DUO EYE MELBOURNE DATE
Sam Masters and Nick Morris are both keen to stake claims for the Melbourne wild card as they launch their Australian Championship bids.
01 / 01 / 2016, 11:03
Aussie stars Sam Masters and Nick Morris are both determined to stake claims for the Melbourne wild card as they launch their Australian Championship bids on Saturday.
The title will be decided over four rounds, starting at Kurri Kurri on Saturday, before moving to Undera on Wednesday, Gillman on Friday and concluding at Mildura on Sunday, January 10.
Masters was nominated as wild card for the 2015 DON Smallgoods Australian SGP at the Etihad Stadium after finishing second to world No.5 Jason Doyle in the 2015 series.
Morris didn’t take part last season, but returns as one of the favourites after starring for his country in the Monster Energy FIM Speedway World Cup.
With championship favourite Troy Batchelor missing the series due to an arm injury and SGP stars Doyle and Chris Holder opting out this year, there will be a new name on the Aussie Championship trophy.
And while victory is no guarantee a rider will be selected for Melbourne, Morris and Masters both hope becoming national champion will put them a huge stride closer to claiming the Australian SGP wild-card race jacket on October 22.
Hopefully I can have four good rounds at this time, not just two, and then I can end up on top. If that qualifies me for Melbourne too, that’s a double bonus.
Masters said: “I was second in the Aussie Championship last year, which was great. A lot of riders ride better when they’re back home in Aussie. I don’t seem to do as well in Australia than I have in the UK in recent years.
“But last year went pretty well. It still wasn’t as good as I thought it could go, but I was getting there.
“Hopefully I can have four good rounds at this time, not just two, and then I can end up on top. If that qualifies me for Melbourne too, that’s a double bonus.
"I had a pretty good crack at the Grand Prix. Hopefully I’m there again one day. If I don’t get it this year, it’s still at the Etihad Stadium for another three years.”
Morris said: “I have no under-21 stuff anymore and I wouldn’t mind getting that Melbourne wild card! You never know. I’ll have a crack at that and it would be awesome if I could.
“I’ve been doing a bit of training in the off-season and I’m feeling better on the bike. I’ll keep doing that and hopefully I can have a good one.
“It’s not going to be easy, but I’ll give it my best go and hopefully it’ll be a fun few meetings on the road.
“I haven’t been to Undera before, but I’ve been to Gillman, Mildura and Kurri Kurri twice now. That’s not very much, but we have to ride every track in Britain. You just need to be quick and hopefully I will be.”
Morris and Masters have been seeded into the series, along with Aussie Under-21 champion Max Fricke, Justin Sedgmen, Mason Campton, Rohan Tungate, Josh Grajczonek and Ty Proctor.
The qualifying round was staged at Kurri Kurri today, which saw Brady Kurtz triumph on 12 points – tying with Jordan Stewart. Jack Holder – younger sibling of SGP star Chris – made it through on 11, along with Kieran Sproule and Brodie Waters.
Alan McDonald, Josh Pickering and Cooper Riordan bagged the final three places on eight points, while Matthew Day and Joshua McDonald both narrowly missed the cut on countback.