The New South Wales Senior Motor Cycle Track Championship meeting at the Blayney Showground on Saturday had to be halted before the final races could be run due to a failure of the temporary track lighting.
It came as an unfortunate anti-climax to a big program of racing which had provided plenty of excitement for the large crowd in attendance.
Motorcycling New South Wales (MNSW) had organized the meeting to ensure that the tradition of racing at the venue could be continued and as an innovation they programmed for the meeting to conclude at night, for the first time, with temporary lighting brought in.
That innovation ultimately led to the abandonment of racing as some of the lighting at one end of the track failed and the prevailing conditions were too dangerous for racing to proceed.
MNSW General Manager Daniel Gatt was disappointed for the riders and the fans that the meeting had not been able to reach its anticipated climax.
“It is particularly disappointing that our innovation of finishing under lights backfired. The riders had responded with a big entry and had turned on thrills galore in the racing that was staged” said Mr. Gatt.
Several accidents during the afternoon had caused some delays but officials were still confident of completing the program, even if some races had to be cut.
The failure of several banks of lights then led to the inevitable outcome of calling a halt.
Mr. Gatt said “Rider safety will always be paramount and it was simply too dark over a sizeable part of the track to continue. I am sure fans will appreciate that decision and it was unfortunate that efforts to overcome the problem were not successful and only delayed the final decision.”
“What I hope fans, as well as the riders, take from the meeting is that the Blayney Showground is still a viable venue for long track racing. It provides riders with a great outlet to show off their skills, and it provides exciting action for the fans” said Mr. Gatt.
Officials are now faced with a tough decision, namely whether to award championship honours to riders based on whatever results were recorded. MNSW will hopefully make that decision early this week.
Long time track announcer Peter Baker said that there are many riders who deserve recognition for their efforts, regardless of the outcome.
Baker believes that the results recorded at the meeting would provide a sound basis for the honours that are handed out.
“Some classes were to be decided over rounds, so having less rounds than programmed still leaves a clear outcome and riders should be awarded accordingly” said Baker.
Only two championship classes were programmed over rounds.
West Wyalong teenager Hunter Anderson was in brilliant touch to win all rounds of the 500cc long track slider class to lead the points ahead of Joey Ringwood and Anthony Dall.
In the 450c Quads Adrian Mohr was also unbeaten to head Tobey Hyde and Robert Booth on points.
All other championship classes were to be decided by a final, after a series of heats, but although the finalists were decided, with at least one rider unbeaten in the heats, a number of ties on points will leave officials with a difficult decision to decide on an outcome in those classes.
There was however some clear-cut points standings which certainly is a good indication of which riders stood out.
Leading ACT dirt track sidecar team of Corey and Tom Banks won all their heats to head the qualifiers ahead of Mark and Wayne O’Meley, while Brad Banks and passenger Ian Hamilton were third best.
Hunter Anderson’s fine form was not limited to one class as he was also unbeaten in both the Pro 250cc and Under 19s class.
In the Pro 250cc class Luke Richards, Thomas Duggan and Ben Cook were next best, while Duggan, Jack Holder and Brody Nowlan were next in line in the Under 19s.
For Cowra riders Duggan and Cook, this was their first ever meeting as a senior rider and both should be well pleased with their competiveness.
In the Open Quad class Tobey Hyde was unbeaten to lead Adrian Mohr and Jeff McKee in the standings.
The biggest headache for officials will be the Pro 450cc class and Pro Open class both of which saw three rounds of six heats each leave two unbeaten riders on top of the standings.
The Pro 450cc class had Luke Gough and Alan Macdonald on top with Cowra teenager Brady Kurtz and Grant Charnock both recording two wins and a second placing.
In the Pro Open class Brady Kurtz was unbeaten on top with Sean McLellan, while Michael Kirkness, Luke Richards and Grant Charnock had two wins and a second each.
The intensity of the competition in these classes in particular was evidenced by the quality of the riders who failed to qualify for the final.
In the support classes Michael Farrell Jnr and passenger Shane Van Ginnekin outpointed Broken Hill father and son team Daniel and Link Stephens, after Michael Farrell Snr. and passenger Don Morris crashed in their third round of the long track sidecar class.
The three junior support classes all saw Cowra rider Zac Cook leading on points having won eight of his nine races. Clubmate Jack Dawes was second in the standings in two classes and third in the other, while Jack Passfield (Central Coast), Ben Miller (Temora) and Tyler Davies (West Wyalong) were also prominent.
Two other support classes were headed for a final, but both had a stand-out in the heats.
The Evolution Classic class had Kurt Close unbeaten with Panorama Club rider Brent Doulman and Nick Emms from Cowra next in line.
In the Over 35s class Graeme Smith was unbeaten, although Cowra rider Graham Cheney looked certain to match him before a flat tyre in his last ride relegated him to fourth qualifier behind Daniel Flanagan of Panorama and Steve Coates of Cowra.