Speedway returns to Mildura's Olympic Park this Saturday night with the Mildura Motorcycle Club to host the 2018 Victorian Solo Speedway Championship.
Riders in the Victorian title have double the reason to finish well in the event, as finishing in the top three in the meeting will allow each rider to apply for a “Work Permit” into England for season 2019.
Legislation in the UK restricts the number of riders who can enter England to ride in either the Championship or Premiership Leagues with the criteria requiring riders to have a 1st , 2nd or 3rd in a State Title.
Due to a broken collarbone injury at Kurri Kurri just after Christmas, Mildura's Justin Sedgmen was not able to contest the State Title or the Australian Title, resulting in the local unable to ride in England in the 2018 season even though he had been second in Australia the year before.
Current Australian Under 21 Champion Jaimon Lidsey spent the last 7 months living in Poland riding for Racwicz, where he performed well. Lidsey returned home earlier this week with other Mildura young gun, Jordan Stewart returning home from his Redcar base in England’s west on Thursday night
Sedgmen spent a frustrating year not being able to get overseas, but he had plenty of rides as both Gillman track in Adelaide and Olympic Park, Mildura conducted some very meaningful meetings during the winter months. Meeting favorite for the Victorian State Title would have to be Justin Sedgmen.
After a debacle at State selection last year, Mildura Motor Cycle Club has influenced the State Speedway Management Committee to accept those riders into the State Championship who are either Victorians, or who are lads that regularly ride at Mildura and who would be a chance to ride in the British leagues, should they make it to that level.
Fellow Victorians in the group are Cooper Riordan and Tom Dixon as locals while Declan Knowles, from Swan Hill, and Jack Morrison from Bendigo are also included.
Plenty of riders are coming from NSW, among those being Matt Gilmore, Zach and Ben Cook, Matt Pickering and Kane Lawrence. It is expected that all these riders, who have benefitted from our Winter Teams Development Program, will take good points during the meeting.
"Coming over from SA are Dakota Ballantyne and the evergreen Rob Medson. Medson will be among the points and young Ballantyne still has aspirations of getting a ride in England sometime in the future," Mildura Motorcycle Club Publicist Brendan Gledhill said.
"The lone Queenslander is Ryan Douglas, who has left a bike in Mildura for most of the winter, so he will use his former British experience to put the pressure on the local boys, who should feature on the podium."
"Local patrons will be keen to see how much improvement comes from both Jaimon Lidsey and Jordan Stewart, as one thing that is usually noticeable in riders retuning from their first stint overseas, is a massive improvement in gating and running through turn one."
"Just starting so many times per week when overseas and the battle for turn one is usually what makes the returning riders very sharp."
"Riders like Sedgmen, Douglas and Medson are going to have to be very mindful of the local pair as well as them perhaps not expecting to see the improvement in the other boys who have taken part in the Winter Teams Development Program." Mr Gledhill said
Patrons are sure to be enthralled with all twenty heats and the two finals, to decide the CMSC 2018 Victorian Champion.
A field of four Juniors will be engaged during the senior meeting. Riley McCarthy, Angus Garraway, Lewis Monahan and Jackson Milner will go head to head over four laps on the Junior track in front of the big audience.
Classic Sidecars will be the support act for the Solo Title with Rod Gebhart / Nicholas John, Chris Wakefield / Dale Cox, father and daughter team of Chris and Hannah Holmes vying against Paul Snadden / Peter Engels and regular visitor, John Bennett / Ken Cherrington. These classic riders have loads of experience and match it with loads of fun on the racetrack.
Olympic Park gates will open at 5:00pm, with practice from 6:00 with Rider introduction commencing at 7:00pm.
A special tribute to the late Cr, Max Thorburn who was a great friend and advocate for the Mildura Motorcycle Club, will be held prior to the commencement of racing.
Grandstand accommodation is plentiful and free to patrons, or spectators might use their chair or blanket on the grassy banks. Catering is available at Olympic Park venue. There is NO BYO by law