Herald Article – Opening Night Review


Western Springs Stadium was bursting at the seams on Saturday night as Vodafone Speedway celebrated the opening night of the 87th season at the circuit.

Almost 12,000 spectators filled the stands as Auckland speedway veteran Michael Pickens made it look easy, winning all three of his midget races and qualifying first in the sprint car division.

The six-time New Zealand champion and current Australian champion started both his heats at the rear of the field and worked his way to the front in each.

Starting on the front row, Pickens was then untroubled in the midget feature, leading every lap until rain halted the race with three laps remaining, declaring him the winner; Brock Maskovich was second and Taylor Clarke third.

“It obviously wasn’t ideal with that rain, but still awesome to get the win on opening night,” said Pickens.

Unfortunately the rain did not let up following the midget feature, causing the sprint car main event to be cancelled. However, the large crowd walked away happy after an impressive Guy Fawkes fireworks display ended the night on a high.

Earlier in the evening, Stephen Wilson won the F2 midget feature ahead of Kane Buck and Caleb Antonio-Rooney, while Scott Baker beat his brother Ryan in the TQ finale; Ryan Barry was third.

Racing will return to Vodafone Speedway-Western Springs on November 26 as all adult classes compete in the Auckland Championships, and the Oval Superstars Minisprints will visit the famous Auckland circuit for the first time in a decade.

– NZ Herald