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Pickens Creates Speedway History

Updated: Jan 30


Michael Pickens took out the Accessman New Zealand Midgetcar title after two epic nights of racing at The Racecourse Hotel and Motorlodge Ruapuna Speedway which saw 45 cars contesting the 78th running of the title. The win extended the Aucklander's record to a ninth national title, with Pickens, who came into the meeting as the defending champion leading home American’s Zach Daum and Zed Wise.


Michael Pickens - 9 times NZ Champion

After qualifying, which saw the top sixteen points scorers go directly into the 30 Lap Feature, with the final four drivers coming from the two B Mains, Pickens finished sixth on points after the qualifying heats, with a mistake seeing him fail to finish his third heat but in his two final heats showed his class when coming home first and second after starting from back row grids.

The Feature saw another American, Tyler Courtney, who was the top points scorer, lead on from the opening lap but the passed by Australia, Kaidon Brown who quickly built up a good lead, with Daum passing Courtney lap four. On lap nine the first yellow came out as Brown had built up a 2.3 second lead. On the restart Pickens who had worked his way into fourth place, blasted by Courtney to take third spot.

Brown again built up a good lead to control the race but on lap 14 this motor failed ending his title hopes. Pickens took the lead on lap 18 when blasting by Daum but the yellows came on again after a four car tangle on the Town Bend which ended the race for Jeremy Webb, the leading local on the track who had started from grid 18 to be in ninth place, another local, Dave Kerr, former five time champion, Michael Kendall and Auckland’s Hayden Guptill.

On the restart Pickens lead out from Daum, with a battle developing fron third between Wise, Courtney and Brad Mosen (Auckland) who won the title when it was last raced at Ruapuna, with all third drivers holding third place for several laps as laps counted down.

Daum keep the pressure on Pickens on the closing laps with the America eating into Pickens lead on the final two laps, making up almost half a second in the final lap with Pickens taking the chequered flag by 0.8622 from Daum with Wise who got by Mosen with three laps to race, holding on to the final podium position by less than a car length at the final line, from Mosen, with American Logan Seavey fifth then Hayden Williams, Courtney, Brent Junior Morris, Brock Maskovich, and Ryan O’Conner rounding out the top ten.

Over the two nights the Three Quarter Midget class turned on close racing with over 20 cars on the track with only one yellow flag in their six races. Liam McCoubrey took out back to back Feature wins as the class builds for the South Island title in the next meeting at Ruapuna on 8 February. Other drivers to stand over included Kyle Glover, Gareth Bindon and Rodney Thompson.

The Quarter Midget development class for junior drivers also delivered on both nights with visiting Auckland drivers in the winner’s circle. Emerson Vincent took out both Feature races as well as one heat win with Dekota Scott claiming two wins with Cole Robertson also winning a heat.

The Jayden’s did all the winning in the Modified Sprint class on the Friday evening with Jayden Basalaj (Nelson) winning the Feature after winning the opening heat with Invercargill’s Jayden Fraser claiming the other heat win.

On Saturday evening the Six Shooters again turned in their usual close racing with Jacob Mitchell impressing on his debut, with a second place and a win in the heats and then took third in the Feature behind Daryl Wright and Andrew Gregge, who was the other heat winner.


Race Results. 78th NZ Midgetcar Championships Ht 1 Michael Pickens 1, Brock Maskovich 2, Brad Mosen 3, Zach Daum 4, Ryan O'Conner 5, Duane Hickman 6, Brent Junior Morris, 7, Peter Hunnibell 8, Brian Barclay 9, DNF. Brent Huijs, Brad Hollier, Jay Chadwick, Glenn Huijs, James Halliburton. NS Breyton Davison to infield before green flag

Ht 2. Logan Seavey 1, Jeremy Webb 2, Williams 3, Tyler Courtney 4, Glen Durie 5, Max Guilford 6, Travis Buckley 7, Ben Huijs 8, Hamish Dobbyn 9, Jayden Worthington 10, Nathan Wilkie 11, Chris Bagrie 12. DNF: Michael Kendall, Jeremy Scarlett

Ht 3. Dave Kerr 1, Tom Lumsden 2, Kaidon Brown 3, Kayne Buck 4, Aaron Hodgson 5, Reon Taylor 6, David Pellow 7, Mitchell Hill 8, Zeb Wise 9 - was leading into final turn and coasted over line, Mark Willans 10. DNF Jayden Dodge, Jack Low, Glenn Milroy, Hayden Guptill. NS James Cossey - no brakes

Ht 4. Maskovich 1, Morris 2, Webb 3, Durie 4, O'Conner 5, Kendall 6, Brent Huijs 7, Bagrie 8, Barclay 9, G Huijs 10, DNF Seavey - flat tyre, Dobbyn, Pickens, NS Davison

Ht 5. Courtney 1, Brown 2, Cossey 3, Taylor 4, Kerr 5, Buckley 6, Guilford 7, Willans 8, Buck 9. DNF. Pillow, Ben Huijs, Worthington, Wilkie. NS Scarlett

Ht 6. Wise 1, Daum 2, Guptell 3, Mosen 4, Hickman 5, Chadwick 6, Hodgson 7, Lumsden 8, Hunnibell 9, Hill 10, Halliburton 11, Low 12, DNF Milroy - rolled driver OK, Hollier

Ht 7. Pickens 1, Williams 2, Courtney 3, O'Conner 4, Maskovich 5, Worthington 6, Morris 7, Wilkie 8, Brent Huijs 9, Guilford 10, Barclay 11, G Huijs 12, Ben Huijs 13. DNF Buckley - heavy roll into turn 1 but driver is OK NS Davison

Ht 8. Mosen 1, Brown 2, Daum 3, Hickman 4, Cossey 5,Kerr 6, Willians 7, Hunnibell 8, Halliburton 9, Pellow 10, Taylor 11, Hollier 12, DNF Buck, Chadwick

Ht 9. Lumsden 1, Wise 2, Kendall 3, Hodgson 4, Guptill 5, Dobbyn 6, Seavey 7, Durie 8, Low 9, Bagrie 10, Hill 11 NS Webb

Ht 10. Courtney 1, Mosen 2, Daum 3, Hunnibell 4, Hickman 5, Buckley 6, Wilkie 7, Ben Huijs8. DNF Worthington, Williams, Guilford, Haliburton, Chadwick NS Hollier

Ht 11. Brown 1, Kendall 2, Webb 3, Seavey 4, Cossey 5, Buck 6, Pellow 7, Kerr 8, Dobbyn 9, Taylor 10, Willans 11, Durie 12, Bagrie 13.

Ht 12. Pickens 1, Guptill 2, Barclay 3, Wise 4, Morris 5, Maskovich 6, O'Conner 7, Lumsden 8, Low 9, Hodgson 10, Brent Huijs, 11, Hill 12, G Huijs 13. NS Dodge

Ht 13. Mosen 1, Seavey 2, Daum 3, Hunnibell 4, Hickman 5, Durie 6, Dobbyn 7, Halliburton 8, Bagrie 9. DNF Kendall, Webb - mid pack at time tangled on final turn with Mosen already having received chequered flag NS Hollier

Ht 14. Courtney 1, Williams 2, Guilford 3, Lumsden 4, Guptill 5, Wise 6, Buckley 7, Hodgson 8, Low 9, Worthington 10, Wilkie 11, Hill 12. Wise and Hodgson both relegated two positions for contact

Ht 15. Pellow 1, Pickens 2, Morris 3, Maskovich 4, Barclay 5, Brown 6, O'Conner 7, Cossey 8, Kerr 9, Taylor 10, Buck 11, B Huijs 13, Willans 14.

Qualifying Points: Courtney 95, Mosen 94, Brown 91, Daum 90, Pickens and Maskovich 87, Wise 83, Lumsden 82, Seavey and Hickman 80, Morris 79, O'Conner 77, Kerr and Guptill 76, Williams 74, Hunnibell 73 this are the top sixteen straight to A Main then Hodgson and Kendall 71, Pellow and Durie Durie and Barclay 69, Cossey 68, Buckley and Webb 65, Taylor 64, Buck and Dobbyn 62, Worthington 58, Brent Huijs 56, Willans and Wilkie 55, Low 54, Bagrie 53, Hill and Ben Huijs 52, Halliburton 50, G Huijs 44, Chadwick 40, Hollier 26 all in B Main

B Main 1. Guilford 1, Kendall 2, both progress to A Main, Pellow 3, Buck 4, Worthington 5, Buckley 6, Low 7, Barclay 8, Willans 9, Halliburton 10, Ben Huijs 11.

B Main 2. Webb 1, Hodgson 2, both progress to A Main. Durie 3, Cossey 4, Dobbyn 5, Dodge 6, Wilkie 7, Brent Huijs 8, G Huijs 9, Hill 10, Bagrie 11. DNF Taylor NS Hollier

NZ Championship Feature. Pickens 1, Daum 2, Wise 3, Mosen 4, Seavey 5, Williams 6, Courtney 7, Morris 8, Maskovich 9, O'Conner 10, Hodgson 11, Hickman 12, Hunnibell 13, Guilford 14, Lumsden 15. DNF Kendall, Webb, Guptill, Kerr, Brown.


Three Quarter Midgetcar Ht 1. James Thompson 1, Ben Morgan 2, Michael Moulin 3. Ht 2. Kyle Glover 1, Shaun Shilton 2, Brett Booth 3, Feature. Liam McCoubrey 1, Morgan 2, Bindon 3.


Three Quarter Midgets Cars Ht 1. Gareth Bindon 1, Liam McCoubrey 2, Rodney Thompson 3. Ht 2. Kyle Glover 1, Alicia Hill 2, McCoubrey 3. Feature. McCoubrey 1, Glover 2, Bindon 3.


Modified Sprints Ht 1. Jayden Basalaj 1, Courtney Jones 2, Kieran Harris 3. Ht 2. Jayden Fraser 1, Nigel Jackson 2, Craig Cox 3. Feature. Basalaj 1, Jones 2, Harris 3.


Six Shooters Ht 1. Andrew Gregge 1, Jacob Mitchell 2, Peter Keith 3. Ht 2. Mitchell 1, Keith 2, Doncliff 3. Feature. Daryl Wright 1, Gregge 2, Mitchell 3.


Quarter Midgetcars Ht 1. Dekota Scott 1, Dyllan Forsey 2, Emerson Vincent 3. Ht 2. Vincent 1, Jacob Cunniffe 2, Etham Smith 3. Feature. Vincent 1, Scott 2, Cunniffe 3.

Quarter Midgets Ht 1. Cole Robertson 1, Jacob Cunniffe 2, Emerson Vincent 3. Ht 2. Dekota Scott 1, Dyllan Forsey 2, Logan Pelling 3. Feature. Vincent 1, Cunniffe 2, Jacob Brownlees 3.

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