After a hugely disrupted 2020, North Brisbane Junior Motorcycle Club had hoped for a more stable 2021. Unfortunately, the Coronavirus pandemic put pay to that, with all the proposed national events to be run at the club eventually being cancelled due to border closures and the like.
2022 is off to a flying start however, with the North Brisbane Cup run on Saturday and a strong contingent of riders travelling long distances to compete. There was also over $9,000 in prize money up for grabs, sweetening the deal and ensuring tough competition.
The event covered numerous classes from the demo or Division 1 riders all the way through to the Pro 450 class, containing a prestige field of some of Australia’s top dirt track riders. Some of the headliners were Jarred Brook, Cyshan Weale, Billy Van Eerde, Harrison Voight, Kye Thomson and Dale Borlase, just to name a few.
There were also good numbers of quad and dirt track sidecars entered, and thankfully only a few riders had to withdraw due to Covid quarantine restrictions.
Riders were lined up at the gate on the day at 6:30 am, keen to access the pit area and undertake preparations for the huge day to follow.
After the riders briefing there was a parade lap and minute’s silence for one of the North Brisbane quad riders – John Rice – who was a gentleman of the sport and tragically passed away of natural causes after a great day’s riding back in late November.
The weather in January in Brisbane can be quite variable and Saturday proved no different. Localised showers passed through off the ocean for most of the day. Thankfully these showers did not cause any stoppages to the program.
The track was set in a long-track format with a tight back dog-leg after turn 2 and before turn 3. This proved challenging for a lot of riders and limited opportunities for overtaking through this section. Later in the day in the main event everyone got to see how the dog leg could be used to a rider’s advantage.
After two laps of practice, there were three rounds of racing for all classes, showcasing some fantastic individual performances, before a final for each class. Points were awarded across the three races and the finals.
The main event of the day was the Pro 450 cc North Brisbane Cup, and saw 20 laps of the North Brisbane circuit raced under lights with 12 of the countries best dirt track riders.
Cyshan Weale got a great start and led the race for the first few laps with Jarred Brook and Kye Thomson chasing him down. It was wheel to wheel racing with the lead changing between Weale and Brook multiple times with Thomson in hot pursuit.
Brook was then able to pass Weale and led into the final lap, but Weale pulled out all the stops and got back past in the back dogleg, to cross the line six hundredths of a second ahead of Brook. The energy around the track was electric, everyone had just witnessed an amazing spectacle.
Cyshan Weale has been chasing Jarred Brook for quite a few years, always with the intention of one day taking the win, and the North Brisbane Cup proved to be the day. Jarred was very gracious and immediately congratulated Cyshan on the win.
With the 125 cc Cup class making a huge comeback in multiple genres of motorcycle racing the NB Cup was no different. A grid of 13 riders from many different disciplines faced of, including dirt track specialist Cyshan Weale, speedway rider Ryan Douglas for the Wolverhampton Wolves (UK), Blake Cobbin, as well as Redbull Rookie and Asia Talent Cup road racer Billy van Eerde riding Jack Miller’s dirt track machines.
The racing in the 125cc category was fast and furious, with some great match ups to watch. Ultimately Cyshan Weale again prevailed over Billy van Eerde, with Blake Cobbin taking third.
It was also good to see a grid of six women, including rivals Briony Hendrickson and Brooke Goulding, who have been fierce competitors for quite a few years. Newcomers to the open Women’s 450 class were Emma Scott and Chloe Doak, both making their inaugural appearances. Briony Hendrickson topped the class, ahead of Brooke Goulding and Brie Levy.
In the 250 Open class it was Ryan Douglas who won from Morty Michelmore, with Ben Montgomery completing the top three. Kevin Bradley topped the Over 45s class, ahead of Peter Jack and John Johnson.
Brayden Bradford was top 100/125 Juniors 13 to U16, ahead of Rory McQualter and Lucas Quinn. George Holmkvist led the 65 cc 7-U9 Years results, from Theo Aefeaki and Lucy Heaton. Riley Nauta won the 65 cc 9-13 Years class, beating Viv Muddle and Brodie Paige.
Viv Muddle won the 85 cc 2st & 150 cc 4St 9-U13 Years category however, while Cooper Archibald was the top performer in the 85 cc 2st & 150 cc 4St 12-U16 Years class.
Rory McQualter was fastest 200-250 cc 4St 13-U16 Years racer, ahead of Brayden Bradford and Lucas Quinn. Topping the Auto Division 7-U9 was George Holmkvist, while Steven McGill was fastest Classic Pre-1990, heading Peter Jack and Darren Saxon.
In the Quads Unlimited Mathew Griffiths was victorious, while Steven Liebke topped the Sidecars.
On Saturday everyone was a winner, with spectators getting to see some of the closest hard-fought racing one can hope to see. While the Pro 450 was the main event with $3750 up for grabs all the other classes were equally well contested with numerous personal bests to come from the day’s racing.
It was also worthy of note how many participants also compete in road racing both domestically and internationally. It comes as no great surprise that dirt track and flat track racing is a great discipline to learn bike craft for other disciplines.
North Brisbane has become well known for running numerous premier events and will be running the 2022 Australian Junior and Senior Dirt Track Championships.
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