Father and son slip-slide away
A rain-marred championship is cut short, writes Stuart Innes
AUSTRALIAN father and son Mick and Jesse Headland have won the World Speedway Sidecar Championship in a controversial, rain-marred event in England.
The only crew in the 16-outfit field not from Britain, the pair from South Australia’s Murray Bridge won all three of their heats before the event was abandoned because of the rain.
Weather made a muddy mess of the Brandon speedway track in Coventry, but officials persisted with track preparation and the FIM-run event started, just as rain came again.
The three-wheeled outfits were spinning out of control or sliding into the fence.
Early standouts were English star Mark Cossar (passenger Andi Wilson) and the Headlands, making their clash in heat six vital for the world title.
Cossar took the lead but was passed by Headland. On the fourth and final lap the biggest cheer of the night went up when the English rider slid along the inside of Headland, who had spun his outfit.
But the referee had already put on the red light because of another incident on the track and called for a re-run in which Headland romped away.
After all riders had contested three of their scheduled five heats, the meeting was called off and results declared when more heavy rain hit, putting the track out of use.
Many observers said they thought the event should have been postponed. Even Headland, 43, did not consider it ‘‘a total victory’’, though he was pleased to retain the world title he won with passenger Paul Waters in France last year.
Winners are grinners: Australians Jesse and Mick Headland celebrate their victory. Picture: Chris Horne