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Kurtz wins Inaugural 350cc Australian Speedway Championship at Gosford

The inaugural U16 350cc Australian Speedway Championship was an event that had all the excitement and drama of a senior race meeting held at the Gosford Showground on Sunday, 23 March 2008. These young riders are skilful, confident, fast and fearless demonstrating what the future has to offer from the nations best Under 16s riders when these boys graduate to senior ranks. The line up consisted of Queensland riders, as far north as Cairns, Victorian, South Australian and New South Welshman. The 350 machines were circulating around the track as fast and at times faster than some 500s. Once these boys turn 16 they will move onto the powerful 500s, but judging from their level of skill shown at the Aussie titles at the tender ages of 14 and 15 they will handle the transition with ease. Once the five rounds were complete it became clearer who would be in contention for the A Final. Darcy Ward (QLD) and Tyson Nelson (QLD) had won several heats each. Other heat winners throughout the rounds were Alex Davies (NSW) and Todd Kurtz (NSW). Ward (QLD) was on fire and went through the heats unbeaten to be the top qualifier for the final, but Kurtz is always ready to fire on the business end of any big event when needed. Todd picked up the last spot for the final due to a couple of fine wins and some hard fought second places. The final with these four top riders was set to be a cracker and the young talented four didnt disappoint and had the crowd on their feet. The A Final was where it all went wrong for the Queenslanders. Alex Davies (NSW) again showed he is a fast gater and he kept his lead out of the first turn. Tyson Nelson (QLD) and Darcy Ward (QLD) followed closely by Todd Kurtz. Perhaps Ward was anxious to remain unbeaten as he rushed too fast trying to go under Nelson on lap two. They collided and fell. Ward was excluded and a re-run was ordered by the referee. This time Kurtz got the fast start followed by Nelson and Davies. The re-run also came to a stop on lap two when Nelson lost grip and slid into the fence. When the tapes went up for the 3rd time Kurtz & Davies, both New South Welshmen, approached the first corner side by side., As they closed on the first turn they bumped and Davies lost momentum. Kurtz jumped slightly in front of Davies and he held a beautiful line negotiating turn one on a slick track and never put a wheel out of place. Davies chased hard all the way. But the reigning NSW 125cc champion held on to become the first U16 350cc Australian Speedway Champion. Todd is a multiple dirt track championship winner, a 125cc speedway championship winner and can now add the 350cc speedway championship to his impressive list of titles.