Mosen sensational in Midget international
Young Aucklander Brad Mosen set the Western Springs Speedway alight with blistering pace last Saturday night, winning two heat races and the Midget Car test race, and coming within a whisker of winning the coveted 30-lap World Derby.
The Mopar-Auto Trader racer showed his hand early in the night, fighting through the pack, and scything past January 30 Feature race winner, American Davey Ray, and early leader Tony Fabish.
Michael Pickens, who had won two heat races on January 30 before winning the opening NZ/USA test race, finished second, ahead of Fabish.
Kiwi Shayne Alach and American ace Dave Darland lined up for Saturday’s test race on the front row, but Darland went to the infield with a broken muffler.
That left Pickens to take the attack to Alach when the race started. Mosen, meanwhile, was on the charge, powering past American Brad Loyet.
America lost another star when Jerry Coons Junior’s Midget hit the Town Bend wall after its steering broke.
Mosen was simply unstoppable and hurtled past the squabbling Alach and Pickens on the outside line in Pine Tree Bend, and from then on drove away.
Alach came home second, 3.8 seconds adrift of Mosen, with Pickens third.
Americans Scott Hatton, Loyet and Brad Kuhn completed the top six.
The Kiwi team took the round win, with 43 points to the USA’s 35 – the same margin as on the opening night of the series.
Mosen’s second heat race win came in the fourth 12-lapper which he started from grid seven.
Pole starter Pickens jumped to an immediate lead, but Mosen was soon through to fourth, and then second.
Pickens ran the high line and Mosen favoured the pole as he moved closer and closer to the NZ champion as they began to run among lapped traffic.
The deciding moment came when Pickens’ Midget bobbled in Pine Tree Bend, momentarily losing momentum.
It was all Mosen needed and he shot past on the inside, to win by a slender 0.191 seconds from Pickens. Loyet was third.
Two heat wins – the other heat was won by Coons – gave Darland the outside front row starting position for the 30-lap Derby. Pickens started third, Coons fourth.
Darland won the start but the cars went back to original grids after a yellow flag flew before they had completed a lap.
Mosen made a better go of the second start, and poked the #13’s nose under Darland’s car in Town Bend. Pickens spun in Pine Tree Bend and was hit by Coons. The restart saw Pickens off the back of the grid, and Mosen led from Darland and Coons.
Coons dropped out with a flat left/front tyre.
The race cycled through more restarts till Darland got briefly ahead of the young Aucklander, but Mosen was back leading when Pickens and Scott Buckley tangled. Buckley got a restart but Pickens was out of the race.
Darland kept pushing and probing at Mosen’s lead but couldn’t find a way past.
After Darland had a moment in Pine Tree Bend, Mosen began opening a gap on the American ace before the black #2 started to edge closer again.
As they began threading their way through traffic, Darland glued his car to the rear of Mosen’s and then zipped past in Town Bend. When the American’s car bobbled in Pine Tree Bend, Mosen closed the gap but the win was Darland’s – his second in a row in the 30-lap Derby.
Mosen finished 1.5 seconds behind, followed by Kuhn, Alach, and Michael Kendall (who had earlier run third and fought an excellent battle with Ray). Hatton completed the top six in an incident-packed race.
But it was the duel between Mosen and Darland that had the crowd on the edges of their seats, the young Aucklander acquitting himself with distinction in his scrap with the USAC legend.
American Ricky Logan won the Sprint Car Feature after a superb battle with eight-time NZ champion Allan Wakeling.
A better run through late-race traffic put Logan into the winner’s circle – only just. He crossed the line 0.5 of a second in front of Wakeling.
Dean Brindle was third.