The Western Australian Speedway Solo Championship dates back to 1927 making it one of the longest running Speedway Solo events in Australia.
In some ways I believe the significance of this converted WA Title event is lost on some of the current younger group of riders racing speedway solos. Don’t get me wrong, they certainly all love to race in the event and are certainly excited at the prospect of winning the WA State Championship.
The point I make is that this Championship dates back to 1927 and since then it has been won by World Champions, great International riders and some fabulous Australian riders, all of whom have their names on the converted trophy. Whoever it is that is fortunate enough to be crowned the new 2019/2020 WA Solo Speedway Champion, will join these past great Champion riders and have their names etched in history forever more.
Sig Schlam was the first winner of the WA Solo Speedway Championship, way back in 1927.
Other significant riders to lift the trophy are the incredible Swedish World Champion, Ove Fundin, Scotland’s Ken McKinlay, NZ world Champion Ivan Mauger (perhaps one of the greatest riders ever) and more recently Australia’s own World Champion, Chris Holder and Britain’s triple World Champion, Tai Woffinden.
Who could forget riders like Aub Lawson, Chum Taylor (5), UK’s Simon Cross, the crowd-pleasing Ron Johnson and further back Author Atkinson in the 1929/30 season?
Englishman, Rob Woffinden, Tai’s famous father, who sadly passed away 10 years ago and helped to establish Western Australia’s purpose-built motorcycle Speedway venue at Pinjar Park, also lifted the Title on one occasion at the world-famous Claremont speedway.
Our own veteran International Frank Smart first won the title event way back in the 1997/98 season and again in 08/09 season. Another WA international to lift the trophy was Steve (Johno) Johnson, his last win in the event was in season 2003/04.
The record for the greatest number of WA Speedway Solo Championship wins is shared by two outstanding WA riders in Mick McKeon and Glenn Doyle with 6 apiece. A record that will be hard to beat in the future.
Having said this, WA International Cam Heeps who races for the Ipswich Witches in the UK, has won four WA senior 500cc Titles to date. He could go onto win another two to equal the record or three more to create an outright win ratio record, given his age and experience at the top level.
Another record that will be very hard to beat is that belonging to WA rider Dave Cheshire who is the youngest rider to have ever won the WA Championship at age 16 years, incredibly it was way back in season 83/84. His win had the officials scrambling for the rule book and checking his speedway licence to ensure he was eligible. He won the title again in season 05/06.
There have been many great riders who have won this wonderful title event over the years. While it’s not possible to recognise all of these great ambassadors of the sport in this article, your names are forever on the trophy and in the record books for all to see.
The 2019/20 Western Australian Speedway Solo Championship event will be held at Pinjar Park Motorcycle Speedway at Neerubup in Perth’s Northern suburbs on February 15th.
Who will win the event is anyone’s guess, however I can say, it will be another hard-fought affair? I can guarantee there will be several past Champions on the terraces, in the stands, and in the bar, watching and cheering all riders on watching the cream rise to the top at nights end and a new Champion take the spoils.
It may be a rider who will add another Title to his existing tally or perhaps we could see a brand-new Champion welcomed into this very exclusive group of talented and brave sportsmen.
Story: Graeme Sinden
Statistics: Ken Brown