'Perfect night' for Rocky rider at Handlebar Heroes
SPEEDWAY SOLOS: Rockhampton's Zane Keleher could hear the roar of the crowd through his helmet when he raced to victory at Saturday's Handlebar Heroes Speedway Bike Spectacular.
The 26-year-old enjoyed a "perfect night” at the Rockhampton Showgrounds - he had seven rides for a 21-point maximum to claim the 500cc solos champions trophy.
Keleher reigned supreme after a ding-dong battle with current Queensland open champion Hugh Skidmore in the A final.
"What a night. I still can't really believe it,” Keleher said today.
"It was amazing to get the win. The crowd erupted into celebration straight away; I could hear it through my helmet.
"It was something special and it's probably topped everything I've done.
"I've got a perfect score before but not with that calibre of riders and not in front of a home crowd so it was the perfect night really.”
More than 2000 spectators packed into the showgrounds for the fifth edition of the spectacular.
They were treated to an action-packed program in which Rockhampton's Scott Warwick-Day defended his title in the support class, and Brodie Cohen and Hagan Campbell won the sidecars.
Keleher was second in the 500cc solos last year and was determined to go one better this year.
He started in impressive fashion, winning his five heats to be one of eight riders through to the semi-finals.
He led his semi from start to finish to go through to the A final with Skidmore, Jedd List and Joel Coyne.
Keleher said he felt pretty confident on the start line.
"I had a game plan in my head and knew what I had to do.
"But there's always a bit of doubt because the track was really good for racing - it provided heaps of different lines and you weren't really sure where the fastest part of the track was.
"Hugh Skidmore got to the front and then we battled for the first three laps back and forth, back and forth.
"I managed to get around him and I led it round for the last lap to cross the finish line first.”
Skidmore finished second and List was third.
Keleher said the competition was tough and he had to work hard in every race.
"I really had to be on top of the set-up and on top of the track and focusing on myself to make sure I was staying ahead of everyone else and not making any mistakes.
"I also had (former world champion) Jason Crump helping me out. He was pointing out some little things and helping with the fine-tuning and that definitely helped as well.
"That win was a combination of a few years of hard work and making sure everything was done right on the night.”