Edinburgh debutant Jye Etherdige. Etho is filling the number 2 birth for the Monarchs and that is a very tough gig, particularly for a debutant.
It kicks off with a race against the opposition’s number’s 1 and 2 and depending on how the meeting is progressing it doesn’t get a lot easier. Heat eight is a relatively easy ride (in comparison) but if the opposition team is behind they will generally throw a heat leader in as a rider replacement. Hopefully if he gets a stint at reserve he will get some confidence.

• The early stages of the UK season is being plagued by rain offs (As is always the case), not sure why the season can’t be better planned – madness.

• Hopefully we will see some action at the new Appin Speedway this year and it should breed a new generation of riders from south western Sydney – track looks great and it is a credit to all involved.

• Josh Grajczonek has made a strong start to the season; bouncing back from a rugged Aussie Title campaign that included a couple of big falls prior to him withdrawing from the series at Shepparton.

• Word is that North Queensland’s Pioneer Park will see track action again sometime this year, which is great news for competitors in the region. Pioneer Park has been a great venue for many years and it would be a tragedy if it was lost forever.

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• Great to see Queensland’s Jake Allen put together a good score in his first full meeting for Somerset. For those who have not been to the Somerset track, it is a very fast place and the best way to describe it would be a bit like the Newcastle Showground with some serious banking added! Unlike the Newcastle Showground it is in the middle of nowhere and I reckon its size and shape will suit Jake down to the ground.

• It is difficult to understand why the UK season starts and ends when it does. It starts with a heap of rain offs, comes good for 5 months and then ends with a heap of rain offs. A shorter, higher quality season would be so much better, but no doubt there is method in the madness.

• Both of our Grand Prix regulars, Chris Holder and Jason Doyle, have started the season in promising fashion, making light work of the majority of the riders currently competing in the UK. Neither rider goes in to 2016 with a lot of momentum for various reasons including injury (Doyle) and circumstance (Chris being Darcy’s best mate), but the ability is most certainly there and the world title looks absolutely wide open. Good luck to both of them.

• Great to see the Plymouth fans rallying to try and save the club and it would be great if they could pull it off. The bad news is that the existing promotion got out because it is losing two to three thousand pounds a meeting and that won’t change despite the best efforts of everyone involved. It would be nice to be wrong but it’s hard to imagine another 3 – 400 people just popping up out of the blue. Good luck with it just the same.

• Cowra’s Todd Kurtz may be a little overshadowed by the achievements of his younger brother, Brady, but that hasn’t stopped him putting in the best two performances of his speedway career in recent times.
A former Australian 250cc Junior Champion, Todd won the Darcy Ward meeting at North Brisbane and finished runner up to Ben Barker in the Spring Classic at Plymouth (UK) 12 days ago (Sadly, that was to be the last meeting run at the venue under that promotion). Both Todd and Brady are top fellas and it’s great to see them doing well.

• On the subject of Brady, by virtue of having won the Australian Championship he will almost certainly be granted the first wildcard spot for the Australian Grand Prix.
It would be worth having a couple of $$$$ on him at long odds for an A Final finish, this kid fears no one and he will definitely be heavily involved come October in Melbourne.

Brady Kurtz - Photo courtesy of All Action Motorsports Photography.

Brady Kurtz – Photo courtesy of All Action Motorsports Photography.

Aussie Flag

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* Just days until the full list of 2016 Heffernan Motorsports winter Series dates are released and it is once again shaping as a great schedule.
It is fair to say that the flow of meetings will be very similar to last year, with just a few subtle changes.

* Bad luck for NSW racer Alan MacDonald with an expensive engine rebuild getting his ‘off’ season campaign off to the worst possible start.

* There are a number of Aussies who do little or no racing in their own country and one has to wonder why as they would be great additions to local events. Alex Davies, Hugh Skidmore, Aaron Summers, Kevin Doolan, Cory Gathercole (Possibly retired) and Cameron Heaps are just a few names that spring to mind but the actual list is a lot longer.

* Some brilliant sidecar action about to be unleashed across Mildura and Gillman and the three wheeled brigade have never had it so good. Great stuff.

* The annual exodus of Aussie talent heading for the UK is well under way with most of our riders now back in an ice cold England.

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* Significant progress has been made in finalising the dates for the fourth installment of the Heffernan Motorsports Winter Series and an announcement should be just around the corner. The first round is locked in for the immaculate Gillman Speedway in South Australia on Saturday, March 19, with round two at the bike speedway epicentre of Mildura (VIC) the next day. The Saturday of the October long weekend will once again be the date of the final round at Kurri Kurri in NSW and this will also double as the presentation night. Keep your eye on this site (www.heffernanmotorsports.com) for final dates in the next fortnight.
Winners of the Heffernan Series over its initial three years have been Sam Masters, Tyson Nelson and Mason Campton and that speaks volumes for the quality of the series and its competitors.

* A great moment at Kurri during the Tex MacDonald Cup when three times World Champion Jason Crump went onto the track between heats to offer assistance to likeable NSW racer Ryan Edwards who was having an issue with his bike. It was great to see JC lending a hand. Nice win from Rohan Tungate in the final too to defeat the great man.

* Great to see such a healthy turn out of riders and fans to honour Darcy Ward at North Brisbane on Saturday night. The pit area was absolutely packed with some of the country’s top riders with everyone wanting to be part of the event. Awesome to see likeable Cowra racer Todd Kurtz take the win, he is a close mate of Darcy’s and it is probably the highlight of his career so far – though he did win an Australian Junior Speedway title at Gosford ahead of Darcy and also numerous dirt track titles. Great stuff.

* There has been some healthy debate on social media in relation to the strength of the field for the recent Australian Championship Series and this is likely the result of a recent piece in England’s Speedway Star Magazine that suggested this year’s title was lacking in rider quality. A debate of this nature can quickly turn sour when emotion takes over and judgement becomes a little cloudy. At least half a dozen of the riders in this year’s Aussie Title compete in every round of the Heffernan Series during our winter – thus highlighting the changing nature of the sport in this country.

With that in mind would it be too outlandish to offer the first four in the Heffernan Series a direct route to the title each summer? Seems many riders who compete overseas can’t be bothered getting involved so why not hand the baton to the keenest competitors? Food for thought for the Speedway Commission.

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By Rod Colquhoun on behalf of the Macdonald Family.

More great news ahead of this Saturday’s Tex Macdonald Cup at Kurri Kurri with the highly talented international duo of Rohan Tungate (NSW) and Tyson Nelson (QLD) signalling their intention to compete.
Tungate has just completed a highly successful run of meetings which saw him very much in contention in the Australian Championship as well as winning the South Australian Championship and the Jason Crump Invitational.
Nelson is a loveable larrikan but his easy going demeanor should not detract from the fact that he is a very skillful speedway rider, particularly on technical tracks.
The field for the inaugural Tex Macdonald Cup is shaping as an absolute ripper and worthy of such a significant event.
More rider announcements in coming days…….

tex 2

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2015 Junior Solo Speedway Challenge – LIVING THE DREAM!

By Mick Holder (Thankyou Bennette Telfer for the images)

The 2015 junior solo challenge was held in conjunction with the Speedway Grand Prix at Etihad stadium in 2015 – the idea was to help boost the junior solo ranks in NSW, QLD, VIC, SA & WA via a unique competition.
For the lucky winners it was a chance to see up close the upper echelon of professional riders who were contesting the final round of the SGP world championship for 2015.
With the cooperation of IMG, who run the world championship under the FIM, the junior speedway clubs in Australia were able to work together to run a meeting in each state, which gave each rider a chance to win a pit pass for the SGP.

GP kids 6

Thanks to the following junior clubs that cooperated in the series;
NSW – Somersby JMCC (Michelle Lawler and Dave lamont)
riders; Moz Brown, Matt Gilmore, James Pearson
QLD – Ipswich JMCC (Dwayne Rew)
riders; Jedd List,James Gould,Tate Zischke
WA – Pinjar park (Rick Gill)
riders; Trevar & Regan Dossett, Connor Bailey
VIC – Mildura JMCC (Donna Stewart)
riders: Ayden Russell,Jack Sylvia,Jack Norman
SA – Gillman MCC (Shane Parker)
riders; Brayden McGuinness, Angus Garroway, Patrick Bowes

Junior meetings were held at each venue with 3 passes each to distribute, the winner would recieve a pass then a draw was held at the end of the day to decide the other 2 winners, so any rider participating in the meeting had a chance to win.
Major sponsor for the series was “Blackchrome sportswear”, owner Mark Bassett jumped at the chance to provide the kids with a polo shirt to mark the occasion, the shirts were dynamic with each riders name and associated sponsors on the shirt.
Special mention to Leigh Adams and Shane Parker, when the idea was put to both of them they had no hesitation at jumping on board to share the experience with the kids, both guys passing on their knowledge and experience to add to the whole concept.

Gp kids 4

As the meetings were held in each state around mid year the winners had to wait until October for the big day, as the months slowly passed and the realisation that the meeting at Etihad was fast approaching the final instructions were sent.
Finally the day had arrived, Friday 24th October, practice was scheduled for a 3pm start, the group assembled at 1pm at gate One. As i sat there waiting for everyone i was even feeling a little nervous, a quick call from Leigh who was in the pits waiting for the group only added to the excitement. A quick roll call, handing out of the passes and Polo shirts and the group was ready, a quick photo of the group from the parents and we were on our way.
Shane and myself led the kids into the access road under the stadium to meet up with Leigh who was waiting at the pit entrance. At this stage the kids were quite excited, as we approached the entry to the pits a swarm of activity was taking place, we walked past the scrutineering area were we stopped and watched for 5 mins as bikes were weighed and checked by the FIM officials. plenty of questions from the kids at this point as Shane explained the finer details of the process.

GP kids 2

From there we moved onto the pit gate were Leigh was waiting a quick intro to the kids who were in awe of the 10 time national champ! their attention was broken by the first rider to meet the group, the current 2014 world champion Greg Hancock, Greg met with the kids, handing out each rider a hat and plenty of pics and autographs, Monster energy’s European director Joe Parsons was next, he stopped and gave us his time and attention and answered a barrage of questions along with a group photo, Jason crump raced over to get involved and speak to the kids, the previous day Jason had been riding on the track and gave the group a insight into what the riders would be preparing for as practice fast approached. time seemed to be flying by as Leigh led the group from rider to rider, everyone in the group had come prepared with pens, wheel disc’s, race jackets etc for the riders to sign. I must say the attention the group received from each rider and media inside the stadium was fantastic.
We then moved onto the draw which would be televised live to Europe, the looks on the faces of the kids said it all, each one watching as their favourite riders number was drawn for starting position for the big meeting tomorrow.
The riders were fabulous with the kids, even Niki Pedersen cracked a smile as Leigh explained to him who they were, some riders speaking of their own experience at being a junior rider in their earlier years, Chris Holder and Jason Doyle were great, giving the kids their full attention, they seemed to be favourites with the kids along with Greg , Woffy also joining in on the fun.
After the kids had met with each rider we then proceeded to sit in the best viewing area to watch the preparation required for practice, there was an air of apprehension as none of the GP riders had been on the track so no one really knew what the bike set up was going to be.
We all sat in amazement as practice commenced, Leigh and Shane giving commentary and answering questions from the group throughout the session.
As practice completed we then filed out through the pits with one last “up close” look and the occasional “good luck” coming from the kids, we then proceeded out with much laughter and excitement some of the kids busting to tell mum and dad of the experience.
we managed to find all the parents and account for all the kids, Phew!!
I sat with Shane for a few minutes taking in what we had just experienced with the kids and we agreed it was well worth the effort, the look in the eyes and the expressions on the kids when they came face to face with the GP boys was something to remember.
the 2016 junior speedway challenge is already being planned.
such a simple idea, the kids now have a dream to chase!!
thanks again to Leigh, Shane, Mark from Blackchrome, Tim from Heffernan Motorsports and the junior clubs that made this possible.

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By Rod Colquhoun (December 2015)

The tragic injury suffered by Brisbane’s Darcy Ward just over four months ago left the speedway world in shock and without wanting to overstate it I think the sport was reeling on all levels.
Speedway is dangerous and that goes way beyond stating the obvious – ultra light, mega powerful, alcohol fuelled missiles being ridden at high speed within a confined area is a recipe for at least the odd disaster and don’t forget the no brakes situation!
I think the shock that an injury of this magnitude could happen to someone as seemingly carefree and talented as Darcy really shook us up, particularly with him being a Queenslander as they are even more carefree than the rest of the population.

Darcy 2

(Photo courtesy of world wide web)

We’ve been through the shock, we’ve shed a tear, we’ve raised money, we’ve offered support and I have personally felt a degree of back handed gratitude that the crash wasn’t fatal – and it very well could have been.
It’s hard to believe that Darcy never won the championship you are about to witness, but how could he know how few chances he would get to win it?
Now that Darcy is back on home soil along with his wonderful companion Lizzie, perhaps it is not too early to reflect on what Darcy’s short, but very spectacular career means to me.
I am one of those silly old people who spends many hours telling people how great speedway is knowing full well they are not listening, but still I persist!
We are all fans of the sport I don’t need to mention the two World Under 21 Championships and all the other amazing achievements this tearaway has shoved into a very short period of time.
However, I think I should mention what I have taken out of this whole tragedy.
The first is finally drawing a conclusion to the age old argument pertaining to who is the best rider never to win the world title and like it or not Darcy is now that person.
There are some tremendous riders who didn’t win the title despite achieveing great things including Billy Sanders, Dave Jessup, Dennis Sigalos, Shawn Moran, Leigh Adams, Todd Wiltshire, Tommy Knudsen and I could go on forever, but the answer wouldn’t change, Darcy is that man and I sincerely hope he takes that as a huge compliment.
The second thing that Darcy has concluded for me is the urban myth that whoever makes the start in speedway always wins – not so in Darcy’s case!
Respectfully I would suggest that Darcy was an ordinary gater but it had very little effect on his ability to get to the finish first.
I have seen some wonderful riders who could charge through the pack in a manner that would leave spectators breathless – Hamill, Crump, Gollob and Loram are four that spring immediately to mind – but again they just weren’t as good at it as Darcy!
He is the king of the charge through the pack and as fate would have it we will have to reference DVDs to enjoy it in the future, but that in no way lessens the impact this man has made and will make on speedway.
He may not be a perfect person and given that they don’t exist that is nothing to be ashamed of – he was a wonderful talent, perhaps the most naturally gifted ever, but that doesn’t need to be ratified by anyone.
Darcy’s life has changed forever, but like many in his situation who find an even more fulfilling existence post accident, we hope the same for this loveable larrikan.

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