BARRY BUTTERWORTH MEMORIAL
A respectable crowd turned up to Vodafone Western Springs Speedway to honour one of the greatest to ever strap on a
helmet in New Zealand, Barry Butterworth. Track conditions for the 40-lap race were very good. The track took a long time
to develop through the night but once the sun went down the high line came in. The outer half of the track was reworked
through driver introductions, presenting drivers with a quality racing surface. Multiple lines were available though
the outside was perhaps the preferred line. We normally start with the guys up front on the grid but as this was a fastest
to the rear race lets start with the rear grids. 1nz Michael Pickens and 97usa Spencer Bayston were the back row. 2nz Brad Mosen
and 27a Hayden Williams were the ninth row. 5a Brock Maskovich and 3usa Alex Bright occupied row 8. There always seems
to be one driver every year who creeps further forward on the grid and that driver this year appeared to be 17aus Troy
Were on grid 4.
84a Zane Stanton led away from the pole but his time as race leader proved short lived. 17aus Troy Were quickly on his tail
and making the move into the lead. The strategies unfolded for the hotshots. 1nz Michael Pickens, 97usa Spencer Bayston, 27a
Hayden Williams, 3usa Alex Bright and 11a Shayne Alach opted to go straight to the front. 5a Brock Maskovich and 2nz Brad
Mosen appeared to opt for a more patient strategy. We had our first stoppage on lap five when 22a James Earl lost power.
Earl had been going well, making a pass around the outside for the second position before coming unstuck. The yellow
was fortunate for 1nz Michael Pickens who had jumped the cushion in Pine Tree Bend, losing many spots. However Pickens
was able to resume his previous running position as we went back to the last completed lap.
17aus Troy Were led away from the restart and was quickly joined by 10s Campbell Stewart. Out of nowhere 25a Scott Buckley
emerged from the pack and vaulted into the lead. Buckley had speed but had some difficulty keeping the car on the cushion. As
the battle for the lead heated up Pickens was charging forward. destroying the field after starting the restart from
around the 12th position. The other hot shots weren't doing so well, making up a spot here and there but unable to keep
with the 1nz. Pickens was passing cars at will and was all the way up to second place when 97usa Spencer Bayston tapped the back
of 73a Bryce McKenzie, spinning him around. Pickens was back to fourth as per the last completed lap. He didn't stay there
long, completing his run to the front of the race on lap 10. Pickens would quickly establish a lead with 10s Campbell
Stewart running in the second spot.
39a Peter Hunnibell had come through the field to the third spot. The best of the non-Pickens guys from the back
was proving to be 11a Shayne Alach though 3usa Alex Bright wasn't far behind. 5a Brock Maskovich started to get going,
advancing to mid-pack but the same couldn't be said for 2nz Brad Mosen who was stuck near the back of the field. The big surprise
was that 97usa Spencer Bayston was going nowhere, stuck around the 8th position where he was battling 71a Breyton
Davison. 10s Campbell Stewart and 39a Peter Hunnibell put on a spirited battle for second. On one occasion both entered
Pine Tree Bend way sideways wheel to wheel with less than a cigarette paper between them!
1nz Michael Pickens was into traffic and 2nz Brad Mosen was in serious danger of going a lap down. As luck would have it
87usa Jonathan Allard flipped in Town Bend and Mosen would live to fight another day on the lead lap. The caution occured
around lap 24 and would be the last of the race. From the restart 1nz Michael Pickens continued on his merry way but behind
him it was all happening. 97usa Spencer Bayston got going, utlising a lower line to execute some passing moves. 4a Taylor
Clarke was another to start making moves, showing impressive pace to get himself into the top six. 27a Hayden Williams
was another to become a factor though he struggled to make it any further than the fifth position. Back towards the
front 10s Campbell Stewart had fallen back and 39a Peter Hunnibell dropped a couple of spots to Alach and Bayston.
Pickens was once again in lapped traffic and it appeared the only thing that could stop him from victory was a lapped
car taking him out. The battle on the track appeared to be for the second spot. A resurgent 97usa Spencer Bayston closed
the gap to 11a Shayne Alach. However with around 3 laps to go the gap stabilised. Bayston had to try something different
but when he did it resulted in a horrible trip around the pole in Pine Tree Bend. Alach was safe in second place. Pickens
would take the win from Alach and Bayston. Behind them Clarke made a late pass on Hunnibell to take a very credible fourth.
Hayden Williams came home sixth from 50 lapper winner 3usa Alex Bright. 71a Breyton Davison would have been delighted
with eighth. The mid-race charge of 5a Brock Maskovich never eventuated into anything, a ninth place finish disappointing for
a driver of his calibre. 10s Campbell Stewart rounded out the top 10.