RIDER ROUND-UP: CHRIS HOLDER
SGP Rider Round-up catches up with all the FIM Speedway Grand Prix stars to find out what they’ve been up to during the off-season. Today, we feature Aussie icon Chris Holder.
The QBE Insurance Australian SGP at Melbourne’s Etihad Stadium might be the nation’s biggest track-racing event. But solo bikes aren’t the only popular speedway machines Down Under.
"I had never ridden a sidecar before, but it was a blast. It was good fun."
- Chris Holder
Sidecar speedway is huge, as fans flock to events where riders manhandle 1,000cc machines clockwise around a normal shale track with no brakes, with one of their mates coming along for the ride, hanging off the machine with their face just inches from the track.
That takes real trust – the kind of trust you get between brothers. So it was only fitting that 2012 world champion Chris Holder teamed up with his younger sibling Jack when he was invited to make his sidecar debut at Kurri Kurri on February 9.
“The sidecar thing was pretty last-minute,” Chris said. “Kurri Kurri were having a big meeting for Gary Treloar, he’s pretty legendary in the sidecar world in Australia.
“His son Darren has probably been our best sidecar rider for the last 10 years or more, and he rang us up and said he was putting a meeting on for his old man.
“He asked if we wanted to come up and have a ride. I thought he wanted me to bring my bike up and do a couple of laps, but he said ‘no, on my sidecar.’ I said ‘right oh’ and he said ‘bring your brother; he can swing.’
“I had never ridden a sidecar before, but it was a blast. It was good fun. We didn’t get too many laps, but we had a blast around mid-meeting.”
The Holder siblings safely negotiated their sidecar debut, with Chris arguably enjoying the less risky role as QBE Insurance Australian SGP track reserve Jack clung on for dear life. “I had no idea what I was doing, so I don’t know what he was thinking!” laughed Chris.
“It worked out sweet. It was something different and something pretty cool. I want to have another crack at it, but I wouldn’t mind a practice day – not just being thrown on the bike in the middle of a meeting.”
It seems the pair may have found a new sideline for when they jet home after the European season, and sidecar racing is big business Down Under.
“It would be on a par, if not bigger than the speedway,” Chris admitted. “They run a lot of big meetings for those guys. Gillman is probably the best track for them. They have a big meeting this weekend with $8,000 AUD for the winner.
“They always have a couple of big ones. They have the Oceania Championship and even the World Trophy. We have plenty of Aussie boys on the sidecars and it’s always good fun.”
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