VIDEO: Qld 500cc Solo Championships return to Rockhampton
FOR Rocky motorbike speedway fans it has been a long time between drinks.
But it was worth the wait when the MEM 2015 Queensland 500cc Solo Championships returned to the Rockhampton Showgrounds speedway on Saturday after a 14-year absence.
More than 2000 spectators lined the speedway and they weren't disappointed, with high octane racing throughout the day and well into the evening.
Racing got underway at 2pm, with a series of 20 three-lap heats. Riders finishing in the top three in each heat accumulated points and at the end of the heats the top nine riders were joined by the seven seeded riders to contest the Top 16 shootout, raced over a series of four-lap races.
The seeded riders were Jake Allen, Tyson Nelson, Josh Grajczonek, Matthew Day, Damien Koppe, Kozza Smith and Josh Coyne.
Unfortunately, the nine qualifiers did not include the one local rider, Zane Keleher. The former motocross rider failed to qualify in this, his first 500cc Solo Championships.
Mason Campton from NSW came through qualifying to be crowned Queensland Champion, with Tyson Nelson from Queensland second, the 2014 Queensland Champion Josh Grajczonek in third and Tyler King from NSW fourth.
These four riders are now eligible to race in the UK next year, if they choose.
"It was full throttle racing, that's for sure," event organiser Bill Warwick-Day said.
"Riders were reaching speeds of 110 kilometres and completing the 440 metre circuit in 16 seconds.
"The racing was hotly contested because the top four riders from these Queensland Championships automatically qualify to race in the UK in 2016.
"So we had a few thrills and spills, but fortunately no serious injuries.
"It is a very safe track here."
According to Warwick-Day, Rocky has a proud tradition of hosting top class motorbike speedway events.
"In 1963 and 64 we hosted the Australian 500cc Solo Championships," Warwick-Day said.
"So we are delighted to have the Queensland Championships back in Rocky after a long drought.
"The crowd was fantastic and really supported the event.
"The track here is high speed and safe, so I know the top riders like competing here.
"Under lights for the main events, the track really hold its moisture, so it is better racing at night, which the crowd also loves, as it gives the riders better grip."