7, 2018: Coming into the
recent 2018 East Coast Thunder event, 5 x Australian Top Bike champ Chris
Matheson knew he was behind in the championship and needed to make a move in
order to keep a potential sixth title alive.
The Sydney round featured a healthy seven bikes in the pits, all of who had the potential to win. Perth’s Jay Upton, Brisbane’s Gavin Spann and nitro Harley riders Adam Layton and Chris Porter were all potential spoilers. Add the nitrous bikes of Mick Dwinger and Rod Barchett, and no wonder Matheson felt some pressure.
“I was really excited to hear we had a 7-bike field for Sydney, “said Matheson. It’s not only great for the bracket but also for the sport. I know the fans love the bikes from the amount who drop in to see my bike in the pits and say gidday.”
Matheson drove his Nitro Voodoo transporter solo to Sydney and arrived at the track early.
“I wanted to get to Sydney Dragway early just so I could unwind, relax and get into the zone before the crew arrived.”
Top Bike put on a social pre-event BBQ on Thursday night, with some 40 racers and crew turning up for a sausage sandwich and a drink.
“This was a great initiative,” said Matheson. It gave some of the teams the opportunity to have a bite to eat and socialize. It was great to see a good roll up including Sydney Dragway General Manager Peter Beaumont, Mick Dwinger, Gary and Cheyne Phillips, Adam Layton, Les Holden, Bruce Read, Jim Oberhofer, Leonard and Dianne Azzopardi, Jay Upton’s crew, Tim Neilsen from IHRA Australia and others.”
“The weather forecast was telling us to expect very hot conditions over the next few days,” said Matheson. “This would make it very tricky and challenging for everyone, but we were all in the same boat.”
Top Bike’s first qualifying session was not until after 5 pm on Friday and for most, it was a struggle to get down the track, including Matheson.
“We put a lazy tune in the bike to enable us to get off the line and then refine the tune-up for the second pass.
Matheson said that on the tow to the staging lanes he felt a severe pain to his spine and knew it wasn’t good.
“I thought I’d let the adrenalin sort it out in the burnout, but unfortunately after an early shut-off, the pain went to a new level. At the end of the track, my back went into muscle spasms and I knew then I was done and not coming back!”
“I went to check in and see a doctor on Saturday morning but unfortunately, our race was over. The bike was strong, however, it was just not to be for us in Sydney. Sorry to our fans, but we hope to be back again in Sydney in January and can only wish the outcome will be more in our favour.
“I’d also like to congratulate Gavin (Spann) on winning Top Bike and to Adam Layton with his runner-up and to all the other riders for their support and well wishes.