Tai Woffinden showed everyone why he is the World Champion with an emphatic win in the 71st running of Championship. He won his three heats and then the final to write himself into the record books and join his father Rob (1987-88) as a West Australian Solo Champion.
He was untroubled to take the win and led home the defending Champion Cam Heeps who had his hands full shaking off NSW youngster Kane Lawrence who had an excellent meeting. Dan Winchester ran fourth.
The heats saw a number of riders fall in very trying circumstances which required several track grades to rectify. Brad Gordon, Des Heys, Jason Bishop and Blake Russell all fell heavily in different races.
Originally scheduled over five heats per rider, the program was reduced to three rides each with Woffinden, Heeps and Winchester scoring enough to automatically make the Final. Declan Knowles (Vic), Josh Bailey (UK), Kane Lawrence (NSW) and Dakota Ballantyne (Sth Aust) qualified for the B Final where Lawrence proved too strong and so qualified for the WA Championship race. Bailey fell in this one and was out.
Woffinden's gating was a major feature of his riding through the night and from position four in the final was in the lead by the first turn and rode away from his opponents over the four laps. Lawrence had the better of Heeps until about half race distance when Heeps passed him on the inside on the back straight. Daniel Winchester had no answer for the three in front.
Apart from Tai Woffinden's four wins from four starts other riders to taste victory included Cam Heeps (2), Daniel Winchester (2), Kane Lawrence (3) including B Final, Matt Marson and Frank Smart.
The qualifying races on Friday night provided plenty of racing opportunities for a strong field of twenty one. Those with enough points to make it through to Saturday night's WA Title races included Matt Marson (WA), Kane Lawrence (NSW), Josh Bailey (UK), Declan Knowles (Vic), Blake Russell (WA), Ryan Pope (WA), Frank Smart (WA), Des Heys (WA), Cordell Rogerson (Qld), Brad Gordon (WA), Dakota Ballantyne (SA) and Doug Scoble (WA). Jason Bishop received the Wildcard entry.
Jason Marzoli, Jack Hunter, Kris Keast and Kobee Zeidas were also included in the program at different times replacing riders who were injured or had machinery issues.
As a footnote to the WA Solo Championship it would not have gone unnoticed by the huge crowd that Tai Woffinden was prepared to help grade the track when some major difficulties arose. Such is the measure of the man that he was prepared to step up and help bringing his expertise along with his generosity to the fore. We salute you Tai!
Next race meeting we present the race dedicated to Tai's Dad Rob who was so much part of getting Pinjar up and running. The Rob Woffinden Classic.
TRENT HEADLAND IS THE HEAD OF THE SIDECAR CLASS
Visiting South Australian sidecar team Trent Headland and Darryl Whetstone showed why they were the Australian Champions in 2017 with a dominating performance in a magnificent night of sidecar racing. While everyone else around them fell, quite literally in several instances, the Croweaters were aggressive in the best possible way winning the 60th edition of the Title.
While Headland/Whetstone were going about the business of winning the Four Lap final the other top qualifiers had a great battle to determine the rest of the podium. After a slow start the young team of Reece Liptrott/Jesse Thomas made it through to second with Adam Wenn/Morgan Cornwall taking third. Former 7 times Champion Russell Mitchell, with passenger Andrew Sharpe, saw his chances disappear when he backed his outfit in the turn four air fence and lost touch with the race.
In a shortened program created by track problems, each team had three races to gain enough points to automatically make the Final. The three who went through were Mitchell/Sharpe, Headland/Whetstone and Wenn Cornwall. Reece Liptrott proved too good in the B Final and so joined these three after beating home Darren Nash/Peter Teale, Clayton Mills/Steve McQueen and Leigh Boujos/Chromie Holmwood.
Sidecar racing can be very unforgiving with Peter Teale, Morgan Cornwall and Chromie Holmwood all falling from the side during the night. Fortunately all three were OK and able to continue. Not so fortunate were the teams of Greig Chiplin/Scott Moffat and Jeff Bishop/Daniel Bishop. In separate incidents both teams turned their machines over and sustained too much damage to continue. Fortunately their injuries were minor.
Technically Headland/Whetstone went through the meeting undefeated but they were excluded from their second heat for passing on the infield. Other teams to win races on the night included Nash/Teale, Liptrott/Thomas who also won the B Final, Wenn/Cornwall, Bishop/Bishop, Mitchell/Sharpe, Boujos/Holmwood and Ken Hankin/Josh O'Brien.
Making the finals was very tight and several strong teams including the Fanderlinden Brothers Ryan and Adam, Horrie Payne/Matt Reese, Rocky Bryan/Matt Young, Tony Shield/Ash Brown and Scott Charsley/Jamie Thomson for various reasons weren't able to put enough points together.
The next big show for the Sidecars is the Jeff Gittus Memorial. It is set down for February 2nd. The outfits have taken to the big track like a duck to water and with such a strong contingent now racing winning the prestigious Gittus for the first time at our sensational new venue is a glory they'll all be chasing.
250cc's: Because of time most of the 250cc races were cancelled to enable the WA Solo and Sidecar races to take place. Declan Killeen won the only heat of the night against Lincoln Worroll. Declan goes to Queensland contesting the 250cc Australian Title.
125cc's :Mitchell McDiarmid and Luke Killeen split the 125cc races between themselves with two wins apiece. Jack McDiarmid and Xander Smith chased hard but couldn't catch Mitchell or Luke who are two smallest riders in the division. Luke the WA 125cc Champion will be in Ipswich Queensland contesting the Australian Championship for his next race and hopefully we might have some results to share with you through the night of the Woffy Meet.
Junior Sidecars: Nate Headland (son of Trent) teamed up with Josh McQuade to race against locals Jack Fewster/Adam Fewster and Jake Harvey/Tyler Solomon and found the local boys on their new home turf tough to beat. Harvey/Solomon were the form team of the night taking three wins while the Fewster brothers won two.
Thumpsters/125 Lites/50cc's: Dry and dusty to wet and muddy track conditions really tested out our youngest groups of riders. There were several falls but some very enjoyable competition along the way. Tyler Magden is going great guns in the Thumpsters and won five races, Darcey Timmis chasing him home on most occasions. The 125 Lites saw some good battles between Max Harvey and Trevor Dossett with both finding the chequered flag on different occasions. Our 50cc learners Jett Harvey, Mason Robins, Coby Robson, Nate Rice and Deegan Vassilio seem to like the new Junior track. And finally, it was great to have a strong field of Balance Bikes on hand – just like the 500cc's these bikes don't have any brakes!