It’s been a big off season for many of our hero’s, with some venturing overseas during the winter months here in New Zealand.
2 seasons ago a very young Troy Pennington was screaming around the bowl here in Quarter Midget, a specialised class in New Zealand for drivers 8 to 14 years young. This class has crafted some of New Zealand biggest motorsport stars, including v8 supercar champion Shane van Gisbergen, Midget Car Champion Michael Pickens 2018 was his debut year behind the wheel of a TQ this meant, more power, a bigger car and fields of up to 20 in feature races, this is where drivers learn the art of manoeuvring at high speeds through tight spaces, another class that has breed champions in other classes as well.
However, it was an entirely new class that Pennington took on when he travelled to Pennsylvania, after being invited by Michael Fauci, from Michael Fauci Driver Development, Pennington was driving a Micro Sprint.
A starter class for striving sprintcar enthusiasts, side mounted 600cc motorcycle engines developing around 160hp and chain driven. They have a chassis and a body styled like that of a full sized Sprintcar or Midgets. He was also teamed up with rising young stars Christian Bruno and Buddy Shwebinz, both also mentored by Fauci.
(TP) “I love the micro, it felt like a midget and everything happened very fast and hectic”
These were not your average run of the mill tracks too, race nights were at prestigious venues which included Action Track USA and Lanco Speedway with fields of 50 on any given night.
(TP) “I struggled in my first night learning the banked tracks, not transferring through the B Main. The second night I qualified 11th and was running 8th when an injector plug got smashed by a rock giving me a DNF”
The Micro Sprints can transform like Sprintcars, these pocket rockets run both Wingless and Wings giving a completely different dynamic and new set of challenges.
(TP) “On my Third night I put a wing on, came home 2nd in my heat and started 6th in the main. Unfortunately, I crashed out on the start. The next night I qualified 15th and was running 6th when the injector plug let go again causing another DNF for me and the team”.
Pennington’s father raced SuperSaloons, so he has grown up at the track since the age of 2months, however the future goal is to secure a full-time ride racing a Midget Car.
(TP) “The next night I ran two cars,
In the Wingless division, I qualified 16th and finished 10th,
In the Winged division I started 17th and finished 14th in the main.
My final night I spun in my heat, came 2nd in the C-Main, then worked from 12th to 4th in the B. only one spot from the transfer”.
This year will be his 2nd full season behind the wheel of the #4 Wet and Forget, Placemakers Cook street TQ. At only 16 years old the valuable knowledge gained this off season will definitely help his performance, and with a stacked line up of talent due to do battle here, as we prepare to host the Nationals come early 2020, this may be the perfect time for Pennington to gain all the experience and knowledge that may just lead him to a podium in January.