Townsend Remembered on Final Night

Western Springs Speedway, Final Night, Auckland, New Zealand on the 7 March 2020. Copyright Photo: Jeremy Ward /

A magnificent crowd fronted on an emotional night as we said farewell to Bryce Townsend. A night that began with a touching tribute concluded with a beautiful fireworks display.

National Sprintcar champion Jamie Larsen entered the night having led laps in five features for only one win. Larsen produced a dominating performance keeping 22a Dean Brindle at arms-length distance for the 25-lap duration. The battle to watch was the Baypark trio of 6m James Dahm, 88m Keaton Dahm and 3nz Rodney Wood. The trio joined late in the race by 2nz Michael Pickens who charged through the field from grid 19, reeling off a series of exciting passes.

The pole remained open in the Midget feature in respect of Townsend. Top qualifier 5a Brock Maskovich led early but was unable to resist the persistent pressure of 2nz Zach Daum. Maskovich falling into a battle pack including 25a Aaron Hodgson and 1nz Michael Pickens. 91bt Max Guilford, running a special paint scheme honouring Townsend, ran as high as 5th place prior to falling back a couple of spots. Sadly, Guilford would fail to make race distance, crashing high in turn one. Earlier in the night Guilford provided the moment of the night, guiding the 91bt entry to a heat race victory.

11a Ryan Baker made a run through the middle stages, vaulting into second place. Unfortunately, Baker half spun in Pine Tree Bend, collecting Pickens and Maskovich among others. There were big runs from the back for 27a Hayden Williams and 91a Hayden Guptill who were suddenly vaulted into contention. Whilst Guptill and Hodgson engaged in a classic slide job battle for third, Williams stalked race leader Daum. Daum able to fend off the challenge to take the spoils.

14a Kenny Roberts completed a successful season in the F2 Midget division, taking a green to checkers win ahead of perennial frontrunner 69a Corbin Anderson. 7a Benjamin Matthews put on the show, scooting around the high line to make a series of late passes to complete the podium.

Fresh from third in the Australian Speedcar Title, Kaleb Currie jumped into the Danny Keene #71a forming a dynamite combination. Currie swept all before him, winning both his heats and taking a commanding win in the feature. Even 1nz Jeremy Webb, who is enjoying an amazing season, could only look on.

Quarter Midgets presented in typically large numbers, the success of the class one of the most pleasing aspects of recent years. As has become traditional, the entire class was recognised at the conclusion of their feature.

In drivers briefing our Head Steward Dean Napier announced he is concluding his role. Napier won a Speedway New Zealand Award in 2019, recognising outstanding performance. Also concluding his role after 25 years of service is Sprintcar class representative Len Gardner.

Heat One – James Dahm, Daniel Eggleton, Matthew Leversedge, Jamie Larsen, Travis Buckley
Heat Two – Rob Vazey, Brian Edwards, Steve Smith, Rodney Wood, Dean Brindle
Heat Three – Dean Cooper, Kerry Brocas, Dean Brindle, Jamie Larsen, Keaton Dahm
Feature – Jamie Larsen, Dean Brindle, James Dahm, Rodney Wood, Michael Pickens

Heat One – Peter Hunnibell, Aaron Hodgson, Michael Pickens, Hayden Guptill, Matthew McCutcheon
Heat Two – Brock Maskovich, Breyton Davison, Caleb Antonio-Rooney, Travis Buckley, Zach Daum
Heat Three – Zach Daum, James Earl, Nathan Howard, Michael Pickens, James Cossey
Heat Four – Max Guilford, Brock Maskovich, Caleb Anotnio-Rooney, Ryan Baker, Mark Mullins
Semi-Main – Hayden Guptill, Jayden Worthington, Hayden Williams, Kayne Buck
Feature – Zach Daum, Hayden Williams, Hayden Guptill, Aaron Hodgson, Breyton Davison

F2 Midgets
Heat One – Kenny Roberts, Brian Rowlands, Corbin Anderson, Mike Driver, Josh Matthews
Heat Two – Adam Davis, Leyton Kendall, Jordan McDonnell, Corbin Anderson, Josh Matthews
Heat Three – Eric Smith, Ben Matthews, Tim Fergusson, Jordan McDonnell, Brynn Jackson
Feature – Kenny Roberts, Corbin Anderson, Ben Matthews, Adam Davis, Jordan McDonnell

TQ Midgets
Heat One – Kaleb Currie, Aaron Humble, Cole Morrison, Troy Pennington, Jeremy Webb
Heat Two – Peter Hunnibell, Cole Morrison, Scott Baker, Shayne Minchington, Ben Morrison
Heat Three – Kaleb Currie, Ryan Barry, Lawrence Baker, Jeremy Webb, Shaun Cooke
Feature – Kaleb Currie, Jeremy Webb, Cole Morrison, Peter Hunnibell, Troy Pennington
Townsend Remembered on Final Night

Matthew Percival