Australian Speedway Champion, Jason Doyle showed the world what he is made of at the QBE Insurance Australian FIM Speedway Grand Prix staged the 2017 Championship finale.
The iconic sporting venue that has temporarily been transformed into a unique, long, fast and flowing speedway track, provided the perfect stage for Australia’s stars Sam Masters, Davey Watt, Justin Sedgmen, Rohan Tungate, Brady Kurtz and Chris Holder to shine and Jason Doyle to bring home the 2017 FIM Speedway GP win after claiming successful heat wins. Doyle came in to the night needing to clear eight points to best his Polish rival Patryk Dudek. And best him he did.
A parade of Australian Speedway legends kick-started proceedings at 6:30pm evening, before spectators were treated to the Australian national anthem. Then it was the roar of bike engines that fired up the crowds, with racing all set to get underway.
The night started off right, with Kurtz winning the opening heat race. With anticipation building, thousands and thousands of fans only had to wait until heat four to see the Australian favourite, Doyle on track. Despite not getting the ultimate jump off the line he would have liked, he wowed the crowds with a clean win and set the stage for a huge night of racing.
It was a great night for Australian speedway, with Rohan Tungate getting two chances to race as a reserve rider and on both occasions taking a race win.
With back to back heated battles left right and centre, fierce rivalries emerged early in the night. The crowd were pumped with adrenaline packed racing, with Tai Woffinden gaining the support of fans after taking a win in a late heat, crossing the line with a flat rear tyre.
All eyes were on the blue number 69 bib – fans eager to see the Aussie rise to the occasion in each of his heats and represent his country in the final, Australian fans erupted showing their support for Doyle who prematurely took the win on home soil for the focused Newcastle boy.
It was the final heat got underway, that provided the real treat of the night, with Bartosz Zmarzlick, Patryk Dudek, Doyle and Woffinden all lining up for one loud, air horn blasting race.
When racing had wrapped up for the evening, crowds were treated one final time, as the 2017 FIM Speedway Grand Prix Champions were crowned, and a colourful fireworks display filled Etihad Stadium.
The 2017 Champions Doyle collected the most amount of points on the night with 19 ahead of Tai Woffinden 16pts and championship rival, Patryk Dudek on 15 pts.
“Last time I was in Melbourne in 2015 I left this place in an ambulance with a broken neck, so to win the title and the GP here tonight is something special. We have worked very hard, not just myself and but my team and family have put up with three months of hell. A lot of pressure and we have finally done it and it has all gone off.”
Photos Russell Colvin