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Australia's best stars on show to pay tribute to Darcy
Rarely before has such an array of talent gathered in our fair country, let alone at Adelaide's own speedway venue. And all for a good reason. November 7th sees many of the world's best, including past and present champions, come to town for the Darcy Ward Tribute Meeting.
Darcy Ward is a 23 year old Queenslander who burst on to the speedway scene at the age of 11 when competing in the Australian Under-16 Championships. Darcy had a couple of second placings over the years before entering the Under-21 championships where he won the World Championship twice and Australian Championship three times.
The lure of overseas competition saw Darcy race in the professional leagues in Great Britain and Poland, while returning to Australia for summer competition. In 2013 Darcy won the Golden Helmet of Pardubice, joining other Australian legends Leigh Adams, Jason Crump and Ryan Sullivan as past winners the Golden Helmet, the oldest speedway race in the world.
On 23 August 2015 tragedy was to strike Darcy when he suffered a heavy crash while competing in Poland. Having no feeling in his lower body, Darcy underwent spinal surgery and is now back in the UK undergoing the long and slow process of recovery and rehabilitation.
November 7th at Gillman Speedway sees a special night of speedway in Adelaide headed by former World Speedway Champion Chris Holder. Chris Holder will come up against other current and former Australian champions including Troy Batchelor, Sam Masters, Justin Sedgmen and three-times Australian Under 21 Champion Max Fricke. The remainder of this star studded field is made up of overseas riders Adam Skˇrnicki (Poland), Emil Gr°ndal (Denmark), Anders Thomsen (Denmark), Richie Worrall (England), Kai Huckenbeck (Germany) and Australians Kevin Doolan, Brodie Waters, Tyron Proctor (Vic), Nick Morris (Qld), Brady Kurtz (NSW) and Arlo Bugeja (SA).
The Sidecar line-up promises to be a massive series of events with six of the seven riders from last season's championship final and semi-finals competing. The riders are the legendary Darrin Treloar/Blake Cox, current Australian Champions Justin Plaisted/Sam Harrison, Mick Headland/Jesse Headland, Damien Niesche/Jack Spear, Trent Headland/Darryl Whetstone and Mark Plaisted/Darcy Risstrom, with former Australian Champion Mark Mitchell (new passenger Dale Knights) and Byren Gates/Michael O'Loughlin completing the eight rider line-up.
A bumper crowd is expected for the first big Saturday night of the Gillman Speedway season, and fans are encouraged to get their early to grab their spot in the new grandstand or on the mounds. With great support from sponsors, many of whom have donated prizes and associated goods for auction and sale, it is anticipated that the meeting will raise a significant sum of money to assist Darcy with his medical bills and the rehabilitation costs.
Get Well Darcy
Admission prices for this meeting will be Adults $25 with pensioner concession of $20, and kids under 16 for $5 or free if under 12. Due to the expected amount of interest in the meeting the gates will open an hour earlier than normal, at 4pm, with racing starting at 7.30pm. For further details refer to either the Gillman Speedway website or their facebook page.