Fa­ther and son slip-slide away

A rain-marred cham­pi­onship is cut short, writes Stu­art Innes

Herald Sun - Motoring - - Motorsport -

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

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