No walk in the park for Darcy

TWO-TIME Australian Under-21 champion Darcy Ward admits defending his title at Mildura on Saturday was far from the walk in the park the sport's pundits predicted it would be.

TWO-TIME Australian Under-21 champion Darcy Ward admits defending his title at Mildura on Saturday was far from the walk in the park the sport's pundits predicted it would be.

The 17-year-old retained his national crown with a stunning victory over Birmingham reserve Justin Sedgmen, Britain's Josh Auty and Somerset recruit Sam Masters in the A final.

Having lifted the World Under-21 Championship at Gorican last year, Ward was heavily fancied to blitz his way to the top of the rostrum.

But he notched 11 points from his five heats and was headed in the score chart by the promising Masters, who bagged 14, and Sedgmen, who scored 12 on his home track.


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Despite having third choice of gate in the final, Ward jetted out of trap four like a man on fire and took the chequered flag. While this result was no surprise to many supporters at Mildura, the Queenslander admits his rivals did not let him have it all his own way.

Ward said: “Everyone thinks it's just going to be easy for me but as you've just seen, it's never easy in Australia. There are some good riders in this country and it's not easy.

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“There was a bit of pressure and everyone expects a lot, given that I'm the World Under-21 champion and it was an under-21 meeting. But I just went out there, had some fun, did what I could do and once I got to the final, I was determined to go out there and win it.”

Ward did suffer one worrying moment when he smashed into the safety fence after hitting a rut while leading heat eight. The Torun rider escaped injury after landing hard on his back. But he was far from happy with the state of the circuit at Mildura.

He said: “It was a tough meeting because the track was terrible in the first two rounds (of heats). It was just the normal Mildura - what it used to be. They fixed it and it got better.

“But I had a bit of a crash in the second round of races and hurt my back. The track was so rough and I just lost it really. I hit a bit of a rut, did a wheelie through the corner and bounced off the fence.

“I'm a bit sore but it's nothing to worry about and I'll be alright. Everyone has crashes - it didn't really bother me, to be honest.”

Speedwaygp.com

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