Mildura Weekly : Friday April 10 2015 Vol 9 No 22
32 sport MILDURA WEEKLY FRIDAY, APRIL 10, 2015 Monson finishes second at Aust. Sidecar Title MILDURA’S Warren Monson has tak- en second place in the 2015 Australian Speedway Sidecar Titles, held in Alice Springs on Easter Sunday. The outing was Monson’s last along- side long-time passenger Matt Mor- gan, with Morgan to make the move to Queensland for family reasons. Monson’s success was made even more spectacular after he was hospital- ised for most of the week leading up to the event with a badly infected left elbow, which he had picked up while in Sydney working in his job as part of Team Su- zuki Australia at an Australian Superbike meeting. The talented driver was forced to have fluid drained from his elbow be- fore taking to the track, and at one stage was unsure whether he would be healthy enough to compete. Monson was directly seeded into the Championship as the best Victorian, and as a result did not have to contest a gru- elling qualifying meeting held on Easter Saturday at the 400m Arunga Park. Monson finished the heats in third position with 12 points, just one point behind leader Darrin Treloar/Blake Cox and eventual winner Justin Plaisted/Sam Harrison. Mick and Jesse Headland were the last chance qualifiers into the title event, finishing first in the ‘B’ Final. In the Championship final, Treloar/ Cox shot away from the tapes, covering Plaisted/Harrison and the Headlands. During the race it was becoming more evident that Treloar was on track to win his ninth Australian Title, before the champion Treloar unfortunately was the victim of engine troubles enter- ing the final turn, with Plaisted quickly catching his former colleague. • From Page 1 Given its status as the opening round of the national champion- ship, and one of the longest races on the calendar, the Sunraysia 600 has attracted the cream of Austra- lia’s off road racing talent, with drivers from as far away as the Northern Territory, Western Aus- tralia and Queensland converging on the district for the race. The event has attracted the likes of multiple Australian champion Shannon Rentsch, Brad Gallard, Jack Rhodes and Greg Hanson among a host of top-tier drivers. There’s also a strong contin- gent of Sunraysia-based drivers, in- cluding father and son Pro Buggy drivers, Aaron and Tanner James, Robert Plant in a Prolite, Ben Philp in the Super 1650 Buggy class and Desley Kelly in Production 4WD. Racing will take place in a range of classes from entry level right up to the fire-breathing 750 horsepower twin turbo buggies in the Pro Buggy class. Warrnambool-based Shannon Rentsch, along with his father Ian, in the navigators’ seat, has been the dominant force in Australian off-road racing in recent years, winning back-to-back national titles last year. The reigning champion said this week he was pleased to see the Sunraysia 600 back on the nation- al calendar. “It’s great to see the race back again as the previous track was always one of our favourites, and given we’re based in Warrambool, it’s also nice to have a race in our own State,” Rentsch said. While many of the previous Sunraysia 500s were held either at Pooncarie or Tapio Station, this weekend’s event will be fought out on an entirely new circuit, which should serve as an equaliser for competitors. “It means everyone’s on an equal playing field, and with an all-new track, we don’t really know what’s ahead, so it should be inter- esting,” Rentsch said. At 600 kilometres long this weekend’s race will be one of, if not the longest event on the 2015 AORC calendar, which presents additional challenges for teams. “Being that bit longer, it makes it more of an endurance race, meaning it’s a bit harder on both man and machine, so that’s something we have to take into ac- count,” the seven-time champion said. “We have done races that long before and I quite enjoy the chal- lenge. Having said that, the level of competition at the moment means it could still turn into a gi- ant sprint race as well, so we’ll just have to wait and see. “The last couple of years it’s been really close, with a lot of us now racing the same level of ma- chinery, so I’m expecting it to be close again this weekend.” Spectators will get their first look at the competitors and their machines at the SuniTAFE ovals from 4pm until 8pm today, where a Show and Shine will be held, allowing race fans to inspect the many hundreds of thousands of dollars in race cars that will com- pete in this weekend’s round. Tomorrow morning will see the first of the on-track action with the Prologue, which starts at 9.30am. This will be followed by a Top 10 shootout about 11.30am to further decide the starting order for the first leg of the race, which starts at 1.30pm. Drivers will complete two laps of the 100-kilometre course in this first leg tomorrow afternoon. Racing will resume at 8am Sun- day, when drivers will complete a further four laps of the course, with the lead cars expected to fin- ish just before 1pm. Sunraysia Motor Sport Club secretary Kaylene Philp said de- spite the track for this weekend’s round being 100 kilometres long, there will be plenty of vantage spots for spectators. “There’s probably about 60 ki- lometres of the circuit that specta- tors can access easily to view the race, so it’s very spectator-friend- ly,” Kaylene said. Sunraysia 600 back bigger and better • Local hopes Aaron and Tanner James, ABOVE, are expected to be the strongest of the Sunraysia-based teams competing in the hotly contested Pro Buggy class. BELOW – seven-time Australian Off Road Champion Shannon Rentsch on his way to his latest national title last year. 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Friday April 2 2015 Vol 9 No 21
Friday April 17 2015 Vol 9 No 23