The Western Conference Super Gas battle was tight heading into the Riverbend Nationals – while Colin Griffin was the only racer on the points gap, he was pursued closely by Graeme Spencer, Jordan Spencer and Robert Bergamin.

Graeme Spencer got his weekend off to a strong start by taking the Top Qualifier position but was knocked out early in Sunday’s running by eventual event runner-up, Des Woolstencroft.

Ultimately, it was points leader Colin Griffin who would claim the Western Conference final win despite being knocked out in round two by Woolstencroft, with Griffin’s victory over Vasilios Hondros combined with event winner Jason Wilson’s defeat of Bergamin in round one helping to seal the deal for the Victorian. Jordan Spencer was the Western Conference runner-up.

“The season started slowly for me. I had some electrical issues and some mechanical problems in the early events, but I was lucky enough to get a couple of good results to reach the points cap leaving Mildura,” Griffin said.

“Coming into Tailem Bend, I hadn’t raced on the quarter-mile mile for two years.

“The first round was my lucky round. I should have been packing up to go home – I missed the tree bad. Bill (Vasilios Hondros) should have beaten me. I just got buy on that one.

“After the first round, I turned the delay box off. I had five numbers in. In the next round/semi-finals I went .003 red. You win some and you lose some!

“Luckily I had enough points to hold off everyone else. And it was great to see JW win the event,” Griffin added, while thanking his wife for her support.

Wilson was ecstatic to claim the event honours after defeating Bergamin in round one, Jordan Spencer in round two, and lining up against Woolstencroft in the final.

At top: Colin Griffin. Immediately above: Jason Wilson. (Both images thanks to Cackling Pipes)

“I am feeling pretty overwhelmed with this being my first Christmas Tree trophy, and a gold one at that!” grinned Wilson.

“I have been racing for close to 30 years, so to get my first Christmas Tree is pretty special and I am pretty overwhelmed.

“It is sad that my daughter couldn’t be here, she has been to every race so far, but of course, she had to miss this one!

“The weekend went really well. The car was flawless all weekend. Thank you to my wife Michelle and my daughter Grace, and also Pro Automatics, Premier Roof Coatings and Race Radiators.”

A full complement of Aeroflow National Sportsman Championship racers descended on the state-of-the-art South Australian venue for the April 5-7 event alongside Top Fuel, Top Doorslammer, Pro Stock and Pro Stock Motorcycle, putting it all on the line for the highly anticipated conclusion to the Western Conference.

For an overview of the Riverbend Nationals results for all brackets, including group one, please click here.

For a detailed rundown of how each of the sportsman brackets unfolded over the weekend, please click here.