Speedway motorcycle racing is on a role in Perth Western Australia, with yet another spectacular meeting scheduled for… Saturday 1st February for the running of the Western Australian State Sidecar Championship at Pinjar Park Motorcycle Speedway.
Fresh off the success of the Jeff Gittus Memorial Sidecar spectacular a month ago and last weekend’s Australian Junior 125cc Solo Championship and the two spectacular Solo Tests (International Friendlies) between Australian and Great Britain, the Speedway Motorcycle Club of WA are finalising plans for the highly sort after and hotly contested Western Australian Sidecar Championship at their purpose built 330 metre long International size speedway facility.
And what an exciting event it is shaping up to be.
Several top competitors have contacted ‘Talking about Speedway” advising of their intent to contest this Sidecar meeting, including two from the east coast, so far.
South Australia’s Trent Headland will fly into Perth with regular passenger Daz Duggie Whetstone to defend their WA title. You may remember Trent rode Glenn OBrien’s championship winning outfit to a credible second place behind eventual winner Darren Nash, in the Jeff Gittus Memorial event a month ago, with triple world solo Champion, Tai Woffinden swinging for him.
Trent said,” we should be on point this time around as we discovered quite a few issues with the bike that have since been fixed”. The Headland / Whetstone combination won the 2019 WA State Sidecar Championship in dominating fashion in January last year on their own bike.
Former State Champion and Jeff Gittus Memorial winner, Darren Nash, also contacted “Talking about Speedways” Graeme Sinden, to advise that he and his passenger Ash Brown have nominated for the February 1st WA Title event. Darren and Ash will again race the number 62 outfit for new owner Clayton Mills.
Former sidecar champion, Clayton Mills bought the 62 outfit from Tony Shield (Shieldzy Engineering) and agreed to let Darren and Ash ride it in both the Jeff Gittus and State title meetings. Clayton will announce some exciting plans he has for the new bike in the coming weeks. (Watch out for this in “Talking about Speedway’s” future columns)
Russell Mitchell, who is back to his brilliant best, will also contest the forthcoming WA Title event with regular passenger Morgan Cornwell. Russell said, “I will be riding my suspension outfit in the Championship meeting. This outfit is well suited to the 330m Pinjar Park circuit and having some rear suspension it’s certainly much kinder to my injured hip and will allow me to compete all night long whereas I now struggle with my rigid frame outfit after a few heats.
In some ‘groundbreaking news’, Russell reluctantly announced his race winning genuine Fuel Injected, rigid Mitch outfit is on the market. He said, “I am prepared to negotiate a very good price for WA buyers to encourage local competitors to purchase it and ensure the bike stays in this state”.
Russell said, “With my ongoing hip issue, I find it hard to race the rigid frame as hard as it should be ridden, so I figured it would be better to sell it to some competitive young guys. I think this provides a good opportunity for WA competitors to upgrade to better machinery” and keep good bikes in WA”
Russell went on to say,” I recently sold the late Gary Selby’s outfit to Mick Farrell in NSW. Mick is an ‘elder statesman’ of the sport of sidecar racing and he will be coming to Perth with his passenger Aaron Bowles for the WA title event”. “Mick bought the Selby outfit for his son Michael to race, however he is unable to compete in speedway at this moment”, he said.
In some more exciting news, former WA sidecar star, John Low returns to racing at Pinjar Park for the WA Championship event with his highly fancied and regular passenger Andy Gajek. John has built a new outfit from the ground up and as usual has left nothing on the table. Every last detail has been attended to. John and Andy are a great combination and were previously one of the best turned out sidecar teams in the paddock. They race hard and fast but are always in control.
The Road and Race sponsored Reece Liptrott and his passenger Jesse Thomas looked to be in great shape at their last hit out during the Solo Test Match meeting between Australia and Great Britain and like always they are not planning on running second to anyone.
Daniel Bishop told “Talking about Speedway” that he will be a starter in the event despite he and Juston Winchester having a spectacular roll over at their last outing. Daniel said, “the bike is being repaired and will be ready to go. I’m fine, however Juston suffered some serious damage to his knee and almost certainly won’t be fit to take his place”. “I’m sorting out a replacement passenger as we speak”, he said.
Kalgoorlie sidecar racer, Rock Bryan who was involved in the Daniel Bishop crash at the last meeting, said he will be a nonstarter due in part to the crash and trying to relocate houses etc. While his bike looked second hand after his crash, most of the damage appeared to be superficial and localised to the front end.
As the season is now well underway, most teams are in full swing and have sorted their engine gremlins and handling issues and are all right on the pace.
The track is in excellent shape despite some extraordinarily hot weather; however, the track curators have closely monitored the weather pattern and adjusted their preparation accordingly throughout the season.
“Talking about Speedway” will keep you informed of the latest news for this exciting State Championship Sidecar event as it comes to hand, however, in the meantime go to the Speedway Motorcycle Club of WA’s Facebook and web-page for further details.
Story: Graeme Sinden