Kiwi rider Andrew Buchanan and his Hunter swingman Denny Cox took out the inaugural East Coast Sidecar Roundup meeting at Newcastle Showground on Saturday.
But the stars of the meeting as far as the crowd of 1300 were concerned were Hunter duo Grant Bond and his passenger Glen Cox who turned back the clock to qualify first for the final.
Three qualifying finals were held with the winner of each progressing to the A-final to join Bond and Cox.
In a final worthy of an Australian championship, Bond and Cox finished third behind Buchanan and Cox, Glen’s son, and 2017 Australian champion Trent Headland and his passenger Shane Twiss.
Kiwi rider Bradley Sharp and Lance Jefcoate finished fourth.
Series leaders Hunter duo Brad Pitt and Nathan McFadden made the qualifying final stage but will be disappointed with not progressing to the final.
The next generation of the Bond and Cox family, Hayden and Blake also made the qualifying finals stage.
Event organiser Jeff Garnham said the showdown between the two Bond and Cox teams in the heats was one of the highlights of the meeting with fans cheering every move until Grant and Glen finally prevailed.
Garnham said he was delighted with the big crowd which had turned up despite the threat of rain.
“The rain actually worked for us in terms of track preparation as we didn’t need to put the water carts out and we were probably only held up with one race for a couple of minutes,” he said.
“The crowd was really enthusiastic and got behind all the local riders in the various categories.
“We received a great deal of support in running the meeting from local enthusiasts and hopefully this will only grow in the future.
“Hopefully next year we can deliver two nights with individual events on one night and a team event on the other.”
Gosford rider James Hinton and his Newcastle passenger Don Morris escaped any serious injury from a spectacular rollover in one of the heats.
Garnhan said Hinton was taken to hospital and kept in overnight for precautionary scans.
He said x-rays showed no broken bones but he suffered a concussion, bruised and swollen thumb and a bit of body bruising and soreness.