Troy Bayliss achieved the highest honour in motor cycle racing as World Superbike champion in 2001, 2006 and 2008 but until the Queens Birthday weekend in 2014 he had never won an Australian Championship.
Bayliss did not just lay that bogey to rest – he smashed it as he won three in the one day at the 2014 Ausmulch Australian Senior Dirt Track Championships staged at the Old Bar track on the weekend.
Significantly the now Gold Coast resident returned to Taree, where he started riding dirt track in his younger days, to achieve his greatest success in any class of motor cycle competition in his home country.
He raced at the Old Bar track in January over the past three years in a meeting that has evolved into the Troy Bayliss Classic, showing great form on a KTM 450 machine.
For the weekend Bayliss added a KTM 250 to his stable and entered three classes – the Pro 450, Pro 250 and Pro Open – and he won them all with varying degrees of difficulty against the country’s most accomplished dirt track riders.
All looked good for Bayliss on Saturday as he won his first two rounds in all classes, before he went winless in the third rounds on Sunday morning.
All eight championship classes provided thrills, excitement and drama, and a touch of controversy in several, before Bayliss emerged as the only competitor to achieve more than one class win.
Bayliss was not always in front after 50 metres, but usually was by the first corner, but even when he did not make the best of starts he stuck to the racing lines that worked so well and he was inevitably soon in control.
The first two attempts to run the Pro 450 final were red-flagged with Bayliss leading, when firstly Luke Richards and secondly Joshua Hook fell, before Bayliss finally got to the checkered flag ahead of Jarryd Oram(who only got to the final via the repechage) and Marty McNamara.
Six times Pro 250 champion Luke Richards narrowly led Bayliss in the final when it too was red-flagged, but in the re-run Bayliss was a comfortable winner while Richards recovered from a poor start to just beat Jared Myer (who also came via the repechage)for second.
The icing on the cake for Bayliss was the Pro Open final, this time leading home Michael Kirkness and Ian Hamilton (he too in the final via the repechage).
There was some mixed outcomes among the results as both McNamara and Hamilton failed to shed the tag of ‘best never to have won an Aussie title’, while Kirkness bravely battled through the meeting just a fortnight after breaking bones in both arms in a track mishap.
Former champion Paul Caslick took no part in racing on Sunday after suffering a broken wrist in a crash on the first day.
Riders from the oiled tracks like Taree and Kempsey were prominent in the action, although it was a disappointing sign-off for local star Ian Bisley who has unbeaten in leading the qualifiers in the Pro Open, but failed to take home hardware from any of the three finals.
Former World Supersport contender Matthew Davies was a deserving winner in the Under 19s class, although not making the best of starts in the final. In one of several ‘photo-finishes’ only split by the timing transponder Brayden Elliott edged out Bayley James for second.
Only one of the 2-wheel champions in 2013 made it back-to-back victories this year with Jessica Shepherd winning all five rounds of the Womens class to beat Amy Wedd and Georgia Murray.
Over the past five years the Dirt Track Sidecars have been dominated by two teams and although triple champions Corey and Tom Banks won their heat clash against Adam and Graham Liebke the result was reversed in the final as the Liebkes also became triple champions. Brad Banks / Stephen Hamilton finished third in the final.
The ATV riders played a significant role in the meeting having done many laps to dry out the track on Sunday morning before racing started .
This was the fifth year that the ATVs have had championship status, and for the first time South Australian Mel Brandle did not claim either of the class wins.
The honours were shared with Robert Booth (Pro) and Toby Hyde (Open) the winners as well as each taking second place in the other class, with Mel Brandle and Jack Weston third respectively.
Ian Bisley did manage to claim victory with an unbeaten run in the Over 35s support class, while the two junior classes saw victories to Max Stauffer over Jarred Loveday and Luke Bush (65cc 7 – Under 11) and Jack Hyde over Max Stauffer and Andrew Jordan (85cc 2str / 150cc 4str 9 – Under 13).
RESULTS OF 2014 AUSMULCH AUSTRALIAN SENIOR DIRT TRACK CHAMPIONSHIPS
Staged at the Old Bar track, Taree (NSW) on June 7 and 8
Adam Liebke / Graham Liebke
Corey Banks / Tom Banks
Brad Banks / Stephen Hamilton
Ian Bisley (Taree)
Tony Hyde (Taree)
Jamie Oram (Macleay)
65cc 7 – Under 11s
Max Stauffer (Kurri Kurri)
Jarred Loveday ((Macleay)
Luke Bush (Kurri Kurri)
85cc 2str/ 150cc 4str 9 – U13yrs
Jack Hyde (Taree)
Max Stauffer (Kurri Kurri)
Andrew Jordan (Macleay)
Husqvarna ace and Aussie dirt track legend Paul Caslick has seen a careful and detailed preparation all amount to nought after he suffered a broken wrist in the early stages of qualifying at the Ausmulch Australian Dirt Track Championships at Old Bar circuit, Taree, NSW.
The Husqvarna Racing Team / Chris Watson Motorcycles rider and nine-time Australian champ was considered a serious title prospect in both the 450 and Pro Open classes, but a collision during the first Pro Open qualifier ended his day early.
Having easily achieved qualification in the first 450 race, Caslick was attempting to pass several riders around the outside in the first Pro Open race when one rider – who had been struck by another – suddenly stood up out of the turn and decelerated, directly in the path of a fully committed Caslick.
The Husqvarna FC 450 slammed into the back of the other rider, 46-year old Caslick sustaining a double break of his left wrist in the process.
It was a bitter pill to swallow for Caslick, who nonetheless remained at the track for the rest of the day to watch his good friend Troy Bayliss power his KTMs to victory in the 250, 450 and Pro Open categories.
Paul Caslick – “Devastated. I put my heart and soul into the preparation for this and to go out through something that wasn’t my fault is tough to take. But that’s how it goes.
“I’d had my first ride in the 450 and cruised into third without even trying, and that was a good first hit. I knew what I had to do. Because we ran the 19” wheels in the Pro Open I got more traction off the line than anticipated and muffed the start. I went around four guys in Turn 1 and was setting up to pass more in the second when a guy who got knocked from the inside stood up and stopped. I hit his tyre so hard I think that was the impact that broke my wrist. As soon as I picked the bike up it was sore but the adrenaline was still there. I iced it and took some anti-inflammatory medication straight away but when I went to the medics I had a big lump across my wrist and my day was over.
“I considered riding but decided I’d just be putting my racing mates at risk – I can’t even hold a phone in my left hand!
“It was a great weekend’s racing. We knew we were on the pace, that was never going to be in question, so I’m really gutted I couldn’t put the Husky on the box. But I’m glad I stayed and watched. Bayliss was just awesome to watch and we left the bikes on display and I would say out of every bike in the pits the Huskies probably got the most attention. They looked great.”
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