In the old terminology American Tyler Thomas won by half a car length and in the latest transponder technology he won by .075 of a second, it doesn’t matter how you look at it Thomas defeated fellow American Darren Hagen in a dramatic finish at Murray Bridge. In what was a fitting A-main event to celebrate the life of former Speedcar racer Tim Crouch, Thomas etched his name onto the Tim Crouch Memorial Trophy in what was one of the best ever Speedcar races witnessed in South Australia.
The Tim Crouch Memorial also doubled as the final round of the inaugural Pro Speedcar Week with third place finisher Nathan Smee wrapping up the series Championship on the back of his round 4 victory the night prior at the Westline Speedway at Whyalla.
After qualifying second for the Strathfield Motors 7 lap dash Smee went on to win the dash in a new Track Record time of 1:40.1 to secure the pole position for the 30 lap final. After starting from position six Thomas moved up to finish second to lock in a front row starting spot, ahead of Austin Brown, Todd Waddell, Hagen, Kaiden Manders and Domain Ramsay.
With Thomas starting on the outside of the front row the decision must have been made to run the top of the race track as he lapped the 360 metre Murray Machining and Sheds Murray Bridge Speedway just inches from the wall as the rest of his rivals utilised the bottom groove. This made for a spectacular race as once Hagen got to second the two Americans ran wheel to wheel for a majority of the race.
As the laps began to wind down it appeared that the bottom would win out but it wasn’t the case. Coming off the final turn Hagen actually got the better run on the bottom but Thomas wouldn’t be denied as he turned down to block the Hagen’s run to the chequered flag. As the two American’s crossed the line the crowd were on their feet in recognition of the great show they had just witnessed.
“It was a win it or wear it move that was for sure. It got a bit rough on the top but I was committed and Hagen was good on the bottom. We had a great race; it was a lot of fun. We had a tough week but we finished it off pretty strong” commented Thomas after the race.
Yet another American Austin Brown managed to secure the fourth place, with Michael Stewart, Manders, Troy Ware, Nick Rowe, Ramsay and Ben Hall rounding out the top 10.
On the podium Darren Hagen was all class as he presented his signed runner-up trophy to Tim Crouch’s Son Cody as a souvenir of what was a great race to honour his Father.
Prior to the A-main during the four wide salute there was also another great gesture as Clerk of Course Lindsay Burns held up the red, white and blue flags as a mark of respect for those lost in the Paris attack.
Prior to the Speedcar event another high class was witnessed as Western Australian Thomas Davies won the Formula 500 King of the Bridge after starting from position eight. In what was an interstate domination the next seven places all went to interstate competitors. Second place went to Victorian James Aranyosi with fellow Victorian Jack Bell completing the podium. Western Australian Adrian Haywood was next with Mathew Symons, Shane Van Duynhoven, Chris Bellman and Ash Sinclair completing the interstate shutout. The first local home was Patrick Merritt in ninth with Scotcher Race Fuels and Oils dash winner Marcus Kelly, from Tasmania, completing the top 10.
Mildura’s Daniel Drewett was victorious in the Street Stocks feature with Greg Bell winning the V6 Sprints.
The next event at the Murray Machining & Sheds Murray Bridge Speedway will be this Saturday night (November 21) with round 3 of the 360ci Sprintcar Allstars Series along with the MJS Street Stock Series.
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