Monday, July 15, 2024
Oxford Speedway

NEWS: Rohan Tungate is Australian Champion

OXFORD SPIRES star Rohan Tungate won the Australian Championship in dramatic style on Saturday.

Tungate was the first Oxford rider to win the title for 22 years since Leigh Adams. He became the fifth rider to win the Australian Championship in a year that they rode for Oxford, following in the prestigious footsteps of Troy Butler (1986), Craig Boyce (1991), Todd Wiltshire (1999 and 2001) and Adams (2002).

33-year-old Tungate – previously the 2018 champion – went into the fifth and final round at Gillman trailing series leader Max Fricke by five points.

The two rivals clashed in Heat 2, which saw an exclusion for Fricke, after he fell as Tungate moved through.

At the halfway stage, Tungate had scored a maximum of nine points and Fricke just two, to place Tungate in the overall lead by two points.

But Leicester rider Fricke rallied and qualified for the semi-finals after winning his last two qualifying rides, while Tungate dropped his first points with a third place in Heat 18. It meant the two riders both went into the semi-finals on 67 points.

Both riders were involved in the first semi-final and it proved crucial. Tungate won the race, while Fricke trailed in last behind brothers Jack and Chris Holder.

It meant Tungate just had to finish the final to take his second title – which he did, finishing second as Belle Vue’s Brady Kurtz took his second successive meeting victory.

Tungate said on his Facebook page: “I’m so happy! I don’t have many words right now. Thank you very much to everyone for their support. [It was a] tough series, but we got there in the end.”

Jaimon Lidsey, also of Belle Vue, was third on the night ahead of Jack Holder, but Sheffield’s Grand Prix rider turned the tables in a run-off for third place overall.

Tungate, Fricke, Holder and Lidsey have all secured places in the Grand Prix qualifying rounds this summer due to their places in the top four.

Meanwhile, Oxford Cheetahs’ No 1 Sam Masters – the 2017 Australian Champion – finished joint eighth in the series on 41 points, one point behind former World Champion Chris Holder.

FINAL STANDINGS: 1 Rohan Tungate 70, 2 Max Fricke 67, 3 Jack Holder 61+3, 4 Jaimon Lidsey 61+2, 5 Brady Kurtz 57, 6 Ben Cook 42, 7 Chris Holder 42, 8= Sam Masters 41, 8= Josh Pickering 41, 10 Ryan Douglas 40, 11 Zach Cook 28, 12 Keynan Rew 22, 13 James Pearson 18, 14 Michael West 14, 15 Fraser Bowes 11, 16 Justin Sedgmen 9, 17 Tate Zischke 5, 18 Jye Etheridge 4, 19 Jack Morrison 3, 20 Jake Turner 1.

HEAT SCORES IN FIFTH ROUND AT GILMAN: 1 Rohan Tungate 13, 2 Brady Kurtz 13, 3 Jack Holder 12, 4 Jaimon Lidsey 11, 5 Chris Holder 11, 6 Ben Cook 10, 7 Max Fricke 8, 8 Sam Masters 7, 9 Josh Pickering 7, 10 Michael West 7, 11 Keynan Rew 5, 12 Ryan Douglas 4, 13 Zach Cook 4, 14 Fraser Bowes 3, 15 James Pearson 3, 16 Jake Turner 1, 17 Jack Morrison 0, 18 Dayle Wood DNR.

SEMI-FINAL 1: Tungate, J Holder, C Holder, Fricke.

SEMI-FINAL 2: Lidsey, Kurtz, B Cook, Masters.

FINAL: Kurtz, Tungate, Lidsey, J Holder.

RUN-OFF FOR THIRD PLACE: J Holder, Lidsey.

PHOTO: Dave Payne