Last Saturday night saw Shaun Walsh taste feature-race victory at Simpson Speedway as he took out the prestigious Trevor Podger Memorial for a record seventh time throughout his illustrious Super Rod career.
A feat that has never been matched in the history of the Trevor Podger Memorial, which was introduced in the late-1970s, Walsh’s seven triumphs have proven that he is something of a master when it comes to event. However, having not emerged victorious since the 2014 running of the memorial, he was eager to reclaim the crown last Saturday night.
The opening heat race made clear that it wasn’t all going to be smooth sailing for the Lancefield, Victoria-based racer, who experienced a momentary lapse in judgement, which caused his front axle to bend, ultimately forcing him and his team to get to work on replacing it prior to his remaining two heat races.
Despite this minor setback, Walsh’s consistency couldn’t be questioned, with second, third and first-place heat-race results earning him an outside front-row starting position for the 25-lap feature race.
Making some vital last minute changes to the S # 13 Compass Powdercoating / Static Hair supported car, which is owned by Walsh’s brother Andrew Howard, while on the grid, the changes certainly paid off. Fighting for the lead with pole-sitter Tim Rankin in the early stages of the race, Walsh eventually took control of the lead on lap four and managed to hold on to it for the remainder of the non-stop distance to claim the win.
In the process, Walsh also impressively managed to break a 19-year-old 25-lap track record, which was set back in 2000.
“The Trevor Podger Memorial is considered the biggest event on the Super Rods calendar and it carries a lot of prestige, so to have been so successful in it over the years is a real honour,” commented the 40-year-old driver, who ended up running fourth in the Victorian Title, also at Simpson Speedway, just two weeks prior to the Trevor Podger Memorial.
“Speedway is anything but an individual sport. There are so many people involved in each race meeting and those are the ones who make it all possible for a driver to win races, so I have to say a big thanks to my crew and family for helping me to achieve this result.”
For his next event, Walsh will head to Portland’s Southern 500 Speedway for the Bill Campbell Memorial on March 16, followed by the Super Rod Cup at Warrnambool’s Premier Speedway on March 30 and the Col Grist Memorial at Darlington’s Mid-Western Speedway on April 13. The latter is an event that has so far eluded Walsh, so he will no doubt be hoping for no less than top honours.
Walsh would like to thank the following 2018-19 season sponsors: Compass Powdercoating, Chic Hair by Sam, Elite Maintenance & Contracting, Forsam Electrical, and Highline Racewear.
Special thanks go to Walsh’s brother and car owner Andrew Howard, his dad Chris Howard, his wife Sam Walsh, his father-in-law Rod Smith, Colin Howard, Darren Bleazby, Gary Doig and Erin Smith.