Victoria's Max Fricke claimed his third Australian under-21 speedway title on the trot, in a night marred by a heavy crash involving Buttai's Jye Etheridge at at Kurri Kurri Speedway on Saturday night.
Etheridge, was taken to hospital for observation with a heavy concussion but track medical officials said it appeared the 19-year-old has escaped any broken bones.
Fricke had to compose himself from a fall of his own in the championship A-final to claim his victory.
Queensland's Jake Allen, who had won his four final heats to qualify directly for the decider, was excluded from the third attempt to stage the A-final after being ruled responsible for bringing Fricke down.
Fricke lined up against reigning NSW and NSW under-21 champion Brady Kurtz and Jack Holder, who qualified from the B-final which featured Heddon Greta’s Josh Pickering in his first full season of speedway.
After gating brilliantly all night, including the first two starts of the A-final, Kurtz missed the start and couldn't find the speed or space to pass Fricke and Holder who never much more than a metre apart during the race.
Fricke said it was a tough night's racing.
"It hasn't got any easier to win (the title) everyone is getting better each year.
"After the fall I jumped on my spare bike and thankfully it worked out well."
Fricke was presented the winner's trophy by record four-time Australian under-21 title holder Chris Holder.
Holder joked he was a little nervous that his record might be equalled or beaten by Fricke who has two years left in under 21s.
“Chris (Holder) has obviously had a really successful career and to be anything close to that would be unreal,” Fricke said.
“Three in a row is a big achievement of myself or anyone.
“It’s a tough final every year. It gets hard and harder, but it’s what you want.”
The title capped off a huge month for Fricke who signed an Elite League contract with Bellvue in Britain, which should include commitments in Poland and other major leagues.
“I’m riding with Bellvue in the Elite League which is a big step for me,” Fricke, who was part of the all conquering Edinburgh Monarchs in the Premier League last season.
“I’m really looking forward to it. It’s going to be a busy year.”
Pickering flew the flag for the Hunter in Etheridge’s absence completing a fantastic first season on the speedway bike by finishing fifth overall with 11 points from the heats, including two wins.
“People tell me I should be pleased with my first season, but I’m competitive and always want to do better,” Pickering said.
“Every time I get on a bike in a race I want to win and I was disappointed I didn’t make the A-final,”