Sam Masters is determined to shrug off the bridesmaid tag in Saturday night's Australia speedway solo title decider.
Masters finished second in the past two Australian Speedway Solo Championships, but he is determined not to make it a three-peat when he contests the final round of the national title at Kurri Kurri Speedway on Saturday.
The Newcastle star holds second place overall in the standings after he finished second in the A-final in Wednesday night’s third round at Undera Speedway, near Shepparton in Victoria.
Masters finished second to Victoria’s Justin Sedgmen in the A-final with both riders amassing an equal top score of 17 points for the round.
This leap frogged both Sedgmen and Masters over Dave Watt who had a lacklustre night in Undera.
Sedgmen now takes the overall lead in the championship with 46 points, three clear of Masters on 43 points.
World Under-21 Speedway Solo Champion Max Fricke, from Victoria, is equal third with Watt on 39.
It seems certain to be a battle of tactics in the deciding round and quite possible that the championship will not be decided until the A-final.
Sedgmen won the 2016 Jason Crump Invitation Cup at Kurri Kurri Speedway on Boxing Day purposefully choosing to accept his invitation to compete knowing that the Aussie title final round was to be held there.
But Sedgmen will be well aware that Masters is on his home track and will have the vocal support of the local supporters.
Should Sedgmen win, he will be the first Victorian since Leigh Adams in 2009 to win the championship. If Masters win he will repeat the performance of Newcastle’s Jason Doyle in 2015.
Hunter riders Rohan Tungate, Mason Campton and Josh Pickering are out of the running for the title, but on their home track are sure to be in the running for A or B finals.
Tungate was one of the favourites for the title, but his campaign was de-railed after a high-speed crash in the opening round at Gillman in South Australia.
A number of past Australian solo champions will be guests at Kurri Kurri Speedway on Saturday night and a speedway bikes and cars display has been planned
Official practice is scheduled for 4pm with the first of the 20 qualifying heats of racing scheduled for 7pm. Junior 125cc solo events will support the championship.
Points after Round 3: 1 Justin Sedgmen 46; 2 Sam Masters 43; 3 Dave Watt 39; 3 Max Fricke 39; 5 Troy Batchelor 35; 6 Nick Morris 31; 7 Brady Kurtz 25; 8 Jack Holder 23; 9 Rohan Tungate 19; 10 Ty Proctor 16; 11 Josh Pickering 15; 11 Jaimon Lidsey 15; 13 Jordan Stewart 13; 14 Mason Campton 12; 15 Todd Kurtz 11; 16 Cooper Riordan 7