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Maiden Win For Riley Graham

2018 Winner Riley Graham

The sound of a different horsepower echoed through the grounds of The Kapunda Harness Racing Club Complex on the weekend of July 14-15, when 132 competitors lined up for the start of the 2018 24 Hour Trial on Saturday. With very little rain leading up to this years event, it was a very dry affair, that even a downpour on the Wednesday prior barely touched the surface. Riders and passengers faced 4 laps of an approximate 200 kilometre course through properties that were desperately crying out for rain. This years course covered areas to the southwest of Kapunda, the Allendale area, St Kitts & Dutton and Truro East, and utilising the local service stations of Truro and Kapunda.

The 2017 runner-up, Riley Graham, took a maiden win from last year’s winner, Todd Barry. Todd would have made 24 Hour history had he been successful with a 5th consecutive win, thereby equalling the records of Peter Milsteed and Shane Diener. But it wasn’t to be, with Riley proving he had the grit and determination to better the 2017 result.

Riley definitely had the bit between his teeth, and nothing short of a DNF was going to deny him the title this year, as he led all 4 laps to come home the 2018 Champion by a comfortable 456 points, with Todd finishing in 2nd position. Such was the pace of these two riders, with the effort they both put in, that their lap scores for the 3rd lap, traditionally the worst of the night laps for riders – in relation to the course, the time of the morning, the cold and fatigue – was faster than their lap 2 scores.

As much as seeing history made is a great thing, all congratulations must go to Riley for breaking through for his maiden win after what was a superb ride through the night in the very dry conditions, where sometimes the dust was worse than fog.

Rounding out the podium was former 2-time winner, Sean Throup, making a return to the event after time off and showing he had lost none of his speed. He was followed home by Rowan Pumpa in 4th and Brett Haydon in 5th.

While the Expert riders dominated the top 10, congratulations need to go to Jamie Banks, who was the leading Clubman rider home, finishing in an excellent 9th position outright, with Connor Buckby and Jesse Roesler, the next best Clubman riders in 12th & 17th positions respectively.

A mention must be made of the efforts of Anthony ‘Ant’ Diener, who, riding his brother Shane’s 24 Hour winning bike from 20 years ago, slowly lost gears through the night, and from all reports, Ant rode just over a lap with only 5th gear. He finished in 16th outright, an impressive effort in the circumstances.

Also worth a mention was the 23rd position outright recorded by Cameron Donald, who had never seen, let alone ridden a reliability trial before, especially when you consider that he is more used to racing on bitumen, in daylight, around the Isle of Man. Also crossing disciplines for the weekend and getting a maiden finish in his first ever reliability trial, was Grant Stephen from the AJS Trials Club, cruising his XR Honda through the night, a change from rock-hopping on his Gas-Gas trials bike.

On the old bikes, where just pushing them through the bulldust would have been tough going, 2 riders in the class managed to cross the finish line, Sean Heidenreich, a maiden finish, and Adam Toolan.


2018 Winners, Mark Launer & Tyson Rorhlach

Since the 36 Hour Trial was first held in 1951, it is recorded that only 2 sidecar riders and 1 passenger have won this event more than 3 times, these being riders, David Manuel (8) and Ron Ophel (6), and passenger, Tony Tscharke (7) – 2018 saw a new rider and passenger added to this most exclusive list with Mark Launer & Tyson Rohrlach recording win number 4 as a team!

The 2010, 2014 & 2016 Champions had the bit between their teeth from the start, using their #2 position to full advantage by chasing the 2017 runners-up, Hector Evans & Shaun Buckley, who carried the #1 plate. Such was their determination to take the win that they led the sidecars on all 4 laps.

With Launer & Rohrlach creating history, it meant a 2nd place, for the second year running, for the team of Evans & Buckley. It is likely that the 2-time winning rider (Evans) will be back in 2019, even more determined to notch up that 3rd win. Third place on the podium was filled by Shaun Blenkiron & Nathan Saegenschnitter, with ‘Blenks’ already making his 2019 goals known, having now finished 2nd and 3rd with ‘McGuyver’ in the all-nighter!

Fourth place went to the rookie team of Dan Plowman & Shane Judd, as the event went on the expert solo boys found their feet on the Brad Hunter owned machine, finishing in front of 2-time winning rider, Darren Winter, with Lachlan Greenhalgh on-board, it was, perhaps the rookie ride of the event in 2018!

Becoming just the 2nd person after Neil Russack to record a 40th start, two-time winner, ‘Fast’ Freddy Weckert, with Damien Nash in the chair, lined up under the start banner, 24 hours later and for over the 30th time, Fred notched up a finish, and the smile across his dust covered face was there for all to see.

Sixth place went to the team of Colin Simpson & Sam Weichert, a second and third generation sidecar team, with Colin the son of Roger Simpson and Sam the grandson of 5-time winner, Dennis Weichert. It was during the 1970 & 80’s that Dennis & Roger competed as a sidecar team, but back then it was a Weichert riding and a Simpson as passenger.

In the lead up to this years event, the spotlight was shone on ‘Women in Motorcycling’ and, in particular, the 9 ladies that were going to start this years event. Seven of the 9 rode into the Kapunda Harness Racing Club Complex on Sunday, to record a well-deserved finish, and if not for a broken chain and a dead mousse, it could well have been 9 from 9!

Congratulations go to Kristy Schultz & Ayla Plowman (9th), and passengers – Lisi Phillips, (10th), Barb Greenhalgh (11th), Caroline Wilksch (12th), Melissa Rogers, (13th) and the visiting Victorian, Melissa Foot, (15th), who with hubby Justin, finished their first attempt at the 24 Hour.

The 24 Hour Committee would like to thank all who contributed to the successful running of this years event, especially the landowners for allowing us the use of their properties and the Light Council and community of Kapunda for their continued support.