Sedgmen Wins Thriller Crump Trophy
Merbein speedway star, Justin Sedgmen, created history when he won the gruelling Crump Trophy, six rider, six lap final at Mildura’s Olympic Park speedway on Friday night, Australia Day, as part of the Mildura Club’s 75th Anniversary celebrations. Sedgmen is the only rider to have won two Crump Trophies, his first occasion being way back in 2014, which was very much at the start of his professional speedway career.
An elated Sedgmen, had finished on top of the points tally, equal with former Australian Champion, Brady Kurtz, with each rider collecting 14 points. Sedgmen had to settle for second choice of start gate as Kurtz took the top spot, on countback to Sedgmen, as Kurtz had finished in front of the local star in the 12th Heat of the Crump Trophy meeting.
The traditional GT Onsite Windscreens, “Crump Trophy” final has always seen the deciding final run as a six-lap event with six riders at the start line, a tradition which Crump always enjoyed when he was actively racing.
Some great racing was seen by the top-quality field during the heats but really came to a head as the top riders got busy in the “B”, last chance qualifier, where only the winner joined the other top five points scorers for the night in the major event.
Following Kurtz and Sedgmen into the six-lap final was fellow local rider, Jaimon Lidsey, who finished on 13 points being just ahead of Danish visitor, Frederik Jakobsen, who was next with 12 points. Next in line was former Australian Champion, Sam Masters, who made it into the main event while Josh Pickering , with his 9 point score was the first rider into the “B” final where he was joined by Englishman, Sam Hagon, 7 points, on a count back from WA rider, Luke Killeen, 7 points while another count back was required to separate Jack Morrison, Michael West and Fraser Bowes, all on six points, with Morrison being the last rider to qualify. Pickering prevailed and joined the other five riders in the Crump final.
Kurtz chose the red gate while Sedgmen chose gate two, blue, with Lidsey then taking the next best, being gate three, white. The Dane, Jakobsen decided on safety first and took the outside, black gate position leaving Sam Masters to select gate four and last chance qualifier, Pickering to start with the green, gate 5 helmet.
The main event got off to a frenetic start with Kurtz driving hard to the first turn just with Sedgmen at his right shoulder and Lidsey and Masters applying pressure to both riders using the inside line. As riders went further through turn two it was evident that Sedgmen had a plan, given his good start to keep as much corner speed as possible, in the hope that by the exit of turn two he could get a slight advantage over Kurtz, which, in fact, did happen. Sedgmen, whilst still on the shoulder of Kurtz, had greater speed and pressured Kurtz overtaking him by the time they had cleared turn four. The local crowd acknowledged the Sedgmen pass with a great roar, but the job was still in front of the eventual winner, and that was, to stay in front and fight off charges from any of Lidsey, Masters and particularly Kurtz.
The next five laps were critical to the concentration, determination and positioning of Sedgmen on the race track, in relation to the other three top chances for success. He had to cover both sides of his machine, so that he could not be attacked from either side, which showed his concentration skills.
He remained in charge until part way through the last turn, where he went slightly wide on the exit of turn four, but thankfully for Sedgmen, Kurtz was not close enough to mount a strong challenge.
The large crowd was excited for Sedgmen, who was equally pleased with his success in the meeting, which means so much to all Sunraysia speedway fans. Sedgmen’s time for the six-lap journey was nearly a second outside the record time set last year by three times World Champion, Tai Woffinden, who rode well in early heats until taking a heavy fall in his fourth heat race. Woffinden suffered a blow to his humerous, when he fell and temporarily did not have feeling in his hand. The affable and generous Woffinden chose to retire from the Crump meeting so as not to do any further damage. Once he announced his withdrawal from the meeting Woffinden came into Race Control to speak to the crowd and assure them that he would be fine and that he had again enjoyed his time at Mildura and that “he would see you all again next year” . . . . . a most generous Champion.
Kurtz was still close in finishing and was just ahead of a fast-finishing Lidsey and Masters, while Pickering used his fitness to remain in fifth place, leaving the hard riding Jakobsen to come home in sixth place and finishing probably his “only ever six lap event’”.
Running parallel to the Solo program was the Karym Cleaning, “Sidecar Shootout”, where the eight invited Sidecar field would see the winner awarded the “Dudley Bradshaw Memorial Trophy” for 2024.
Local teams, Byren Gates / Mick O’Loughlin, 12 points and Mick Headland / Brenton Kerr 14 points were points leaders after their five heat rides with the Broken Hill youngsters, Max Howes / Riley Commons, 11 points, with SA pair, Shane Rudloff / Damian Egan, 9 points, the fourth qualifiers into the Bradshaw Final. With his first choice, Mick Headland chose to start from gate two, which left Byren Gates the opportunity to take the gate one position. The Silver City pair chose to start from gate three, leaving Rudloff to start from the outside gate.
A great start and a big charge to turn one, saw Headland / Kerr take control with Gates /O’Loughlin settling well in second place although Howse got some good grip out of turn two and challenged the local and former Victorian champion, when entering turn three for the first time. The “scrap” between the locals and the lads from Broken Hill continued for the remainder of the race and whilst those two teams fought hard, they allowed Headland /Kerr to go on without challenge and record a good win and take the Bradshaw trophy.
Other support events, which are “traditional” at Olympic Park were a small group of Young Guns solo riders, a group of Classic Solos, Classic Sidecars as well as Junior 125cc riders and a couple of Pee wee riders doing a demonstration.
Declan Knowles won the Young Guns class from Bradley Page and the Classic riders saw the veteran and evergreen, Rob Kemp / Nick Johns, win the Classic sidecars from Glen Hollis / John Willcock, with Marc Bowen / Jarrod Wood and Jake Zoch / Brady Bowen, even on points next. Classic solos were led by Cameron Wrate from Tony Nagle and Gavin Sedgmen, while the Junior 125cc riders saw Cooper Antone win from Blake Schlein and Ryleigh McGregor.
Another large crowd was in attendance at Olympic Park to join the Club in celebrating the 75th Anniversary of the Club, while celebrating Australia Day by sharing the sport which “Australia gave to the World” 100 years ago when speedway was founded at the Agricultural Show held at the West Maitland Showgrounds, in the Hunter Valley, NSW. An attentive crowd enjoyed the hard but fair spirit of racing which was displayed by all riders in all classes of competition.
The large program commenced at 6:00 pm, even before the Rider Introduction, 75th Anniversary, Australia Day celebrations and National Anthem, with the conduct of the first dozen events for the night.
One early highlight, however, was the running of a “double header” one lap, “Dash for Cash” for both Crump Trophy Solo competitors and for the invited Sidecar Shootout contestants, with both challenges being readily accepted by all participants.
The “Exposed Signage & Apparel” solo group were exciting to watch with many riders recording wonderful one lap times. Winner of the Australian Title, round 4 meeting at Olympic Park in early January, Brady Kurtz, continued his Mildura success by recording an excellent time of 13.76 seconds for his one lap. In second place was a great time of 13.79 seconds recorded by Josh Pickering, who at the time knew that he was interim leader, just marginally ahead of Tai Woffinden, who was just pipped with his time of 13.80. Kurtz took the “massive” cheque from valued sponsor, Matt Wilson, representing our generous sponsors.
In the “TLC Concreting and Earthmoving” Sidecar “Dash for Cash” there was only one team to record a time in the fourteen second bracket, when Mick Headland / Brenton Kerr, rode a super-fast lap which took 14.85 seconds to complete. Second place was shared between Byren Gates / Mick O’Loughlin and Nathan Cock / Brendan Johnson, with a lap time of 15.07 seconds. The big cheque was presented by generous sponsor, Marcus Chiltern, from TLC Concreting & Earthworks. These two Dash for Cash preliminaries were enjoyed by the enthusiastic and large crowd in attendance.
Next meeting at Olympic Park will be on Saturday 10th February, when the Club will stage the Gardenland Landscape Supplies,”2024 Victorian Sidecar Title”, where the “Warren Monson Memorial Trophy” will be awarded for the first time as a commemoration of the memory of the late, dual World Champion, dual Oceania Champion and 9 times, Victorian Sidecar champion, Warren Monson. The Mildura Club has been allowed to perpetuate the memory of “Wazza” Monson with the Victorian Title trophy to always be presented to the Victorian Title winner. The Club will keep the Perpetual trophy in its Clubrooms and each year will purchase a suitable annual award for rider and passenger.