Mildura Weekly : Friday February 7 2014 Vol 8 No 14
Mildura Weekly – 07/02/14 23 www.milduraphonebook.com.au IN THE RIVERLAND THIS WEEK Bev Story (08) 8588 7203 or email firstname.lastname@example.org By BEV STORY SIBLING sidecar racers Aaron and Teagan Hartwig know and accept the dangers of the sport that claimed the life of their mother’s uncle. However, at 21 and 18 re- spectively, the Team 27 rider and passenger already have decades of experience with motorbikes...and no inten- tion of slowing down. Despite neither of their parents, Julie and Stephen, having been motorbike rac- ers, they bought Aaron a small Pee Wee 50cc bike when he was only three. Barely one, Teagan was soon jumping up behind her brother to ride around their Sunlands citrus block, and it was only a few years later before they took to the race track. Now they have about 30 bikes between them. They both still race MX bikes with Morgan MX Club, where their mum is club sec- retary. However, their greatest success has come with sidecar racing – three times Victo- rian MX sidecar Junior State champions, and four times South Australian champions. These days, as well as rac- ing MX bikes individually, the pair make a formidable team in sidecar speedway rac- ing, and were in action at Riv- erland Speedway on Saturday night, although they are not in the running to achieve an overall podium finish in the Blackchrome Sidecar Grand Slam Series, of which round four was held in Renmark. They would have needed to sign a contract at the start of the season, committing to competing in all events of the series – spread Austra- lia-wide and as far away as Queensland. However, Aaron said that while they would have liked to finish in the A final at Renmark, they were rela- tively happy to finish on the podium in third place in the B final. It was a big improvement on their Riverland Speed- way leg of the series in 2013, when a first-round crash put them out of the day’s racing, and saw Teagan hospitalised. “We had a massive stack,” Aaron said. “We went into the wall, and Teagan ended up with 120 stitches in her hand. It was probably my fault...I hit a wet patch coming into the corner, and her hand got jammed.” The siblings are well aware of the dangers of speedway sidecar, with a rider killed racing in Queensland last year, and their mother’s uncle, Brian Schultz, killed on the Port Pirie track before they were born. “I have to shut that out,” Aaron said. “It was a bit dan- gerous, but every sport has different dangers to it.” Parental support Despite the family sport- ing fatality, Aaron said their mum had never stopped him racing, and both parents had allowed them enormous op- portunities with their sport, taking them to and from events, and buying bikes throughout their childhood. Aaron said their sport has taken them to many tracks across South Australia and Victoria, including Mildura, Gillman (Adelaide), Side- winders (Adelaide’s junior track) and Wangaratta. “We started in juniors when Teagan was 12,” Aaron said. “We started MX sidecar, and then to speedway side- car.” He said MX sidecars in- cluded jumps and turns in the track, the same as MX bikes, while in speedway you raced “straight round” the track. “We are in a constant slide around the track,” he said. “It is quite big overseas in Europe, with 40 to 50 side- cars in a field. They are all full-time riders.” On Saturday night their Team 27 had reasonable suc- cess on Saturday night....a third in the first event of the night, which Aaron wasn’t all that happy about, but that was followed by two wins, before a tyre blowout in the last race put paid to their win- ning chances. “It was pretty dangerous, butwewereatanendofthe straight, and that meant we were able to pull off out the way of other riders reason- ably quickly,” he said. “There is not much you can really do...I nearly laid an egg.” Aaron said that when the tyre blew, all the rubber peeled off the rim, leaving the bike on the wheel metal, and ripping grooves into the racetrack. Without that blown tyre, Aaron would have expected to start the B final on the prized inside red lane, but instead had to start from the worst – the outside lane. “We got a pretty good jump off the rest of the field (at the start) and then got pushed a bit wide by another competitor. “When he pushed me wide, because the fence is around the outside and ce- ment, you have to get off the accelerator. We ended up third and missed the A final. At least we didn’t crash out like last year, so that was posi- tive.” Team 27 has three sidecar Team Hartwig has great track record bikes – all EZR 1000cc Yama- has. Aaron said that despite the greater speed and power of sidecar bikes he enjoyed “do- ing jumps and stuff” in MX racing. “You can still get rea- sonably quick on a 250 (cc),” he said. “They say you pull 2.7Gs off the start line.” While the siblings at Team 27 must place their faith in each other and rely on their combined skills for success, they are ultra-competitive with each other when it comes to racing track MX. They both ride Yamaha YZS 250cc bikes in the Senior Lites’ class – with Aaron usual- ly having the edge on Teagan, although she has beaten him on occasions. “I rode a motorbike before I could ride a push bike,” Tea- gan said. Teagan said the passenger was as important as the rider when it came to speedway, and she also stuck to the passenger role in Team 27, with fitness being a contributing factor in any success. “Both Aaron and I do a fair bit of fitness work,” she said. “You use all of the muscles in the upper body. Aaron has to steer the bike and I am leaning backwards, especially when I am trying to get drive down the straight. I have to push my- self around. If you don’t work together, it could quickly turn sour.” The Hartwigs got out of citrus growing a few years ago, and father and son are now tree loppers. Teagan finished year 12 in 2013 and is now working at Borsrock Winery and studying nutrition and dietetics at TAFE SA, with plans to start enrolled nursing later this year. • WINNING COMBINATION: Brother and sister track racers Aaron and Teagan Hartwig, RIGHT, with a friend during recent after-race celebrations, and BELOW: Taking to the track.
Friday January 31 Vol 8 No 13
Friday February 14 2014 Vol 8 No 15