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Josh sitting second in heat 4 Image Credit: NRGTV

Aussie Championships 2020: Round 2

NEWS Monday 6th January 2020, 8:10pm

by Howard Williams

What a gorgeous meeting that was, a real gem and thoroughly entertaining despite the smoke haze from all the bushfires the south east of Australia is suffering from at the moment

To set the scene, what mother nature took away from us on Saturday at Kurri Kurri it gave back today at Albury Wodonga plus interest. Instead of intolerably hot temperatures and a blazing sun there had been cool temperatures all day and light drizzle in the morning that lasted till mid afternoon.

The rain was never enough to flood the track but as far as being an aid to track preparation it was probably "Just Right" as Goldilocks would say. The result was an excellent track that the riders seemed to relish after their trials and tribulations at Kurri Kurri and there was no shortage of riders attacking the track. For entertainment value it was top notch and Motorcyling Australia must have breathed a sigh of relief that this second round went so well.

The final was a heart stopping affair with Rohan Tungate and Jaimon LIdsey trading the lead with first Lidsey going under Tungate and then Tungate returning the favour soon after and holding the lead to the end in front of the hard charging Lidsey.

Meanwhile Max Fricke was lurking immediately behind them both waiting to pounce if one of the top two slipped up. Earlier on in the race Jack Holder had been shuffled wide and lost momentum and that was his race effectively over.

Tungate had done things the hard way with his heat scores consisting of three wins, a fall while leading, and suffering a broken chain when leading and he only scraped into the semi finals by a point. He then gated poorly in his semi final and had to make a stunning pass on Chris Holder to salvage second and secure a path to the final.

LIdsey and Fricke had tied on 14 points to be leading qualifiers with Sam Masters (12), Jack Holder (11), Brady Kurtz (10), Chis Holder (10), Tungate (9), and Josh Pickering (8) as the riders to progress after the heats.

As for the Monarchs on show it was a reasonable night for both Sam Masters and Josh Pickering as both made the semi finals but with both not being able to land a blow in the semi finals to both disappointingly bow out.

Sam had dropped points to Fricke, Tungate, and Jack Holder which was no disgrace, although the heat against Tungate featured what might be termed a "forceful" move up the inside of Masters to snatch the lead and while it was legal it wouldn't have needed to be much more aggressive before it would have been considered a bit naughty.

On the plus side Masters had inflicted Lidseys only dropped point when leading from when the tapes rose to the finish with Lidsey breathing down his neck. A poor gate in the semi cost Sam dearly and he trailed home in fourth behind Lidsey, Tungate and Chris Holder.

Josh had snared the last of the positions on offer for the semi final with a workmanlike performance rather than brilliance with three second places his best effort. You sensed he was up against it when it came to the prospect of making the big final and even though he passed Brady Kurtz in his semi final third was the best he could manage so that was his night over.

Ex Monarch Max Fricke has got into a routine of churning out continuous good rides and has turned into an international quality rider. His only dropped point in the heats came when he lifted exiting turn 2 and lost momentum and Lidsey didn't need a second invitation to get past and duly relegated Max to second.

His highlight was a complete Master Class in how to pick your way through the field when he gated last and then picked off riders one by one to find himself in the lead half way though the last lap and seal what turned out to be a seemingly effortless win.

A victory in the semi final was followed by disappointment in the main final when a "four bikes and eight elbows" tight turn one saw him shuffled back to third.

As for ex Monarch Justin Sedgmen luck wasn't on his side again as he only amassed a total of four points. Contained in that was a brilliant ride to keep Jordan Stewart behind him in his last ride to pick up two points behind the heat winner Tungate, We know what Justin can do, but the most recent Sedgmen version can't seem to string a series of consistently good rides together.

The series moves on to Undera in 24 hours time with the leading half a dozen scorers being

Lidsey 19

Fricke 18

Tungate 14

Jack Holder13

Masters 12

Chris Holder 11

Every race including semi finals is scored 3,2 1,0 and all points are accumulated over the series