While rain has caused havoc for sports across the Hunter, it has proved a bonus for organisers of the East Coast Sidecar Roundup which fires into action today at Newcastle Showground.
Event organiser Jeff Garnham said overnight showers had freshened up the track and saved the track crew from bringing out the water truck for the morning.
“We are all systems go here today at Newcastle Showground, for a bit of old school speedway,” Garnham said
“So bring a cushion, sit under cover in the grandstands and come and see some quality racers work their craft.”
Some of Australia’s best sidecar outfits and a strong contingent of New Zealand teams will be taking part in the East Coast Sidecar Roundup.
The series, which started in 2015, is making it’s first visit to Newcastle and riders from Queesland, NSW, Victoria and South Australia as well as across the ditch will be taking part.
The 2018 series started in North Brisbane and will
Garnham said it was exciting to bring sidecar racing back to Newcastle Showground and was hopeful of a big crowd as there were plans for a two-night series next year with individual racing on one night and a teams event the following.
“It’s been several years since there has been racing of any sort at the Newcastle Showground so we are confident it will draw a lot of interest,” Garnham said.
“Hopefully it will bring a lot of new fans to the sport.
“We started the East Coast Sidecar Roundup as there wasn’t a lot of opportunities in the eastern states for riders to compete despite so many riders coming from this area and along the coast.
“Australia’s number one rider Darrin Treloar is from Sydney but has to do most of his racing in South Australia.”
Treloar will miss the Newcastle event as he is sidelined until December as his passenger Jesse Headland recovers from injury.
But most of the other the big guns including New Zealand star Andrew Buchanan and his Hunter passenger Denny Cox and 2017 Australian champion Trent Headland will be joined by a strong contingent of Hunter pairings who are poised to challenge for higher honours.
These include series leader Brad Pitt and Nathan McFadden from Swansea, young guns Hayden Bond and Brady Cox who will be keen to take top dog status ahead of their fathers and Australian speedway legends Grant Bond and Glen Cox.
The Bond family from Maitland and Cox family from Boolaroo have been mainstays of speedway sidecars.
The two families have been enthusiastic supporters of the Roundup along with Lake Macquarie’s Pitt and McFadden who who last year’s series.
Garnham said the support of the leading riders had been a major boost for the series, but it was just as much about providing more opportunities for local riders.
“We have had a great response from local riders and its great to be able to provide another meeting for them,” he said.
The support racing includes some of Australia’s best dirt track sidecar teams in a field which will rival the Australian championships, as well as speedway solos and dirt track 450s.
Gates open at 11am and practice and racing starts from 2pm. Tickets are available at the gate with adults $25, pensioners, concession and children under-18 $10, children under-6 are free.