On-form Aucklander Michael Pickens starts as favourite for this weekend’s NZ Midget Car champs but there are plenty of other drivers also in with a strong chance at the title.
February 22, 2007. Thirty-seven drivers have entered the New Zealand Midget Car Championship which will be run at the Powerbuilt Speedway, Ruapuna, near Christchurch, this weekend.
There are 15 North Island drivers entered, including all six of the victorious New Zealand side which defeated the USA in the World Series last month.
Following his domination of the World Series, Auckland’s Michael Pickens will start as favourite in the Ed Pink powered Seamount Special.
However several of the other northern contingent will fancy their chances to win the championship that was first contested in 1939.
Bryce Townsend, who captained this year’s New Zealand team has a wealth of experience under his belt and has always performed well at Ruapuna. Townsend has been in scintillating form at Western Springs this summer.
Another to shine at Western Springs has been former World 50 Lap Champion Shayne Alach, who gained some momentum leading into this weekend’s racing when he won a hotly contested feature race at Auckland last Saturday.
Another to have some momentum is Napier’s Jimi Quin, who has just returned after a fleeting visit to compete at the Copper Dirt Classic in Arizona, USA. Quin adapted quickly to the Ruapuna track at his debut in January and will be a strong contender.
The defending Champion, Tony Fabish (Te Awamutu) could have his work cut out to retain his title, however the wily veteran has a habit of hitting form at the right time.
No South Island driver has won the New Zealand Midget Car Championship since Edwin Murray (Christchurch) in 1968.
Local hopes are headed by Southbridge’s David Kerr, a former national Mini Sprint Champion who has just taken possession of the Esslinger powered Spike that was campaigned during the World Series by American Speedway icon Dave Darland.
Aaron Webb is another local driver whose chances must be rated following his performances in his Ed Pink Ford powered Breka.
Webb was the top-performing local in this year’s Internationals at Ruapuna and has proven that he is undaunted in competition against far more experienced rivals.
Another with plenty of experience is the veteran of 22 years of speedway racing Dick Webb. He has shown flashes of brilliance in his Hawk powered Aggressor.
However the non arrival of some vital engine parts forced Webb to sit out the internationals and he may be a little short of racing time.
Qualifying races on Friday night will determine 21 finalists, who will be joined by three others from a repecharge race on Saturday night.
The Championship will be contested over two 20-lap races to determine grid positions, and a 25-lap final.
Photo caption: Springs Speedway world series winner Michael Pickens starts as favourite in this weekend's NZ Midget Champs.