Jason Hardy and Geoff Langdon easily won the 2013 Paintmaster SA Gillman Sidecar Championship in Adelaide last night.
The title was theirs to win or lose when they jumped straight into a substantial lead before turn two, but they were good enough to ride away to win comfortably from the hard-chasing Ron Parker/Shane Rudloff, with Warren Monson/Matt Morgan third and Byren Gates/Michael O'Loughlin fourth.
Hardy and Monson were the stars of the meeting, both scoring 14 points in the heats. Hardy won his first four rides before being beaten by Monson in a closely contested heat 19 which saw them side by side for much of the race. Monson had dropped his only point earlier in heat 13 when he lost out to Ron Parker by half-a-bike length in another close race.
Parker was the third automatic qualifier for the final, ahead of Gates on a countback after both scored 12 points. Parker didn’t handle the track conditions well early in the night but as the track got slicker so did Parker and he beat Monson and Mark Mitchell in his last two rides.
Parker and Mitchell went into heat 18 tied on 9 points, but while Parker won, Mitchell had a shocker and retired at the end of lap three while running last. Worse as to come for the current South Australian Champion in the semi-final however.
The Semi-Final consisted of Gates (12 pts), Rick Stephens/Darcy Risstrom (10), Mitchell/Nik Schwarzer (9) and Lindsay McGregor/Mitch Duncan (7). Stephens was the early leader but Gates pushed under him in turn three, and at the same time Mitchell, in third place, spun around and rolled into the fence. Mitchell spent several hours being checked over at the hospital but was released at about 2.30 in the morning with deep bruising, a corked thigh and general soreness. Schwarzer had a suspected fractured arm but they are waiting for the swelling to go down before further x-rays.
In the rerun Gates had a narrow win after a close race with Stephens. The meeting was probably Stephens’ best performance at Gillman as he looked smooth and fast and if he can continue in the same form he could be a threat to the top riders in the future.
Prior to Mitchell’s crash there was another hair-raising spill in heat 14 when Shane Hudson/Ben Pitt hit the fence at the end of the back straight and cartwheeled to the entry into turn three. It was a very alarming crash and Hudson and Pitt were both attended to by the medicos but fortunately were not seriously hurt.
In the support Solo races Max Fricke won five out of five, despite some challenges from Robert Medson, especially in the last heat when Medson led for two laps.
The full heat results are on the Gillman Speedway website under the Results tab.
Jason Hardy/Geoff Langdon (blue) and Warren Monson/Matt Morgan during their heat 19 clash. Photo by Linda Savage.
2013 Paintmaster SA Gillman Sidecar Champions Jason Hardy and Geoff Langdon on their victory lap. Photo by Chris Horne.
Placegetters, from left, Matt Morgan and Warren Monson (third), Geoff Langdon and Jason Hardy (first), Shane Rudloff and Ron Parker (second). Photo by Chris Horne.