Todd Wiltshire

Todd Wiltshire (born 26 September 1968 in Bankstown, New South Wales) is a retired Australian motorcycle speedway rider who competed at the highest level of the sport, finishing a career best third in the 1990 Individual Speedway World Championship at the Odsal Stadium in Bradford, England.[1] He is also a two time Australian Champion, winning in 1999 and 2001.

Todd Wiltshire
Born (1968-09-26) 26 September 1968 (age 51)
Bankstown, New South Wales
NationalityAustralia Australia
Current club information
Career statusRetired
Career history
Great Britain
1988-1989Wimbledon Dons
1990-1992Reading Racers
1998-2001, 2003, 2006Oxford Cheetahs
Poland
?Polonia Bydgoszcz
Sweden
1991Skepparna
Individual honours
1987, 1988ACT State Champion
1989Scottish Open Champion
1990, 2000, 2001NSW State Champion
1990British Speedway Rider of the Year
1990Billy Sanders Australian Open winner
1991Mr Melbourne winner
1997, 1998German Champion
1999, 2001Australian Champion
1999Intercontinental Champion
Team honours
1990British League winner
1990British League Knockout Cup winner
1991Australian Best Pairs Champion
1999Speedway World Team Cup
2001, 2002Speedway World Cup

CareerEdit

AustraliaEdit

Despite being born in Sydney, Todd Wiltshire spent most of his childhood in Newcastle. He started racing in 1979 at the Lake Macquarie Mini-Cycle Club, giving his older sister Fiona the credit for getting him started in racing saying she was his inspiration through her own involvement in dirt track racing. Wiltshire won numerous junior titles before capturing the Australian 500cc championship in his first senior year in 1986.

Seeking a new challenge Wiltshire turned to Speedway in late 1986 and won the ACT Championship in both 1987 and 1988 at the Tralee Speedway in Australia's capital city Canberra and quickly established himself as one of the most promising young riders in Australia, finishing 4th in the 1989 Australian Under-21 Championship in Mildura. He won his first major senior title in 1990 taking out the New South Wales Championship at his home track, the Newcastle Motordrome, which had become the centre of Solo racing in NSW following the closure of the Liverpool City Raceway in 1989 and with the Sydney Showground Speedway only holding one or two meetings per year. Unfortunately family commitments kept him out of the Australian Final at the Brisbane Exhibition Ground but he was seeded directly into the Commonwealth Final at the Belle Vue Stadium in Manchester, England where he finished a respectable 6th to qualify for the Intercontinental Final. Wiltshire finished 11th in Vojens in Denmark to be the only Australian and final qualifier for the World Final in Bradford.

Todd Wiltshire finished a surprise 3rd at the World Final in Bradford in 1990, winning 3 of his 5 rides and finishing only one point behind winner Per Jonsson of Sweden and Shawn Moran of the USA (Moran was later stripped of his 2nd place after it was revealed he had failed a drug test at the Overseas Final in Coventry, England. The FIM did not upgrade the standings and the official records show no second place rider). Big things were expected of him during the 1990/91 Australian season but he suffered something of a form slump. After losing his NSW crown to Craig Boyce he would only manage 5th in the Australian Championship at the 402 metres (440 yd) Arunga Park Speedway in Alice Springs, though he paired with Boyce (who won the individual title) to win the Australian Pairs Championship a night earlier.

His 1990/91 Australian season did include success in some of the bigger meetings. On 8 December he captained NSW to a win over the touring Russian team at the Motordrome, being unbeaten in his 5 rides. It was the Russians first loss on their Australian tour. He then won the Billy Sanders Australian Open at the 450 metres (490 yd) Brisbane Exhibition Ground on 28 December, defeating Leigh Adams, Sam Ermolenko and 1986 Australian Champion Troy Butler in the 4 race Final. On 23 February he became the first Australian rider to win the now defunct "Mr. Melbourne" title at the 610 metres (670 yd) long Royal Melbourne Showgrounds. A week earlier he had finished second to Australian teammate and local rider Shane Bowes in the "West End Speedway International" at the 510 metres (560 yd) Wayville Showgrounds in Adelaide. 1980 World Champion Michael Lee, making a comeback after 5 years out of the sport, finished 4th in Adelaide and 3rd in Melbourne.

Wiltshire headed back to the UK but failed to re-capture his previous seasons form and the World #3 failed to make the World Final in 1991. After finishing third in the 1992 NSW title behind winner Mick Poole and Craig Boyce at the Nepean Speedway in north west Sydney, Wiltshire was seeded to ride in the 1992 Australian Championship to be held at the 280 metres (310 yd) North Arm Speedway in Adelaide. During his first ride of the meeting (Heat 3), and after leading three-quarters of the race, he was passed on the inside of the back straight by Victoria's Jason Lyons. Going into turn 3 Wiltshire fell while attempting to re-pass Lyons on the outside and slid into the safety fence, suffering terrible back injuries and multiple fractures of the Pelvis which forced him to spend a number of days recovering in the Royal Adelaide Hospital. Thankfully his Spinal Cord was not damaged in the crash, however the injuries were bad enough that the 23-year-old Wiltshire decided to retire from racing.

After making a comeback to racing in Germany during 1997, Wiltshire won his first Australian Solo Championship in 1999 at the Olympic Park Speedway in Mildura. He then went on to win the NSW Championship in 2000 and 2001 before winning his second Australian title at the Riverview Speedway in Murray Bridge in 2001. After finishing 4th at Wayville in 2002, Wiltshire returned to the podium in 2003, finishing second to Leigh Adams in Gosford. He would finish 3rd in 2004 (the first year the Australian Championship was run as a series rather than in the traditional single meeting format), before finishing second again in 2006 (again to Leigh Adams). Following his second placing in 2006, Wiltshire announced his retirement from racing.[2]

In 2011, the Kurri Kurri Speedway club at the Loxford Park Speedway decided to honour Wiltshire as one of the Hunter Region's former Solo riders by incorporating the Todd Wiltshire Cup for junior solos. The inaugural meeting was won by NSW rider Jack Holder who scored a perfect 15-point maximum. Brady Kurtz from Cowra and Max Fricke from Victoria rounded out the podium places with Wiltshire himself on hand to award the winners trophy's.[3]

EnglandEdit

Starting in 1988, Todd Wiltshire rode for the Wimbledon Dons in the National League, helping the Dons to finish runners-up in the Knock-Out Cup in 1988 and second in the league in 1989. Wiltshire also won the Scottish Open Championship in 1989.

Wiltshire moved up to the first division in 1990 with Reading Racers where he was voted British speedway rider of the year after finishing third in the World Final at Bradford. While with Reading where he was teammate to Per Jonsson, Wiltshire would win both the British League and British League Knockout Cup in 1990.

He had three spells with the Oxford Cheetahs from 1998-2001 where he was part of the Elite League title winning team in 2001. After not racing for Oxford in the 2002 season, due to a rule capping the number of Grand Prix riders in Elite League teams, he returned to the team in 2003 and he also made a short-lived but successful comeback in 2006 for the Cheetahs before retiring for the last time.

GermanyEdit

Following his crash at the 1992 Australian Championships which had forced his retirement, Todd Wiltshire made a comeback in 1997, riding in Germany in a bid to gain a place in the Speedway Grand Prix after being denied a licence to race in the United Kingdom. Though he won the German Individual Championship in both 1997 and 1998, he failed to qualify for the SGP until 2000.

InternationalEdit

Todd Wiltshire first made his mark on the international scene when he was a surprise qualifier for the 1990 Individual Speedway World Championship to be held at the Odsal Stadium in Bradford, England. Wiltshire had qualified for the final after finishing 6th in the Commonwealth Final, 2nd in the Overseas Final, and was the lucky last qualifier from the Intercontinental Final. He would surprise further by winning his first two races in the World Final before eventually finishing 3rd, only 1 point behind Reading teammate Per Jonsson who defeated Shawn Moran of the United States in a runoff after both finished on 13 points (Moran was later stripped of 2nd place after failing a drug test at the Overseas Final 3 months prior to the World Final). Despite Moran's disqualification, the FIM did not upgrade placings and Wiltshire remains in 3rd place in the record books with no second place medal awarded.

Wiltshire followed up his 3rd placing in the Individual Final with 2nd in the 1990 Speedway World Pairs Championship at the Ellermühle Stadium in Landshut, Germany, paired with fellow Aussie Leigh Adams. Wiltshire and Adams finished 2 points behind defending champions Jan O. Pedersen and Hans Nielsen of Denmark. With 25 points, Wiltshire was the meetings top scorer with 3 wins, a second and two third placings from his six rides.

Following his win in the Australian Championship in 1999, Wiltshire was given a birth in the Overseas Final. He finished 4th to easily qualify for the Intercontinental Final. He won the 1999 IC Final which gave him an automatic berth in the 2000 Speedway Grand Prix. He would ride in the SGP from 2000 until 2003 though he never managed to achieve higher than second place in a Grand Prix event.

Wiltshire was also part of the Australian team which won the 1999 Speedway World Team Cup, the first time since 1976 that Australia had won the title, as well as representing Australia in numerous test matches around the world. He repeated the success in both 2001 and 2002 (the Speedway World Team Cup was replaced after 2000 with the Speedway World Cup).

World Final AppearancesEdit

Individual World ChampionshipEdit

World Pairs ChampionshipEdit

World Team CupEdit

World CupEdit

Speedway Grand Prix resultsEdit

Year Position Points Best Finish Notes
2000 8th 63 3rd Third in Swedish Grand Prix
2001 8th 56 6th
2002 15th 63 2nd Second in British Grand Prix
2003 19th 30 14th

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Bamford, R. & Shailes, G. (2002). A History of the World Speedway Championship. Stroud: Tempus Publishing. ISBN 0-7524-2402-5
  2. ^ The Australian Solo Championship
  3. ^ http://www.nswsra.com/

External linksEdit