Todd Wiltshire

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Todd Wiltshire
Personal information
Nationality Australia Australia
Date of birth (1968-09-26) 26 September 1968 (age 46)
Place of birth    Bankstown, New South Wales
Current club information
Career status Retired
Career history
Great Britain
Wimbledon Dons
Reading Racers
Oxford Cheetahs
Poland
Polonia Bydgoszcz

1988-1989
1990-1992
2006
Individual honours
ACT State Champion
Scottish Open Champion
NSW State Champion
British Speedway Rider of the Year
Mr Melbourne winner
German Champion
Australian Champion
Intercontinental Champion
1987, 1988
1989
1990, 2000, 2001
1990
1991
1997, 1998
1999, 2001
1999
Team honours
British League winner
British League Knockout Cup winner
Australian Best Pairs Champion
Speedway World Team Cup
Speedway World Cup
1990
1990
1991
1999
2001, 2002

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.

Career[edit]

Australia[edit]

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. 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 Speedway 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.

He did end the 90/91 Australian season on a bright note, becoming the first Australian rider to win the now defunct "Mr. Melbourne" title at the 610 metres (670 yd) long Royal Melbourne Showgrounds, and finishing second to 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 3rd in Adelaide.

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. Thankfully his Spinal Cord was not damaged, 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. After finishing 4th in 2002, Wiltshire returned to the podium in 2003 finishing second. He would finish 3rd in 2004 before finishing second again in 2006, following which he announced his retirement from racing.[2]

In 2011, the Kurri Kurri Speedway club decided to honor Wiltshire as one of the Hunter Region's former Solo riders by incorporating the Todd Wiltshire Cup for junior solo riders. 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]

England[edit]

Starting in 1988, Todd Wiltshire rode for the Wimbledon Dons in the Premier League, helping the Dons to finish runners-up in the Knock-Out Cup in 1988 and second in the National 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, Wiltshire would win both the British League and British League Knockiut Cup in 1990.

Although Wiltshire retired at the end of the 2006 season, he made a short-lived but successful comeback in 2006 for the Oxford Cheetahs before retiring for the last time.

Germany[edit]

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 license 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.

International[edit]

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 Final before eventually finishing 3rd, only 1 point behind Per Jonsson of Sweden 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 1999 with the Speedway World Cup).

World Final Appearances[edit]

Speedway World Pairs Championship[edit]

Speedway World Team Cup[edit]

Speedway World Cup[edit]

Speedway Grand Prix results[edit]

Year Position Points Best Finish Round Results
2000 8th 63 Third 16,18,7,7,3,12
2001 8th 56 Sixth 14,14,14,6,3,5
2002 15th 63 Second 11,8,20,6,1,2,7,2,2,4
2003 19th 30 Fourteenth 2,5,5,2,1,6,3,3,3

References[edit]

  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 links[edit]