By Aiden Cale
With the beginning of the 2023 UniSA Australian HPV Super Series on the horizon, let’s take a deeper look into the first round of the series at the scenic McNamara Park for the City of Mount Gambier 8 Hour.
McNamara Park, an operating motorcycle circuit, offers 2.4km of fast straights, sweeping bends and technical banked hairpin sections, all of which favours riders with a vast skill set.
This year will see 84 trikes take to the startline at McNamara Park. A significant increase in numbers from last year’s 70 trikes that entered.
There is a certain level of unpredictability heading into the first round, as reigning National Champions, Aurora Racing, have decided to not defend their 2022 title, leaving the number 1 vacant for the 2023 series. With Aurora on the sidelines, there will be a close battle between teams for the overall victory.
Platt Racing have shown strong improvements in their race pace, claiming an overall victory in the Victorian HPV Series at the back end of 2022, and finishing on the same lap as Wattle Racing in the inaugural race of that state’s racing calendar in Casey Fields.
2019 National Champions, Wattle Racing, will also be contending for the overall victory in Mount Gambier, and they look to be the favourites on paper, as they were the only other team to claim an overall victory last year on South Australian soil, clinching the Adelaide event by an 80 second margin.
Trump Trikes Factory Racing have shown that they are aiming to achieve nothing less than to capture an overall win in 2023, after taking home the National Championship in the C6 Under 20’s category and claiming 4th overall in all but one of the races held in South Australia last season.
Peninsula Human Power, GTrikes, and Reload Racing have all been regulars at the top end of the standings in previous years, and they will be looking to claim spots within the top 5 to start their 2023 campaigns off on a high.
Although Aurora themselves will remain off the entry list, their race winning trikes will be raced by BRT [Bendigo Racing Team], and newcomers UniSA Pedal Prix Team. The former placed a respectable 10th overall in their debut outing at the 24hr Australian International Pedal Prix at Murray Bridge last season.
Team Director and Rider of the UniSA Pedal Prix Team, Darcy Strudwick, talked about the team’s expectations for their inaugural outing.
“While we would love to do well, we more want to see a successful application of University level technology and knowledge into this awesome sport. We think we have a really good starting point for it all, however starting a team from scratch isn’t easy!”
“We are in a good position for the beginning of the UniSA AHPVSS. With a FCR Velodrome experience being crucial for testing procedures and practices, we just need to iron out a few organisational challenges. However the vehicle is running incredibly fast and we are feeling very motivated!” Strudwick said.
Strudwick claimed three overall fastest laps in 2022 and is aiming to build on those achievements for the 2023 season.
“Last year was an awesome year for me, racing for Gtrikes and getting the successes that we did was really a big mental step forward. I am feeling the fittest I ever have. However just the implication of the team and completing some of our own internal objectives would feel enough for me. However, I might have to go for a few more fastest laps.”
In the C7 Open Females category, She’s The Man from Wattle Racing look to be the ones to beat based on previous form, as they took home 4 wins and were crowned National Champions last year. Fast Cats Racing will return to challenge Wattle Racing, competing in the C7 Open Females category for the first time at McNamara Park since 2019.
The City of Mount Gambier 8 Hour is the first round of the 2023 UniSA Australian HPV Super Series on Saturday, April 1 from 9am to 5pm (ACDT).