Albury round of the 2023 Australian Speedway Championships

On January 7-8, Rob Smith and I went on a bike ride to Albury to watch the Albury round of the 2023 Australian Speedway Championships. We stayed at the Astor Hotel with Ken Taylor and Rob Rowe, who drove down from the  Newcastle environs.

On the Thursday prior, at the usual guys lunch at the Bathurst RSL, Rob and I agreed to take the straight route along the Olympic Highway down to Albury, so as to get there in time for Ken’s predilection for getting to the track early, and to return via the longer but more interesting Tumut and Wyangala Dam.

There is nothing much to report on the ride down:  we left the Shell garage in Stewart St, Bathurst at a tad before 8, lunched at Cootamundra, and arrived at the Astor Hotel to be greeted by Ken and Rob R. who arrived the night before. 

[Although, I have a suspicion that we left on time, because Greg ‘Not Me’ texted Rob S that I had passed him earlier in the morning. (Can’t get away with anything in a country town ?.)]

As usual Ken spoiled us rotten, providing us with meat and cheese rolls, fold up chairs and transport to the track, and wanting nothing in return. Exceptional!

By hook or by crook Rob S and I managed to repay Ken in a small way, Rob S paying for his entry, and I paying for his breakfast. [But it is was not easy! ?]

The racing that night was superb, with the current world champions (Jack Holder, Max Fricke, and Jason Doyle) on display with other world class riders including Chris Holder, Tungate, Pickering, Kurtz, et al.

Max Fricke was almost unbeatable, winning all but one of his qualifying events, and selecting the inside Red gate for the final. Jason Doyle started the final in a blistering launch from the outside Yellow gate, and held on under intense pressure to win the night. Great racing! No serious accidents, and only one false start. The track was in excellent condition, especially considering that a little over a week ago, it was under a few metres of water from the flooded Murray river. Hats off to the club’s volunteers who had the track and surrounds looking pristine.

On return to the hotel, Rob S turned in early, but Ken, Rob R and myself enjoyed a very delightful chewing of the fat while partaking in chocolate and chips washed down with delicious Monteith’s Black beer from New Zealand. I think it was about 2:30 in the morning that we finally said goodnight. Well past my usual bed time! ?

I was up ready to go just prior to 8 on the Sunday, as we had agreed the day before. But there was no sign of movement from either of the two other units. It was then that I realised that I had been played like a fool, and there was never any intention of returning via Tumut and Wyangala Dam. After having a pleasant breakfast at the Early Bird Café, we eventually hit the road just before 10.

There was not enough time to go the longer way home, and we returned the same way we travelled down, via the Olympic Highway. I think I saw some grass growing, but apart from that, the bike ride was a means to get from A to B, and not part of the journey.

At least the Saturday night was a night worthwhile.

There are photos of the trip, and maps of the trip down and back. The trips were extremely similar, averaging 92kph on the way down, and 93 on the way back. My maximum speeds were 139 and 132 respectively. Moving times were 4h 49m and 4h 48m respectively. Total durations were 6h 9m and 6h 2m respectively.