"It's not the same without Bryan Clauson". The quote of the night came from Michael Pickens as we introduced the international drivers. He couldn't have said it any better. It doesn't feel like the International Midget Series without BC. The feature for the opening night of the series ran over 30 laps on a track that was frankly awful. Yet again excessive watering of the track prior to the meeting produced a rutted, unpredictable surface that saw drivers holding on for survival. The track staff did what they could to break down the cushion multiple times during the meeting but it was to little avail. There were numerous crashes during heat racing and there will be some busy teams to get cars back on track.

1aus Michael Pickens was the polesitter with 7a Brad Mosen on the outside. 97usa Spencer Bayston and 9a Michael Brunt occupied row 2. 4a Taylor Clarke and surprise package 97a Thomas McLean were the third row. 91usa Tyler Thomas and 87aus Aidan Corish were the fourth row. Other notables included 27a Hayden Williams on grid 13 following a flip in the first test race and POWRI champion 10usa Zach Daum from grid 16. Daum spun in the second test race.

7a Brad Mosen got the jump at the drop of the green to lead away from 1aus Michael Pickens and the chasing pack. It would be a short opening stint before the first caution but Mosen looked to have excellent speed over the short period. 73n Neville Basalaj brought on the caution. Basalaj's spin the result of a chain reaction initiated by contact between 5a Brock Maskovich and 27a Hayden Williams. Mosen again got the jump from the ensuing double file restart but it didn't take long for Pickens to mount a challenge. Pickens slipped up the inside through Town Bend to take the lead. However Mosen would cut back off the high line exiting the turn and re-take the lead! Behind them Brunt was giving 97usa Spencer Bayston plenty to think about, making the move for third but relinquishing the position as the cautions came on again. 3aus Alex Bright upside down in turn two.

Another short green flag period would follow until 10usa Zach Daum flipped in turn one. There was plenty of hectic racing down the pack and combined with track conditions it was exciting for the fans. The beneficiary through the short green flag periods was 91usa Tyler Thomas who proved adept at picking up spots every time the race restarted. Finally the race went into a long green flag period and as luck would have it the race ran green all the way through to the chequered flag. Mosen led away again but this time it wasn't to last long. Pickens pounced through Town Bend and this time Mosen couldn't respond. The crowd getting vocal as their favourite son took the lead.

A little further back 91usa Tyler Thomas was unable to capitalise on his advances up the field. Thomas would steadily drop down the top ten as the kiwi locals showed the way around Western Springs. Moving forward were 27a Hayden Williams and 11a Shayne Alach. They would end up battling for the fourth position. Back to the front and Pickens was gone. The further the race went the better the 1aus looked, cruising around the high line lapping cars like they weren't even there. 97usa Spencer Bayston got a run on Mosen at one stage but jumped the cushion in Town Bend and had to gather it up, re-establishing the gap for Mosen. As the laps wound down Bayston set about closing the gap to Mosen but the speed differential between the two was minimal.

Late in the race the battle on the track was for the fourth position. Alach put an aggressive slide job on Williams through Pine Tree Bend only see Williams cut back and re-take the spot. You could have thrown a blanket over the two through the final laps. With Pickens the proverbial country mile in front it was a slightly anti-climactic finish to the race but nevertheless the crowd showed their appreciation as Pickens took the win from 7a Brad Mosen, 97usa Spencer Bayston, 27a Hayden Williams, 11a Shayne Alach, 9a Michael Brunt, 87a Leon Burgess, 5a Brock Maskovich and 91usa Tyler Thomas. What price on a series sweep for Pickens?