Darrin Treloar, the most decorated Australian Sidecar rider ever, has added the inaugural Warren Monson Trophy to his amazing collection of Championships at Mildura’s Olympic Park speedway on Saturday night. The Gardenland Landscape Supplies, 2024 Victorian Sidecar Championship was a tough and most competitive meeting conducted in great spirit by all teams in the crack field.
An elated, honoured and most humble Treloar with Blake Cox, was totally satisfied with his efforts against the best that Australia could offer as Mick Headland / Brenton Kerr took second place just ahead third placed, Byren Gates / Mick O’Loughlin, with Max Howse / Riley Commons taking the fourth place trophy. Some classy riding was seen during the course of the event which took place in front of an attentive and highly interested crowd.
The four best teams in the crack field finished close with Treloar / Cox being unbeaten on a maximum 15 points scoreline with Mick Headland / Brenton Kerr next with 13 points, having dropped a point to Byren Gates / Mick O’Loughlin in heat 5 and then to Treloar in the tough heat 15. Gates cost himself dearly in his heat 12 ride when he “bogged down” in a start rut and had to follow Josh Pascoe / Greg Black and Dean Hobbs / Dan Low, to an unexpected third place. Gates and youngsters from Broken Hill, Max Howse / Riley Commons completed their heats on 12 points, but Gates took the third spot in the A Final, on count back, ahead of the Silver City pair, who had the hard fight to come through the “B” Final and ultimately get the last place available in the Warren Monson Final.
Treloar and Headland fought hard against each other from the two inside gates while the wily Byren Gates selected the outside, gate four position hoping to keep out of the way of any trouble on the inside of the track. The Gates strategy nearly worked as, once again, Gates got a brilliant start and was level with Treloar moving through turns one and two. The inside run saw Treloar ride Gates up to the fence, forcing Gates to “roll off” the throttle and give way to the ultimate winner. There was no malice in the Treloar action, but just a necessary way to keep his ground. Meanwhile, once Gates had slowed, it allowed Headland to move under him and take over second place behind Treloar and that is how it remained until Treloar saw the “chequered” flag at the end of the journey. A tough “Championship” final which was enjoyed by all in attendance.
In the highlight of the night, the riders, officials and large crowd were stunned with the wonderful hand crafted Warren Monson Trophy, which was presented to Treloar and Cox by Full Noize Racing principal, Ray Tegart, who had worked as Pit crew with Monson for more than 20 years. The newly crafted perpetual Trophy was made by local Jeweller, Ian Burrows, of Showcase Jewellers, whose work was considered to be totally appropriate for the occasion. The Trophy utilised a large piece of the former Olympic Park, “Red Gum” fence to which was attached an engraved Gold plate as the centrepiece of the trophy. The circular Red Gum block has room to have new Victorian Sidecar Champions have their names inscribed on individual small shields, which will note their winning status over forthcoming years.
Mildura Motor Cycle Club sought approval from Motorcycling Victoria to have Monson’s World, Oceania and Nine Victorian Sidecar Championships commemorated and acknowledged in perpetuity with this new Trophy. The Club will retain control of the permanent Trophy and will maintain the administration of the award into the future, whilst also ensuring that the permanent award will always be presented to the new winner each year. A separate award will be given to each winning team on an annual basis as the new Trophy will always live in Mildura.
The “B” finalists included the afore-mentioned Howse / Commons team with Josh Pascoe / Greg Black taking the second place available in the minor final. Nate and Jesse Headland were the third qualifiers
With Chris Walker next, however, Walker was not able to take his place in the “B” as his passenger, Eric Melton, had taken a heavy fall in heat 17 and took no further part in the meeting, The Walker / Melton team therefore finished the event in seventh place, just behind the younger Headlands and Pascoe / Black.
An interesting group of Classic sidecars provided support to the State Title event and, once again provided some spirited and excellent racing.
Towards the conclusion of the meeting Club International rider, Justin Sedgmen was farewelled as he embarks on another season of racing in Europe and England. Sedgmen had celebrated his last two domestic meetings with great success, as he won the Phil Crump Classic at the Club’s 75 Anniversary meeting and just last week had travelled to Perth, WA to compete in the Robbie Woffinden Memorial meeting, riding against local and three times World Champion, Tai Woffinden, who had also been at the “Crump” Mildura meeting. Justin has been successful in Perth with our other local International, Jaimon Lidsey. finishing one – two in the Pinjar Park, classic. Lidsey, like Sedgmen, will depart Mildura for their overseas summer riding in the next week.
Next meeting at Olympic Park will be the Sunraysia Riverland Refrigerated Services, Mildura Sidecar Spectacular which will be held on SUNDAY 10th March, where the annual Keith “Curly” Carmes Trophy will be presented to the winning team.