Such has been the bad luck that has plagued Tyler Courtney’s Western Springs career, he would be entitled to think he was cursed. Courtney has raced four international series meetings away from the Springs, reaching the podium on all four occasions and winning twice. Yet he had recorded just a single podium at the Springs despite running well on several occasions. Courtney was overdue for some illusive Springs luck. Last night luck finally came his way.
For much of the 48th running of the World 30-lap Midget derby it appeared Michael Pickens was on course for his 3rd straight series win. Pickens led away from the green, gapping Americans Zeb Wise and Courtney on a race track in near perfect condition. An exciting slide job battle unfolded between the two Americans with Wise able to resist the initial advance of Courtney. However, Courtney regrouped and made a successful move for second on lap 18.
There was plenty of action back in the pack, semi-main transfers Logan Seavey and Jeremy Webb making forward runs. Unfortunately for Seavey he would be the first retirement on lap 20 having advanced 10 positions from grid 19. Cautions were activated for the first time on lap 22, Wise parked high in turn four. From the ensuing restart Courtney launched a slide job for the lead only to have it called back due to a melee back in the pack. Pickens changed tactics for the second restart, employing defensive sliders at each end of the track to limit Courtney’s attacking options.
The tactic appeared to work as Pickens re-established a lead but, like Kyle Larson and Christopher Bell on Boxing Night, the turn two exit would be his demise. Pickens clipping the wall and launching into a spectacular barrel roll. Hayden Williams, who had run a strong 5th for much of the race, barely touched the flipping Pickens but would join a growing casualty list on the infield. The lead group suddenly had a new look to it. It would be perennial contender Zach Daum who emerged as the competition to Courtney.
Daum led the 24th circuit but couldn’t hold off the irrepressible Courtney, who by race end was almost a lone ranger on the top of the track, the rest of the field reverting to the pole. The man known as sunshine going on to take the win ahead of Daum and Australian Kaidon Browne. Jeremy Webb was the first kiwi home in fourth from grid 18 with fellow row nine started Hayden Guptill rounding out the top five.
Earlier in the night Pickens got the better of Jamie Larsen to win the Sprintcar feature. At one stage the two fliers were a legitimate chance of lapping the field, only for a late caution to save some blushes. James Dahm made a beautiful inside move on the restart and was able to hold off Larsen for second, neither able to mount a serious challenge to Pickens late in the race. Mitch Osborne continued his domination of the F2 Midget class, easing away while Kenny Roberts lit up the race via a multi-lap high line crusade to eventually get the better of Leyton Kendall and Corbin Anderson for the minors.
An early race clash robbed fans of a final chance to see national champion Jeremy Webb in the last shakedown before the TQ national title on January 3rd. However, the remaining combatants made up for the loss with the most entertaining TQ feature to date. Peter Hunnibell made a run through the field from grid 9, wrestling his car around the top of the track. Others followed in a multi-lane race. Nobody could match Ryan Baker who enters the national title in the hottest of form.
Emerson Vincent took out an epic 22-car quarter midget field which ran 3 all-in qualifying heats and a feature.
Heat One – Brock Maskovich, Max Guilford, Kaidon Brown, Zeb Wise, Matthew McCutcheon
Heat Two – Jayden Dodge, Tyler Courtney, Aaron Hodgson, Chris Windom, Hayden Guptill
Heat Three – Zeb Wise, Michael Pickens, Brett Morris Jnr, Peter Hunnibell, Brock Maskovich
Heat Four – Hayden Williams, Matthew McCutcheon, Jayden Worthington, David Pellow, Hamish Dobbyn
Heat Five – Michael Pickens, Jeremy Webb, Tyler Courtney, Zach Daum, Nathan Howard
Semi-Main – Hayden Guptill, Jeremy Webb, Logan Seavey, Chris Windom, James Earl
Feature – Tyler Courtney, Zach Daum, Kaidon Brown, Jeremy Webb, Hayden Guptill
Heat One – Craig Dollansky, James Dahm, Jamie Larsen, Dean Cooper, Matthew Leversedge
Heat Two – Jamie Larsen, Michael Pickens, Keaton Dahm, Dion Kendall, Rob Vazey
Heat Three – Matthew Leversedge, Michael Pickens, Dean Brindle, Keaton Dahm, Chris Kernohan
Feature – Michael Pickens, James Dahm, Jamie Larsen, Keaton Dahm, Dean Brindle
Heat One- Leyton Kendall, Adam Davis, Corbin Anderson, Brad McCutcheon, Mitch Osborne
Heat Two – Mitch Osborne, Kenny Roberts, Jordan McDonnell, Brad Robertson, Leyton Kendall
Heat Three – Daryl Webster, Steven Jeffries, Corbin Anderson, Mike Driver, Jordan McDonnell
Feature – Mitch Osborne, Kenny Roberts, Leyton Kendall, Corbin Anderson, Daryl Webster
Heat One – Aaron Humble, Ryan Baker, Cole Morrison, Jeremy Webb, Danny Keene
Heat Two – Morgan McHugh, Kyle Glover, Ben Morrison, Harrison Martens, Scott Baker
Heat Three – Kaleb Currie, Liam McCoubrey, Jeremy Webb, Peter Hunnibell, Josh Melrose
Heat Four – Ryan Baker, Ryan Barry, Scott Baker, Mike Harrison, Cole Morrison
Feature – Ryan Baker, Peter Hunnibell, Kaleb Currie, Ryan Barry, Cole Morrison