Two of the sport’s leading riders, Mick Headland and Justin Plaisted, have been suspended after a fiery Sidecar Final at Gillman Speedway on Saturday night.
Racing was over 12 heats, a last chance semi-final and a final and at the end of the 12 heats, Mick Headland/Paul Waters were the top point scorers with the maximum possible 12 points, continuing their unbeaten run from the opening meeting. Joining Headland/Waters as direct qualifiers for the final were Justin Plaisted/Sam Harrison and Mark Mitchell/Tom Golding, both with 9 points.
Plaisted’s nine points came from three wins and an exclusion from his second ride after a collision with Headland. On this occasion Plaisted was leading at the time but the referee deemed he got sideways mid-way through a turn and that caused the collision. Mitchell dropped his points to Headland, Plaisted and Jason Hardy.
Qualifiers for the last chance semi-final were Ron Parker/Shane Rudloff (8), Jason Hardy/Geoff Langdon (7), Shane Hudson/Lionel Cornwell (NSW, 5), and Shane Evans/Alan Gales (5) on countback from Aaron Silvy/Matthew Barkla and Michael Hoogland/Nik Schwarzer. Hudson jumped into the early lead ahead of Hardy and Evans with Parker last after a slow start. Parker moved up into the third by the end of first lap but while he battled with Hardy, Hudson seemed to be heading for victory and a place in the final, only for his bike to break down near the end of the back straight on lap three. That meant panic stations for the closely following Hardy and Parker who both managed to squeeze under Hudson, however Parker crossed the infield trying to avoid a collision. The race continued and Parker won in a photo finish but he’d already been excluded for going infield so the win, and a place in the final went to Hardy.
The final was a disappointing end to the night with a number of controversial incidents which resulted in Headland and Plaisted being excluded after the meeting. The first attempt to run the race was stopped after a hefty hit by Headland on Plaisted in turn two. Plaisted then rode across the infield to remonstrate with Headland on the main straight. The race was rerun with all four riders, and in the rerun Hardy jumped into the lead and it looked like being an intriguing race to see if the underdog could hold off the three big guns. Unfortunately for Hardy, and the fans, the race was stopped again when Plaisted and Headland collided in turn four and Waters fell. A passenger-less Headland then rode after Plaisted and spun his bike into the back of Plaisted’s bike on the back straight. Plaisted was deemed to have caused the race stoppage and was excluded from the third attempt to run the race. This time Hardy was excluded when he rode through the tapes. The race finally got underway with just two starters and Headland led all the way to win narrowly from Mitchell.
After the meeting Headland and Plaisted were spoken to by the referee and clerk of the course and the result was they were both suspended for a period of 5 months with 4 months being suspended. In effect this means their licences have been suspended immediately up to and including the 24th of April, but the as the final 4 months of this suspension is suspended, they can ride again from the 25th of December. The suspensions were for breaching rules pertaining to reckless or dangerous acts while competing and acting in a manner which is prejudicial to the sport or breaches the Code of Conduct. They have been advised that continuation of this behaviour during the suspended period of the penalty will result in a suspension until the 24th of April.
Heat points: #107 Mick Headland / Paul Waters 12 (3-3-3-3), #47 Justin Plaisted / Sam Harrison 9 (3-X-3-3), #35 Mark Mitchell / Tom Golding 9 (2-3-1-3), #55 Ron Parker / Shane Rudloff 8 (1-3-2-2), #63 Jason Hardy / Geoff Langdon 7 (3-2-2-Xi), #71 Shane Hudson / Lionel Cornwell 5 (X-F-3-2), #18 Shane Evans / Alan Gale 5 (0-2-2-1), #21 Aaron Silvy / Matthew Barkla 5 (2-2-0-1), #96 Michael Hoogland / Nik Schwarzer 5 (2-Xi-1-2), #77 Tim Bichard / Josh Knott 4 (1-1-1-1), #27 Aaron Hartwig / Teagan Hartwig 2 (1-1-0-0), #42 Marcus Seidel / Damien Egan 0 (0-0-0-0)
Gillman Sidecar action from last Saturday night - Ron Parker/Shane Rudloff and Jason Hardy/Geoff Langdon. Hardy led the final at one stage before a restart in which he broke the tapes. Photo by Judy Mackay.
Sydney's Shane Hudson/Lionel Cornwell were welcome additions to the programme but had some problems early in the night including this fall by Cornwell in heat. The other bike is Shane Evans/Alan Gale. Photo by Judy Mackay.