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BRYAN CLAUSON TRIBUTE



An emotional night unfolded at Vodafone Western Springs Speedway where we honoured the life of Bryan Clauson. Track conditions were fantastic. The track was racing very wide by Springs standards with a high line right out by the wall at both ends of the track. It wasn't the sort of track where you could fire the car into the high line, it required accuracy and finesse. Passing was going to be via slide jobs as there wasn't much down low. The grid for the race featured 39usa Bryan Clauson on pole with 27a Hayden Williams on the outside. 10usa Zach Daum and 97usa Spencer Bayston were row two. 11a Shayne Alach and 5s Brock Maskovich were the third row. 91usa Tyler Thomas and 7a Brad Mosen were row four.

If anyone else was to be a factor is the race perhaps 49aus Adam Clarke from grid 14 was the man. 1aus Michael Pickens would start from grid 18 after winning the B-Main following a DNF in his second heat. 3usa Alex Bright was starting dead last on grid 21. The knowledgeable Springs fans cheered when the 39usa driven by Shaun Insley left the track prior to the race commencing. From the drop of the green 27a Hayden Williams took the lead with 97usa Spencer Bayston in tow. Behind them it was all on as the likes of Daum and Thomas clashed with the kiwi's Mosen, Alach and Maskovich. 49aus Adam Clarke was the one to emerge from mid-pack, quickly into the 8th position or so. Meanwhile further back 1aus Michael Pickens started what would be a long charge forward.



Bayston quickly tracked down Williams and began pouring on the pressure. Bayston made the move for the lead only to jump the cushion through Town Bend which allowed Williams to come through and resume the lead spot. Further back and Pickens was into the top 10, executing slide jobs in Pine Tree Bend on 5a Brock Maskovich and 11a Shayne Alach. As good as those moves were better was to come. Pickens slid up the inside of 91usa Tyler Thomas entering Town Bend. With 10usa Zach Daum on the high line blocking the natural way around the corner, Pickens made up his own line 3/4 of the way up the track and somehow pulled level with Daum exiting Town Bend. Pickens would complete a sensational double pass down the front straight to the appreciation of the crowd.

Back up front Bayston was having a few problems with the Town Bend cushion but one he found a way around that end of the track Bayston was just that bit quicker than race leader Williams. Bayston was able to string together some laps and this time there was no denying him as he took the lead. With Bayston leading from Williams it was 7a Brad Mosen who had emerged from the pack as the best of the rest, some distance behind the leading duo. Meanwhile Pickens was up to fourth and was faced with the prospect of a long chase to win this one. Fate would intervene as a couple of laps later we had our first caution. 4a Taylor Clarke spun in Town Bend. Race on!



From the ensuing double file restart 97usa Spencer Bayston led away, pulling 1aus Michael Pickens through from 4th to 2nd. However down the pack 49aus Adam Clarke and 84a Zane Stanton were left facing the wrong way in turn one. That required the yellows and we had to restart again. This time 27a Hayden Williams got a better restart to cement the second running spot behind Bayston and ahead of Pickens. The top three would run similar lap times during this period of the race. A little further back 91usa Tyler Thomas made a charge. After seemingly falling to the back of the contenders in the running order Thomas reeled off a series of passes to move up to the 4th position. With the race in a holding pattern 11a Shayne Alach jumped the cushion, hit the Town Bend wall and rolled. It would be the third and final caution of the race and took place not far from where Clauson flipped to end his final race at Western Springs Speedway.

Under the caution it was noticeable that Pickens ran very high on the track in an effort to cool his right rear, suggesting tyre wear was a problem for the 1au. From the following restart 97usa Spencer Bayston gapped the field as the battle of the race erupted behind him. 27a Hayden Williams and 1au Michael Pickens put on a show. First Pickens tried a slide job through Town Bend but Williams was able to cut back on the exit and maintain second. Pickens had another go on the next lap, this time staying lower on the track in an effort to thwart a response from Williams. But even that wasn't enough! Pickens finally got the pass done.

By this stage the high line was becoming more precarious. A number of drivers were taking an alternate approach through Town Bend, going in high through turn three then cutting back mid corner and coming down the race track to exit. Pickens found a new line through Pine Tree Bend around 3/4 of the way up the track which was paying dividends. The chase was on with Pickens seemingly making up ground on each and every corner. With around 8 laps to go the catch was made but could the pass be made? Through Pine Tree Bend with 7 to go the two leaders approached lapped traffic. Utilising his patented line through the corner Pickens was able to box in Bayston behind a lapped car and took the lead! The crowd went crazy but they were soon hushed.

On the very next corner Pickens got bottled up behind a lapped car and Bayston executed a superb slide job up the inside of the lapped car and Pickens to re-take the lead! What a move! Unruffled Pickens would once again use his Pine Tree Bend line to slip up the inside of Bayston and in to the lead. Bayston tried to fight via a slide job in Town Bend but he couldn't get in front of the 1au. With a stellar run through Pine Tree Bend Pickens established what would be a defining gap with only a few laps remaining. Sure enough it would be 1au Michael Pickens taking the win from 97usa Spencer Bayston, 27a Hayden Williams, 91usa Tyler Thomas, 5a Brock Maskovich, 1nz Peter Hunnibell, 87a Leon Burgess, 7a Brad Mosen and 3usa Alex Bright. It was an emotional Pickens who accepted the accolades. This race clearly meant a lot to him. What a race it was.