• The annual Gillman Classic Speedway Championship meeting takes place this Saturday night, 27 October.

    The meeting is a family night of old time speedway action, which marks the transition between the Sunday morning winter practice meetings and the professional Saturday night summer season, and it also doubles as a tribute meeting to a speedway legend of the past.

    This year the meeting will honour one of the biggest Sidecar names from South Australia, Len Bowes and the souvenir programme on the night will detail Len’s career from the time he helped build the fence at Kilburn Speedway as a 10-year-old in 1946, until his retirement in 1975.

    Along the way he won the Australian Championship, three SA, three Vic, two NSW, two WA and one Qld State Championships.

    The Classic Championship meeting will consist of 40 events to cater for six championship categories — the JAP/ESO powered Solo bikes with riders over 50 years of age; 2 valve Jawa Solos; 4 valve Solos; British/European Sidecars, Japanese Sidecars and Post Classic Sidecars — plus demonstration events by the Classic Three Quarter Midgets.

    Riders from SA, WA, Vic, ACT and Qld will take part.

    Interestingly there will be new winners in at least five of the six championship classes this year as only one rider, Moz Pridham, in the Japanese Sidecar class, is available to defend his championship.

    The JAP/ESO Solo class, for riders over 50, sees two new riders to the Gillman meeting this year in former North Arm rider Peter Collins, and former Renmark Speedway rider Ian Vallis. Both are expected to reach the final along with regular finalists, Barry Kennington, from WA, and the ACT’s Ken Carratt. No one in the line-up has previously won the championship so they’ll all be extra keen, particularly Kennington who has finished as runner-up for the past three years after making the long trek across the Nullarbor.

    After a hat-trick of wins in 2007, 08 and 09, North Queenslander Roy Stout will be keen to return to the winner’s circle in the 2 valve Solo class, with his main opposition likely to come from previous placegetters Kevin Webb (WA) and Rick Smith, and former North Arm rider Ashley Watson who is returning to riding this season. Stout’s partner, Leah Fisher, will be the only female rider competing this year.

    The Evolution, or four valve, Solo class includes three current-day riders, Tom Jones, Robert Medson and Luke Mitchell, which will make it hard for former Renmark Speedway rider Gary Fischer and Victoria’s Martin Williams to win. Medson will be the favourite for this class, which, like the JAP/ESO class, does not include any previous winner.

    Most people’s favourite class seems to be the British/European Sidecars and this year the line-up seems very even with anyone of the riders - Geoff Baran (Norton 830), Jim Irwin (Triumph 750), Moz Pridham (BSA/JAP), Gary Trenorden (Triumph 750) and Tony West (JAP 8/80) – capable of winning. Jim Irwin/Rick Schonfeldt came through from last place at the start to win the final in 2010 but crashed out of the final last year.

    Unlike all the other classes, we do have a defending champion in the Japanese Sidecar class. In fact, Moz Pridham/Graham Williams will be aiming for their third successive win, to match the feat achieved by former winner George Atherton from 2006-08. Atherton was a late withdrawal from this year’s event, which will make it slightly easier for Pridham but Mildura’s Dale Milner/Nick O’Brien and Ash. Needham/Jamie Knudsen (Vic, Honda 750), are serious threats. Milner was unbeaten in the heats last year before suffering an engine failure in the final while running second behind Pridham.

    Last year was the first year the Post Classic Sidecar class was recognised as a championship class and the win went to Victorians Ricky Curran/Chris Walker, but they are not defending their title. Jim Irwin/Rick Schonfeldt were unbeaten in the heats, but were unable to start in the final after crashing in the British/European Final, so they will be one of the favourites, but Dale Milner always rides well at Gillman, and Lee Banks and Geoff Baran both went well at the long track meeting at Kapunda in January.

    As well as the two and three wheel classes the Three Quarter Midgets will have three demonstration runs. With the clay track surfaces dominating most speedway tracks these days, Gillman is one of the few tracks where the surface is smooth enough for the TQ drivers to have a safe and enjoyable time driving their classic cars.

    Racing starts at 7.30 pm, but gates open at 4 pm and the public will be able to get into the pits for a close look at the bikes until 6.30 pm.

    Everything You Need To Know

    Practice Thursday Night
    Open to classic, and current-day senior, riders. Thursday night, 25 October, 5pm to 7pm. The only practice allowed on race night (Sat) will be for Interstate riders unable to practice on Thursday night. Spectator admission is free. Stadium entry for practice night only through the eastern gate (behind the pits).

    Social Night Friday Night
    BBQ at Gillman Speedway on Friday night, 26 October, 7 pm. Len Bowes will be there. The BBQ is open to all. A small cover charge of $5 for a meal of BBQ sausages, patties, salads and bread. Drinks will also be on sale (by law no BYO allowed). Stadium entry for the social night only through the eastern gate (behind the pits).

    Race Meeting Saturday Night

    Meeting Date: Saturday night, 27 October, 2011.

    Venue: Gillman Speedway Stadium, 65 Wilkins Road, Gillman - near the Port Adelaide area.

    Gates open: at 4 pm

    Racing starts: at 7.30 pm.

    Admission: Adults $20, Age and Student Concession $15, Children free, Car Parking free, souvenir programme $5.

    T Shirts: Limited number of T shirts to commemorate the 2012/13 Gillman Classic Championships and Len Bowes Tribute Meeting produced by Wayne Meyer, of Speedway Star Racewear. Other Gillman Speedway souvenirs available.

    Food and drink: Full bar and catering available. Food includes hot chips, pies, pasties, sausage rolls, Chico Rolls, dim sims, hot dogs, sandwiches, doughnuts, coffee, sweets. Please note a condition of our liquor licence is no byo alcohol or glass can be brought into the venue. Also note no pets, other than guide dogs, are allowed into the venue.

    Seating: There are large grassed viewing mounds and terracing but no grandstand seating, so bring deck chairs or blankets if you do not want to sit on the grass.

    Weather Forecast: Mostly sunny, maximum 20 degrees.

    The best way to get to Gillman is off Hanson Road. If you are coming from the eastern and southern suburbs, get on to Hanson road off Torrens Road or Grand Junction Road, travel north on Hanson road over the train line then take the first road on the left, which is Wilkins road.

    From the northern suburbs, travel down the new Port Adelaide expressway and take the Hanson Road exit. Once on Hanson Road, take the first exit on your right, this is Wilkins road.

    From the western suburbs, Wilkins Road is the continuation of Bedford Street, north of Eastern Parade.

    Contact for this meeting: Speedway Manager, David Parker 0403 364 658

    The full list of entrants:
    Jap/Eso Solos (Riders over 50) :: Sponsor Northern Track Promotions
    Ken Carratt (ACT, ESO), Steve Chapman (WA, ESO), Peter Collins (SA, ESO), John Dwyer (SA, ESO), Trevor Henderson (SA, ESO), Barry Kennington (WA, ESO), Jim Phillips (WA, JAP), Ian Vallis (SA, JAP)

    2 Valve Jawa Solos :: Sponsor DC Anodising
    Ian Clothier (SA), Leah Fisher (SA), Kerry Marsh (SA), Rick Smith (SA), Roy Stout (Qld), Ashley Watson (SA), Kevin Webb (WA)

    4 valve Solos :: Sponsor Ian Jones Auto Parts
    Gary Fischer (SA, GM), Tom Jones (SA, Jawa), Robert Medson (SA, Weslake), Luke Mitchell (SA, GM), Martin Williams (Vic, GM)

    British/European Sidecars :: Sponsor Lee’s Spot On Motorcycles
    Geoff Baran/Matt Morgan (SA, Norton 830), Jim Irwin/Rick Schonfeldt (SA, Triumph 750), Moz Pridham/Graham Williams (SA, BSA/JAP), Gary Trenorden/Jesse Irwin (SA, Triumph 750), Tony West/Robert Brown (SA, JAP 8/80)

    Japanese Sidecars :: Sponsor Mongrel Motorcycle Accessories
    Tim Bichard/Adam Pfitzner (SA, Suzuki 750), Rodney Gebhart/Aden Pearce (Vic, Kawasaki 750), Michael Hoogland/Nik Schwarzer (SA, Suzuki 500), Pieter Hoogland/David Williams (SA/Eng, Yamaha 650), Dale Milner/Nick O’Brien (Vic, Honda 750), Ash. Needham/Jamie Knudsen (Vic, Honda 750), Moz Pridham/Graham Williams (SA, Honda 750), Rocky Warren/Daniel Tuckey (SA, Honda 750)

    Post Classic Sidecars :: Sponsor Gawler Motorcycle Centre
    Lee Banks/TBA (SA, Kawasaki 1000), Geoff Baran/Matt Morgan (SA, Kawasaki 1000), Clinton Crabb/Rick Smith (SA, Kawasaki 1000), Jim Irwin/Rick Schonfeldt (SA, Yamaha 1000), Dale Milner/Nick O’Brien (Vic, Suzuki 1000), Aaron Silvy/Dean Hobbs (SA, Yamaha 1000)

    Three Quarter Midgets :: Sponsor Hillier’s Auto Salvage in memory of Ken Hillier
    G1 Barry Beauchamp (OHV B33 BSA), E4 Bob Holland (Norton ES2), SA4 John Catford (Jawa 500), Vic6 Phil Fisher (B33 BSA), E8 Eric Klenke (SV B33 BSA), SA17 David Burt (JAP 500), SA25 Trevor Wehrmann (Jawa 500), BH77 Graham Masters (Jawa 4 Valve), SA88 Wayne Hamilton (AJS 500)
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