Photo: by Judy Mackay Kym Menadue and passenger Shane Dolan.
By Mark Neale
The 2022 Australian Sidecar championship qualifying meeting at Gillman Speedway, April 16, produced a number of surprises with a few big names not making it through to the Blumberg Hotel Birdwood sponsored Australian Sidecar Championship decider Easter Sunday night April 17.
In a night full of action, drama, exclusions, close exciting wheel to wheel racing and a few spectacular crashes on a warm Saturday evening in front of a good size crowd at SA’s Gillman Speedway, it was local pair, Kym Menadue and passenger Shane Dolan, who topped the score chart with 14 points (out of a possible 15 points).
The victory booked their place into their first Australian Sidecar Championship appearance.
It was only the fourth meeting the duo had competed together as a team on a speedway bike and recorded four wins and a second from their five heats. They were only beaten on the night by reserve Dean Hobbs/ Daniel Low in heat 13.
Second place in the meeting went to popular Mildura combination of Byren Gates/Eli Bock with 13 points (four wins and a third) behind Menadue and Howse.
Third was filled by another local SA team of Shane Rudloff/Scott Morris with 11 points (two wins two seconds and a third).
Fourth place and qualifying for their second consecutive Aussie title was last year’s qualifying meeting winner, Broken Hill’s youngsters Max Howes/Riley Commons with 10 points (a win,three seconds and a third).
Queensland number four Stuart Firth/Tim Green safely made it through with nine points (two wins a second, a third and an exclusion for a tape infringement in their fourth heat).
The sixth qualifier was third generation rider Jake Treloar/Eli Wright from New South Wales with eight points (a win, two seconds a third and an exclusion for barging) in his final ride.
Jake is the grandson of the late Garry Treloar and the son of the legendary Darrin Treloar. Jake is in his first season of senior speedway after a very successful junior career and it was a great performance against more senior riders to qualify.
Former National champion Mark Mitchell/Tony Carter scored seven points (two wins, a third and two fourths) to make it through,while the eighth and final spot went to New South Wales Paul Hemsworth/Adam Botham (a win, a second two Thirds and and a fall).
First reserve for the championship will be Brian Silvy/Damian Egan who scored six points (two seconds,two Thirds and a fourth).
Former Australian Champion Trent Headland/ Darryl Whetstone (four points) and former Australian number two Dave Bottrell/Darcy Risstrom (one point) were the two biggest names not to qualify. Both were expected to qualify. Headland had electrical trouble on his good bike and crashed the second, while Bottrell had clutch problems all night and failed to finish the meeting.
Heat four saw the exit of two teams when New South Wales team of Jack Summerling/Martin Wilde went wide and bounced off the fence which speared them across the track straight in front of Stepen Saunders/Duane Dennis who had no where to go and crashed straight into them.
Both teams were out for the night.
The reserves were kept busy all night but a special mention must go to local team of Dean Hobbs/Daniel Low who scored 10 points (two wins and two seconds) from four races after missing the first round of heats. Hobbs/Low, who missed last meeting due to Covid, were beaten by Menadue (heat five) and Rudloff (heat 11),before recording two great wins over Menadue (heat 13) and Howse (heat 17).
Their performance had the tongues wagging with their best effort, and biggest pay cheque of their career, but sadly they could not qualify as they missed the first round of heats.
The eight who qualified from last night will join the eight seeded riders in tonight’s sixteen rider line up to decide the 2022 Australian Sidecar champion.
2022 AUSTRALIAN SIDECAR CHAMPIONSHIP LINE-UP IN RIDING ORDER
1 Kym Menadue/Shane Dolan SA
2 Brodie Cohen/Jesse Headland QLD/SA
3 Darrin Treloar/Blake Cox NSW
4 Shane Rudloff/Scott Morris SA
5 Max Howse/Riley Commons NSW
6 Mark Mitchell/Tony Carter SA
7 Byren Gates/Eli Bock VIC
8 Shane Hudson/Adam Constable NSW
9 Stuart Firth/Tim Green QLD
10 Kane Golding/Isaac Amos SA
11 Mick Headland/Brenton Kerr SA/VIC
12 Mark Plaisted/Ben Pitt SA/VIC
13 Warren Monson/Andrew Sumnerhayes VIC
14 Jake Treloar/Eli Wright NSW
15 Paul Hemsworth/Adam Botham NSW
16 Brandon Warke/Mitchell Danks Firth QLD
UPDATE ON RESERVES: