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The return of speedway's sliding stars
With significant work completed during the off-season including the construction of a brand new open-air grandstand, Gillman Speedway is ready for a big season of two and three wheel racing this summer. Adelaide's mild winter has helped green the infield and the grassy mounds while the track itself is looking smooth, wide and ready for some fast racing.
Gillman Speedway is a purpose built 300m dolomite, crushed granite and clay surface oval track with a width of 12-15m and a slight camber. The Speedway has been at the Wilkins Road location since the closure of the North Arm Speedway in 1997 and has been built almost entirely by volunteers and supporters of the Speedway Riders Association using some donated equipment (take a look at some of the old maintenance equipment lying around !) and many hours of hard labour.
The fruits of this labour is the scheduling of another great season of speedway racing culminating in Gillman Speedway hosting the FIM Speedway Sidecar World Cup over Easter in 2016, a major race meeting featuring sidecar riders from four countries all competing for the major prize and significant bragging rights.
For people new to Speedway, the riders race four laps around this tight circuit during a series of heats with points accumulating towards the faster and tactical finals later in the evening. The current track record was set last season by Jason Doyle in the solos at 54.83 seconds for a four lap clutch start at an average speed of 79 kmh. The current record for sidecars is 57.76 seconds at a slightly slower average speed of 75 kmh.
The season normally kicks off with a huge season opener but an unfortunate accident overseas to popular rider and future speedway superstar Darcy Ward has introduced a new "opening night" event being the Darcy Ward Fundraiser. Darcy was seriously injured in Poland in late August and Gillman Speedway have elected to introduce an extra night in to the program where the very best Australian speedway talent in solos and sidecars will be on hand to entertain a huge crowd for this fundraiser.
To facilitate junior development in Speedway, the club has built a small 110m track in the centre of the main oval where young kids (known as Sidewinders) can also ride in a controlled and safe fashion, often as part of a big meeting with great crowd support and participation.
Gates open for all events from 6pm onwards with racing usually starting around 730pm when the sun has fallen enough to no longer be a distraction to the riders. Tickets are available at the gate. Further details are available from the Gillman Speedway website or from their facebook page.