• Following the successful introduction of the Sidecar Grand Slam last season, the concept will continue in 2012/13 with the Grand Final to be held at Gillman Speedway on Saturday, 16 March 2013.

    This season’s Grand Slam will be a genuine series, with points culminating from each meeting to determine an overall winner, and the Grand Final will be the perfect lead-in to the 2013 Australian Sidecar Championship which will be held at Gillman Speedway a fortnight later (Easter).

    With that in mind the organisers, Full Throttle Promotions, have reduced the number of rounds and the distance between tracks to try to encourage as many riders as possible to contest the full series.

    The prestigious event, featuring the world’s best speedway sidecar exponents, will be conducted over 6 rounds scheduled between 1 December 2012 and 16 March 2013, with most of the rounds taking place in South Australia which has the greatest depth of rider talent in Australia at the moment.

    “The scheduling of the majority of rounds in SA has been a deliberate ploy as many of the sport’s leading riders are based in either Adelaide or Victoria and this schedule makes the logistics easier for many of the riders that we expect will commit to all rounds of the series,” said Dave Parker, from Full Throttle Promotions.

    The full Grand Slam calendar is:
    Round 1 – Riverland Speedway, Renmark, SA – Saturday, 1 December 2012
    Round 2 – Murray Bridge Speedway, SA – Tuesday, 1 January 2013
    Round 3 – Borderline Speedway, Mt Gambier, SA – Saturday 12 January 2013
    Round 4 – Gillman Speedway, Adelaide, SA – Sunday, 27 January 2013
    Round 5 – Kurri Speedway, Kurri, NSW – Saturday, 23 February 2013
    Round 6 - Gillman Speedway, SA – Grand Final – Saturday, 16 March 2013

    At this early stage five teams have committed to doing all six rounds, including two of New Zealand’s top riders, Andrew Buchanan/Philippa Burns and John Hannan/Bryce Rose.

    Popular husband and wife duo, Andrew Buchanan and Philippa Burns, from Auckland, took part in most of the Sidecar Grand Slam events last season and proved hugely competitive against the top Australian riders, universally regarded as the best in the world, while John Hannan is a two-times New Zealand Champion, and five-times North Island Champion.

    Philippa Burns says “it’s an honour to be included in the contracted rider line-up for the series. “We are absolutely rapt to be a part of it. We rode in most events last season and totally loved it. We are building a new bike and there is nothing quite like testing yourself against the world’s best. Andrew and I spend a lot of money commuting from Auckland for the events so that goes to show how much we enjoy the competition in Australia.”

    The three Australian teams to commit so far are Darrin Treloar/Simon Cohrs (NSW & VIC), Mick Headland/Paul Waters (SA) and Brodie Cohen/Josh Sinnott (QLD).

    “I can’t wait for this event,” said Mick Headland, who won four meetings on last season’s Grand Slam Schedule. “The organisers have successfully negotiated with Motorcycling Australia to make the event a series with points being accrued at every round so the tournament will be even more meaningful than was the case last season. Having progress points from each round will make the meetings even more intense and give us riders something more significant to chase”.

    With the series now taking place over a smaller area it is also expected that the likes of Grant Bond, Justin Plaisted, Mark Plaisted, Mark Mitchell, Byren Gates and Warren Monson, to name just some, will nominate to take part in all rounds; providing the six round series with considerable rider depth comprising the best speedway sidecar teams in Australia.

    Highlights of the Speedway Sidecar Grand Slam will be screened nationally on Fox Sports’ SPEED Channel in prime-time. Further details pertaining to the TV coverage will be released closer to the time.

    “The TV coverage is a massively important component of the event,” says reigning World Champion Darrin Treloar. “The coverage last season attracted a lot of positive comments and the TV package certainly showcased speedway sidecar racing at a high level. I’m very much looking forward to the series which has certainly reinvigorated the sport in Australia”.

    Any rider wishing to enquire about nominating for the series, in its entirety, should contact Dave Parker on [email protected]

    Placegetters in the 2012 Grand Slam Grand Final, from the left: Jesse Headland, Trent Headland, Mick Headland, Paul Waters, Simon Cohrs, Darrin Teloar, on bike Justin Plaisted and Sam Harrison [photo: Christopher Horne]

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