Cowra’s Matthew Gilmore has taken out the final round of the Kurri Kurri Speedway Club Championship to claim the title provisionally.
Confirmation will come this week, but Gilmore continued to show that he is a force to be reckoned with since stepping up from the junior ranks.
With the summer speedway season looming and the return of Australia’s riders from overseas competition, Gilmore will get his chance to match it on the big stage summer events.
But the youngster didn’t have things all his way and was pushed in the final by Matthew Pickering who overcame a slow start to make the A-final after qualifying for the last spot in the B-final.
After his first two qualifying races, Pickering was thinking “maybe I should have stayed at home in bed” as he contested the last round of the club championships at Kurri Kurri Speedway on Saturday.
In the very first race of the day for the senior A grade riders, Pickering and Alan Macdonald came together in turn one, resulting in Pickering crashing to the track. He was permitted to join the re-run but faced a 15m start penalty.
Then in his second qualifying race, he suffered a mechanical issue and was forced to retire, meaning he had scored only one point from two rides.
Pickering managed only one win in his last three qualifying rides and scraped into the B-final on a count back from Christian Hojberg.
Making the most of his chances, Pickering won the B-final and advanced to the A-final where he faced Zaine Kennedy, Gilmore and Macdonald.
Despite his outside draw, Pickering made a good start and challenged Gilmore and Kennedy for the lead in the opening lap.
Gilmore grabbed the lead with Pickering in pursuit, but Gilmore steadily built a lead and went on to secure the win from Pickering, Kennedy and Macdonald.
It was a welcome return to the local sidecar scene for Lake Macquarie’s Denny Cox.
No stranger to Kurri Kurri, Cox has been racing as passenger for New Zealander Andrew Buchanan at national sidecar race meetings over the past six months.
He combined with Hayden Bond last Saturday and the pair finished as top point scorers. It was a “family affair” when Jackson Bond and Liam Cox finished second. Tim Lawrence and Don Morris were third.
In the junior divisions, Kurri Kurri rider Jack Miles dominated the 250 solo section, winning all five of his races, finishing with maximum points.
Cowra’s Maurice Brown won the A-final for 125 solos defeating local riders James Pearson and Aiden Phillips.