Taree's Troy Bayliss to seek dirt track title at Old Bar

Chasing his first Australian title: Troy Bayliss gets in some practice at the Old Bar Roadside Circuit earlier this month.
Chasing his first Australian title: Troy Bayliss gets in some practice at the Old Bar Roadside Circuit earlier this month.

TAREE Motor Cycle Club has received 200 entries for the Ausmulch Australian Dirt Track Championships to be held at the Old Bar Roadside Circuit on June 7 and 8.

This will be the first time the club has hosted a senior national title. More than 100 riders will be involved.

"This is going to be a big meeting,'' club president Craig Nelson said.

"The number of entries we've received is up there with the first Bayliss Classic when we didn't put any restrictions in place.''

He said 48 riders will contest the premier classes.

"It's the who's who of Australian dirt track racing,'' he said.

This includes former three-time World Superbike champion Troy Bayliss. Now based on the Gold Coast, Bayliss will be returning to the track where he started competitive racing as a schoolboy. He's a life member of Taree Motor Cycle Club.

Bayliss has never won an Australian championship and has entered three classes - the pro 450, pro open and 250cc. He recently made the trip to the Old Bar track for a practice session, accompanied by Paul Caslick, who will also be chasing a national championship next month.

However, Nelson said Bayliss won't have it all his own way.

"There will be some fast guys there,'' he said.

"I'd say there are 10 capable of winning the 450 pro open if they get a bit of luck. There's going to be some great racing.''

He said nine time Australian champion Luke Richards from Kurri will be looking to add to his trophy collection. Richards along with Jace Castles from North Brisbane have been the most successful riders at recent Australian championships. Other previous champions competing are Luke Gough and Rowen Tegart

Taree's Ian Bisley will be defending the 450cc championship he won last year while his brother, Ken, who last won a national title in 2004, will be another starter.

Australian Superbike rider Josh Hook from Taree has also entered.

There's also strong entries in the ATVs (quads), led by multiple title winner Mel Brandle from South Australia.

Practice will start on the Saturday from 10am with heats to be decided that afternoon.

"We may have to run a few heats on the Sunday morning before we start the finals,'' Nelson added.

He expects a crowd of around 2000 to pack into the track over the two days or racing.

"The first Australian championships were held in 1957 and we have a list of winners from all the major classes. We've invited all of them to come along and we'll honour them,'' Nelson added.

Club members have worked hard on the track in recent weeks and Nelson assures it will be in perfect condition for the weekend. Damage caused at the track by a storm earlier in the year has now been repaired.

"Eveything is looking good at this stage,'' Nelson said.

"All we need now is fine weather.''