With as superb display of racing, combining excellent reaction from the start gate and some strong first corners in each of his six events in the Coomealla Memorial Sporting Club’s, 2018 Victorian Solo Speedway Championships held at Mildura’s Olympic Park Speedway last Saturday night, Jaimon Lidsey collected his first Victorian Solo Championship.

The young man from Red Cliffs, stood out and dominated proceedings in the championship, finishing his heats unbeaten on 15 points to immediately qualify into the Title final just one point ahead of great friend, Jordan Stewart, on 14 points with Queensland visitor, Ryan Douglas one point back on 13 points.

A big contest then ensued with Justin Sedgmen finishing his five heats on 12 points, dropping one point each to Jaimon Lidsey, Ryan Douglas and Jordan Stewart, taking the first selection in the “B” Final ahead of Ben Cook on 10 points, Robert Medson on 9 points and then after a three way tie on 7 points, the fourth place in the “B” went to Matthew Gilmore, who edged out Zach Cook and Jack Morrison.

The stage was set for an action packed “B” Final, just as the Championship’s twenty heats had been. Sedgmen selected the inside start position and, after an excellent beginning, went on to win the race and thus take the last spot in the Main event. Second to Sedgmen was Cook, then Gilmore, with Medson finishing at the rear.

The heats had been hectic, with some good racing, from probably the youngest field ever gathered for a Victorian Championship. More than half the field scored enough points to be in Finals contention, which showed good depth amongst riders selected.

A good and consistent track greeted the riders, all of whom were able to get something from the track and some good race times were recorded.

The crowd was patient and waited to see if Sedgmen, getting a second chance through the “B” Final, would be able to use his experience to deal with the younger lads, particularly those two Club members who had spent our winter racing in Poland, in the case of Jaimon Lidsey and in England, which was Jordy Stewart’s home since March of this year.

The draw for start positions was done and, surprisingly to some, Lidsey picked the outside, gate 4, as his choice. Stewart was next to pick and he went for security and picked the inside, gate 1 position. The young Queenslander Douglas, who had ridden Olympic Park many times during our winter, felt comfortable with gate 2, which left Sedgmen to take gate 3 once he qualified.

Both Lidsey and Stewart got the best of the start, but Lidsey kept wide out of turn two and gained a slight advantage over Stewart down the back straight. Douglas too, had gated well and had to contend with Sedgmen as they came out of turn 2, just behind the Mildura youngsters.

Lidsey continued to ride an excellent line and despite great efforts from his pal, Stewart, the young “Redcar Bear” could not gain any advantage over Lidsey, who cruised on the win stylishly ahead of Stewart, Douglas and Sedgmen.

It was the second time for the night that Stewart had beaten Douglas, but in the Final it was easier for Stewart as, when in heat 18 of the Title, Stewart had trailed Douglas for nearly the whole event and showed great persistence, trying at every opportunity to get by Douglas; but it was only going into the last turn of the Heat that Stewart edged his wheel in front of Douglas and changed the points order on the score card.

This heat was typical of many of the night’s events which were conducted with great spirit and which the crowd enjoyed immensely.

The big incentive for the top three in the State Championship on the night was the opportunity for those placed  1st, 2nd or 3rd to apply for a Work Visa to ride in England in the 2019 British season. All three lads in that situation were elated at their success, while for Justin Sedgmen, he now must finish in the top three any of the other State Championship, to allow him to get that Visa, so as he can resume his British speedway career.

The riders in attendance had been regulars at Mildura’s ,Winter Teams Development Program, which was conducted one Sunday each month during Winter, in conjunction with Gillman, in Adelaide. Mildura patrons have been surprised with the improvement of these riders who have sharpened up after having some competitive racing at least two days per month. Justin Sedgmen was the initiator and main organiser of the Winter Teams meetings and he kept race fit by doing those meetings. It was always going to be a matter of how much both Lidsey and Stewart had learned and experienced with their seasons in Europe. It is clear to all, that all riders have made marked improvement as a result of the Winter activity, which is great for Olympic Park fans.

Support races for the night were most entertaining with a good field of Classic Sidecars, who always put on a great show and our top 4 local Junior riders, Angus Garraway, Lewis Monahan, Riley McCarthy and Jackson Milner. The Junior troupe now enjoy racing in front of the larger crowd when they are included in the Senior program.

Next meeting at Olympic Park will be the Jason Lyons Trophy meeting on Saturday 10th November, where our valued patrons will get to see Three times, World Champion, Jason Crump riding for his old Belle Vue Team mate Lyons, with 4 Danes, Jonas B and Mikkel B Andersen, Matthias Nielsen and Kenneth Jurgensen and three British riders, Tom Brennan, Kyle Bickley and Zach Wajtknecht, who will race against the cream of the Victorian Title field. The Lyons meeting is one of the Club’s hallmark meetings of the year and a big crowd is expected to see both Crump return to Mildura to race as well as the young Internationals, who will all want to do well at Mildura’s famous Olympic Park Circuit.

Solo meetings will continue early in the new season, with an International, Australian versus the Rest of the World Test Match on Saturday 24th November and then the regular Phil Crump International Trophy on 29th December.

Editorial courtesy of Brendon Gledhill