Returning from Speedway New Zealand suspension, Michael Pickens produced a virtuoso performance in front of a bumper boxing night crowd. For Pickens, the defending boxing night midget champion, it was a 20th career international midget series win and his 65th career midget win at Western Springs. The latter mark surpassing the great Barry Butterworth.
Earlier in the evening the New Zealand team won the 3-race test series. The American trio of Kyle Larson, Chris Windom and Zach Daum were on course to take the spoils, holding a 5-point lead going into the final 4-lap race. However, Larson would dnf courtesy of a big crash whilst trying to pass his team mate Zach Daum. With Larson failing to score a point, the kiwi team of Michael Pickens, Peter Hunnibell and Max Guildford prevailed.
Hunnibell took the early lead in the feature, trading slide jobs with Pickens in the early stages. But when Pickens came again on lap 10, Hunnibell could no longer resist. Australian stand out Kaidon Brown relegated Hunnibell to third on lap 14 but Pickens had already established a sizeable lead. Whilst Guildford and Daum battled it out for 4th, Tyler Courtney, who required transfer via the B-Main, was quickly making his way through the field.
A late race caution for north island champion Aaron Hodgson changed the complexion of the race. Though Pickens was never headed for the win, it was all happening behind him as Brown, Daum, Guildford and Courtney battled it out for the minor placings on a track that developed a substantial cushion by Springs standards. A melee erupted in pine tree bend on the final circuit, resulting in a messy conclusion. When the dust settled it was a multi-national podium with Pickens winning from Daum and Brown.
Pre-meeting favourites Kyle Larson and Christopher Bell didn’t make the grid for the feature, courtesy of back straight flips in test racing and the semi-main respectively.
Pickens also took the Sprintcar spoils, heading home Jamie Larsen and Keaton Dahm. Mitch Osborne took a now familiar place atop the F2 Midget podium, joined by a resurgent Mike Driver and Corbin Anderson.
A strong out of town TQ contingent couldn’t halt the form of the locals. With the New Zealand title set to run January 3rd, the Baker boys reminded everyone of their favouritism with a 1-2 finish. Ryan leading home Scott with Cole Morrison rounding out the podium. Liam McCoubrey the best out of town car coming home in 7th.
The United Truck Parts International Midget Series heads to Tauranga’s Baypark Speedway for racing on December 28th before returning to the Springs on December 30th for the 48th running of the World Midget 30 Lap Derby
Heat One – Travis Mills, Michael Pickens, Peter Hunnibell, Hayden Guptill, Hamish Dobbyn
Heat Two – Kaidon Brown, Max Guildford, Shayne Alach, Ryan O’Connor, James Cossey
Heat Three – Hayden Williams, Kyle Larson, Peter Hunnibell, Nathan Howard, Chris Windom
Heat Four – Aaron Hodgson, Brock Maskovich, Michael Pickens, Logan Seavey, Jeremy Webb
Heat Five – Kyle Larson, Zach Daum, Chris Windom, Tyler Courtney, Max Guildford
Semi-Main – Zeb Wise, Nathan Howard, Brett Morris Jnr, Tyler Courtney, Jeremy Webb
Feature – Michael Pickens, Zach Daum, Kaidon Brown, Max Guildford, Brock Maskovich
New Zealand 148 – Michael Pickens (50), Peter Hunnibell (49), Max Guildford (49)
USA 142 – Zach Daum (55), Chris Windom (52), Kyle Larson (35)
Australia 117 – Aaron Hodgson (48), Travis Mills (44), Robert Heard (25)
Heat One – Dean Shadbolt, Keaton Dahm, Matthew Leversedge, Chris Kernohan, Rob Vazey
Heat Two – Jamie Larsen, Craig Dollansky, Michael Pickens, Dean Cooper, Keaton Dahm
Heat Three – Daniel Eggleton, Dean Brindle, Adam Child, James Dahm, Michael Pickens
Feature – Michael Pickens, Jamie Larsen, Keaton Dahm, Daniel Eggleton, James Dahm
Heat One – Adam Davis, Mitch Osborne, Travis Buckley, Eric Smith, Corbin Anderson
Heat Two – Daryl Webster, Kenny Roberts, Brad McCutcheon, Mitch Osborne, Brad Robertson
Heat Three – Mike Driver, Jordan McDonnell, Corbin Anderson, Josh Matthews, Lindsay Gate
Feature – Mitch Osborne, Mike Driver, Corbin Anderson, Jordan McDonnell, Adam Davis
Heat One – Cole Morrison, Scott Baker, Jeremy Webb, Shaun Cooke, Kaleb Currie
Heat Two – Aaron Humble, Morgan McHugh, Ryan Barry, Shayne Minchington, Duane Todd
Heat Three – Danny Keene, Peter Hunnibell, Duane Todd, Paul Le Cren, Shaun Cooke
Heat Four – Ryan Baker, Scott Baker, Troy Pennington, Liam McCoubrey, Kaleb Currie
Feature – Ryan Baker, Scott Baker, Cole Morrison, Peter Hunnibell, Kaleb Currie