Michael Kirkness has reigned supreme at the 2018 Australian Senior Dirt Track Championship meeting staged at the Balcary Park Raceway at Gunnedah last weekend.
The Pro Open, MX Open and Pro 450 classes were all won by Kirkness despite the presence of tough opposition headed by many former champions and ranging from young stars through to campaigners just as experienced as him.
Across the five championship classes decided by finals, the heat races did not always give much of a hint as to the outcome in the finals.
The PRO OPEN final looked to be in the hands of Kayden Downing (2,3,5 in his heats) before Kirkness (1,4,1) pounced on the final lap with top qualifier Ryan Douglas (2,2,1) completing the rostrum ahead of Luke Gough (1,4,2), the impressive American Gage McAllister (3,1,2) and Paul Caslick (6,3,4).
The final of the MX OPEN was more straight forward with an all-the-way win for Kirkness (3,7,1) ahead of top qualifier Marty McNamara (2,1,1) and Douglass (1,2,2), with McAllister (3,3,2), Gough (1,3, won repechage) and Downing (5,4,3) next.
In the PRO 450 final top qualifier Kirkness (2,1,1) firstly had a tough battle to get by McAllister (4,1,1) before he then again grabbed Downing (3,3,2) on the final lap while Mackenzie Childs (1,4,1) also passed McAllister, with McNamara (2,3,4) and Caslick (1,1,3) next home.
The PRO 250 class did get enough numbers to constitute championship status and it came down to a last round decider with Mackenzie Childs (1,3,2,1,1) outpointing Tom Herrick (2,2,1,2,3) with Michael Booth (3,4,3,3,2) stopping a clean-sweep by youngsters to take third ahead of Kye Andrews (NS,1,4,4,5), Daniel Wicks (5,7,7,6,6) and Bailey Davis (4,NS,6,5,4).
Briony Hendrickson continued her domination of the WOMENS class winning all five rounds to claim another title, this time joined on the rostrum by Amy King (2,2,2,3,2) and Brooke Goulding (3,4,3,2,3) ahead of Keegan Pickering (4,3,4,4,4), Dale Austin (5,5,5,5,5) and Elly Bullen (7,7,7,7,6).
The DIRT TRACK SIDECAR class resulted in victory for heat topscorers Darren Fien / Shaun Fien(2,1,1) ahead of Ben Raffin / Wade Robertson (1,4,1) and former champions David Grainger / Trevor Gaze(1,3,2), Darryl Woodhead / Shaun Fuller (2,2,3), Jack Weston / Matt Doyle (3,3,2) and Greg Parsonage / Tim Green (3,4,4,won repechage).
Both Hendrickson and the Fiens completed a double having also won their respective classes at last month’s Australian Track Championship.
Unbeaten top qualifier Matthew Griffiths took out the final of the ATV Open class, ahead of Robert Booth (1,1,2), Ross Rizzo (3,2,1), Jeff McKee (2,3,3), Ian Haggie (2,2,2) and Ben Cartwright (4,4,3, won repechage)
Support classes produced wins for David Grainger / Trevor Gaze in the Greg Banks Memorial for Dirt Track Sidecars, Mackenzie Childs in the Under 19s,Michael Booth in the Over 35s, Jake Whittaker in the Novice and Jeff McKee in the ATV Pro.
Editorial by Peter Baker
Images supplied bySheree Griffin