Author : Jason Crowe – SSA Media
Hayden Norman has tonight pulled off one of the most miraculous State Title victories you will ever see as he raced his way from position twenty in a borrowed car to claim the WA Street Stock Title.
Norman did significant damage to the engine of his #6 machine in his final heat despite finishing in third place, putting him out of position five for the feature event. This would lead to Norman being offered the #35 machine for the feature race, normally driven by Craig Clayton, but being forced to start from position twenty in the feature field.
Despite a DNF in his final heat, overnight points leader and Carnarvon local Jace Kempton would still garner enough points to start the feature on pole position alongside surprise package Paul Bowman.
Row two would be filled by twenty nine year veteran of the WA Title Wayne Thomson and former two time national champion Mick Hamon while the third row, courtesy of Normans demise, would be filled by Dave Padmore and Jack Barnewall who dropped a few places in the standings after a disqualification in his final heat.
The first attempt at a start looked the goods until a number of cars came together in turn three, Paul Briggs and Peter Herbert both coming to a stop in different parts of the track. Herbert was unable to restart with steering issues, while Ethan Genev also headed infield under the yellows lights, leaving eighteen cars for the restart.
Kempton lead Bowman and Hamon on the next start and this time it got going, with Barnewall moving into fourth and Briggs coming through the field early from eighth to fifth. Barnewall then passed Hamon for third on lap two while Briggs grabbed fourth from Hamon two laps later. As this happened, Norman had already moved into fourteenth.
Barnewall then applied the blowtorch to Bowman and grabbed second on lap eight from him, while a lap later Briggs would slow and head infield, ending his title tilt. Barnewall then closed on Kempton and made a pass for the lead on lap fourteen with lapped traffic playing its part, but behind them Norman was still making progress and moved into the top ten.
Kempton would follow Barnewall for a number of laps before making a move on lap twenty which unfortunately for him did not pay off, Barnewall maintaining the lead. Just after this the first yellow light of the race came out as Carnarvon local Wade Mason spun in turn four, setting up a restart with fifteen remaining, Barnewall leading away Kempton, Bowman, Hamon and Thomson.
By this stage Norman was into eighth and on the restart, as Hamon grabbed third from Bowman, Norman would move into sixth after battling with Thomson and Tim Coxall.
Unfortunately it all came undone just as B Main winner Corey Sandow also arrived on the scene, a number of cars coming together and Sandow, Norman, Coxall, Thomson and Phil Lycholit all coming together, spinning in different ways and some even hitting the wall.
This gave the remaining cars a chance to reset and with just twelve cars still on track everyone was doing all they could to gain positions. Unfortunately this saw Kempton hit the wall as they went green again, bringing the yellows out without a lap being completed and his weekend coming to a premature end.
Barnewall would lead away Hamon, Bowman, Thomson and Norman on the restart, with Hamon moving to the outside coming out of turn two and grabbing the lead with Bowman following him through past Barnewall.
Barnewall would continue to fade, with Thomson moving into third while Norman also moved into fourth on the next lap, but the move was negated as Gavin Minty lost a wheel to bring out the yellows. Unfortunately for Barnewall this would also signal the end of his race as he headed infield with a flat tyre.
This time Hamon would lead away Bowman, Thomson, Norman and Sandow on the restart with just eight cars remaining for the final twelve laps. Bowman looked for a way past Hamon as Norman used the outside line to grab third from Thomson on lap twenty five and then race to just 0.039 seconds behind Bowman in second place by the next lap.
Bowman went slightly wide coming out of four the next time around, allowing Norman through for second while Sandow passed Thomson for fourth, with Bowman then spinning himself out in turn four with seven to go but continuing on.
Hamon began smoking with just five to go as Norman piled on the pressure for the lead, Norman running outside him on lap thirty one to grab the lead while Sandow moved through into third followed by Padmore in fourth shortly after.
With two remaining Hamon baulked and allowed a number of cars through, Sandow moving into second followed by Thomson and Padmore.
From here Norman would hold strong, going on to record his maiden WA Title win in sensational fashion in a borrowed car from position twenty, defeating B Main winner Corey Sandow while Wayne Thomson claimed third. Thomson has now finished third in the title five times, the first back in 1992. David Padmore was fourth while Mick Hamon, Russell Gunn, Bowman and B Main transferee Matt Herbert, who worked frantically to repair his car just in time to actually make the race, was eighth and the final finisher.
A Main, 35 laps: 1. W55 Jace Kempton, 2. W52 Paul Bowman, 3. W15 Wayne Thomson, 4. W7 Mick Hamon, 5. W26 David Padmore, 6. W16 Jack Barnewall, 7. W72 Russell Gunn, 8. W12 Paul Briggs, 9. W199 Phil Lycholit, 10. W28 Tom Coxall, 11. W4 Ethan Genev, 12. W21 Evan Wakefield, 13. W77 Barry Mason, 14. W3 Gavin Minty, 15. W44 Peter Herbert, 16. V22 Corey Sandow, 17. W88 Wade Mason, 18. W81 Damien Amato, 19. W42 Matt Herbert, 20. W6 Hayden Norman.
1. W6 Hayden Norman, 2. V22 Corey Sandow, 3. W15 Wayne Thomson, 4. W26 David Padmore, 5. W7 Mick Hamon, 6. W72 Russell Gunn, 7. W52 Paul Bowman, 8. W42 Matt Herbert (34). DNF: W16 Jack Barnewall (23), W3 Gavin Minty (23), W77 Barry Mason (22), W55 Jace Kempton (21), W21 Evan Wakefield (21), W199 Phil Lycholit (21), W28 Tim Coxall (21), W88 Wade Mason (18), W81 Damien Amato (14), W12 Paul Briggs (8), W4 Ethan Genev (0), W44 Peter Herbert (0). Total Time: No Time. Winning Margin: 1.287. Fastest Lap: 19.586 W52 Paul Bowman.
Details courtesy of Scott Beattie