Michael Pickens now a 7 times New Zealand Champion.

Michael Pickens now a 7 times New Zealand Champion.pickens nz 1

Nelson Speedway at the top end of New Zealand played host to the running of the New Zealand Midget Car Championship.The stage had been set on Friday night with Pickens leaving the Speedway the top point’s man. With possibly the best ever field for the National Title assembled .All the pressure was on Pickens as he chased a seventh Championship and the chance to equal the feats of that past great New Zealander Fred Tracey.

Pickens continued to gather points throughout Saturday night and ended the heats on top of the points. The race plan was on track after he won the Dash to gain that vital pole spot.In the early part of the race Pickens was devastatingly quick but his race lead was interrupted when Dayne Maxwell said hi to the wall and the yellow was displayed. The break in the race did little for Pickens and on the restart he made a mess of the start allowing Hayden Williams to grab the race lead.

For the first12 laps it appeared that Pickens dream of a seventh Title might be last. Williams made Pickens work hard, he remain determined to spoil Pickens night. At one point Pickens had fallen to third behind Spencer Bayston and with Mosen, Daum, Thomas and Bright all charging.

Pickens charged back to second and then took advantage of a Williams’s error to gain the race lead; Mosen had shaken off the Americans and took Williams for second. Fans were getting excited not only as it looked like a Pickens win was now well and truly on but the chance of an all Kiwi podium .Sadly for Williams Spencer found a hole in Williams defense to sneak past meters from the flag for third.Kiwi podium,jpeg

Michael Pickens now a seven time New Zealand Midget Champion equaling the feat of Fred “Cylcone”Tracey.Brilliant, amazing Champion now holds both the Australian and New Zealand Midget Speedcar Championships, admired and supported across the Speedway World.

 IMAGES, TOM LANEY, WWW.IMAGEPRESS.CO.NZ 

 

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POWRi midgets racing both side of the World

Friday and Saturday nights will be awakened by the sounds of the POWRi Midgets racing on both side of the World .Friday night at Jacksonville Speedway is the first of a two night schedule finishing on Saturday at Macon Speedway.

The Kunz team lined up at the Turnpike Challenge

The Kunz team lined up at the Turnpike Challenge

The POWRi fields at Jacksonville and Macon will be headed by the powerful Keith Kunz Motorsports Team with 2015 Chili Bowl and USAC Champion Rico Abreu making a rare but welcomed returns to the midget. Supporting Abreu will be Thorson, Macedo, Bayston, Holly Shelton and Robinson.

A six car invasion by Midgets most powerful and successful Team will not automatically guarantee top spot on the podium.The last POWRI meet at the Turnpike Challenge at Port Royal Speedway saw locals get the better of Tanner Thorson on both nights of the Challenge.

Saturday night down under at Valvoline Raceway the final round of the POWRi Lucas Oils Speedcar Super Series sponsored by Diamond Air-Conditioning .The final has attracted a field of 33 midgets with the entries from all States plus New Zealand .

Hayden Williams after winning the Barry Butterworth Classic

Hayden Williams after winning the Barry Butterworth Classic

The current Western Springs Track Champion Hayden Williams will cross the ditch to team up with Moree based team of CJR in the Q82 Mopar .Williams hardened by the his many tough campaigns at Western Springs and backed by recent US experiences will be difficult to beat .The past Western Springs season has catapulted the BMW Technician to the head of the NZ Speedcar standings. Williams is expected to stay on and race the following week in the annual 50 lapper when Michael Pickens will be back at Valvoline .

Heading into the series final defending Champion Nathan Smee cannot be beaten for the series but to get the final feature win he will need to overcome his biggest rival former national Champion Adam Clarke who is return after a short rest where his Jack Berry Racing Polar ice rocket has been refreshed.Smee, Williams and Clarke will have no shortage of challengers once qualifying is finished.

Speedcar super series logoDiamond logo ,jpg

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New Zealand Midget Champion 2016 Peter Hunnibell

New Zealand Midget Champion 2016 Peter HunnibellPeter Nunnibell  NZ1

A week after winning his maiden New Zealand Midget Champion Auckland’s Peter Hunnibell return to Western Springs sporting prized NZ1 on the tail of his midget .First race as the NZ1 fittingly was the Barry Butterworth Classic

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After watching Speedway for over 50 years I must admit that I get great excitement and pleasure when I see the underdog get up and take the spoils. To win a National Title is tough, fitness and commitment and the ability to stay focused when other around you are self destructing is in itself an achievement.

Peter Hunnibell New Zealand Midget Champion 2016

Peter Hunnibell New Zealand Midget Champion 2016

The 30 lap New Zealand Title is a race that all teams desperately want to win and the desire to carry the Countries premier racing number sends the adrenalin sky high.
New Zealand’s top three , the defending Champion Brad Mosen, Hayden Williams and 6 times Champion and current Australian Champion Michael Pickens shared the top three positions and the expectations of a massive battle between these three superb racers would fade as the laps ran out and totally different story line would start to emerge.
Peter Hunnibell in #39 was starting out of position 12 and like many other would have been reserved as the 20 car field approached the starter.
Like many races the front runners got away clean but an early stoppage was not an indication of how this Title race would span out .The first casualty was James Earl when he spun and collected McCutcheon and ending his Title ambition. For most of the early laps the Mosen,William and Pickens duel starting to show what the fans had come to see close fast and aggressive confrontation between New Zealand’s best three.
Mosen was the early leader before Williams played his cards early taking the lead position by laps together with Drummond found the six times Champ quickly back in 5th position. two. Pickens had some early moments and a coming .By lap four Pickens had regained 3rd.Soon after Pickens and Mosen tangle and by lap 6 Pickens had secured second over Mosen with Williams in his frame.

Mosen and Williams shared the front row for the Championship

Mosen and Williams shared the front row for the Championship

Pickens and Mosen continued to dispute second behind Williams. Drummond was now entering the battle and tries to use the pole line to get underneath Mosen and Picken .Pickens and Mosen continue to argue over the spot and pair come together .A bang here and a bang there before Pickens once again locks in second
As the Championship Features reached the halfway point Hunnibell still sits back in the pack out of trouble as the top three starts to gap the field .It is not long before lapped traffic starts to present a separate challenge and Leyton Kendall sits in their path. Even laps from home and track has started to widen
Williams leading for most of the race has a big moment on lap 24 with a wheel stand and Pickens tries to take advantage but Williams recovers and continues to lead. With the laps running out Williams had the chance to close out the Championship but the drama starts to unfold when the top three approach Lucas Scott who is about to go a lap down .Williams and Pickens clear Scott when Mosen wheel stands the #NZ1 and rolls the Esslinger four times and collects #3NZ Dave Kerr. Both Kerr and Mosen are out and in 2016 there will be no back to back Championship glory for 2015 Champion

Brad Mosen defending Champion

Brad Mosen defending Champion

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From here on the Championship takes an unbelievable turn. Williams leads Pickens on the restart three from home. Williams is wide ,Pickens underneath ,Championship winning move that goes wrong and the pair collide , both spins into the incoming traffic, somehow Williams keeps the #27 going while Pickens car is damaged and what he figure was a winning move takes home out of the race and no 7th Title this year . ..#65 and #36 and #87 are also infield bound and out of the race
Another restart and Williams get a reprieve. Championship is starring him in the face and I can image his heart rate pumping up .Again Williams takes the lead and with 2 laps left and the Title looking like it will be Williams maiden Championship when Brunt tries a sneaky slider on the #27, the unbelievable happens when Williams rolls and Hunnibell takes advantage and moves up a position.
Brunt avoids a penalty and will lead off the restart from Maxwell Hunnibell and Scott…Maxwell takes the lead on the final restart from Brunt then Hunnibell plays a late hand and passes Brunt and chase after Maxwell. With an unexpected Championship win at stake Hannibal see the way past Maxwell but Maxwell with his own eyes firmly targeting the win heads to the bottom and in his efforts to re pass Hunnibell collects the #39a but Hunnibell would not be denied and stays on the track and finishes as the unexpected but super proud New Zealand Midget Speedcar Champion

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They crossed the line in order Hunnibell #39a, Maxwell#81, Lucas Scott#23a, Jared Wade #85, Michael Brunt #9a .There was more surprises to come Dyane Maxwell was excluded as his #81 was declared 5 kgs under weight at the scales moving Lucas Scott #23a into second and moving Jared Wade #85 into third .

The podium New Zealand Midget Championship 2016

Peter Hunnibell NZ1 Lucas Scott NZ2 Jared Wade NZ3 Congratulation from all Speedway fans .

Hunnibell NZ1 with trophy
The exhilaration experienced by Peter Hunnibell as he entered the final two laps would have been at fever pitch and the image clearly focused in his mind of the NZ1 plate would have been the spur that was needed to make the final pass into New Zealand Midget Speedcar Racing history .No matter what happened during those 30 laps the skill and determination needed to get though all that carnage and to be able launch that last successful pass will remain a memory that Peter Hunnibell ,his team and family will never forget.
Speaking on his historic Championship win Peter had this to say
“Still hasn’t quite sunk in that we took home #1 last night. Was great to have Brad Mosen and Jonathan Allard there to congratulate us on the infield. We’d like to thank our team – Dad, Mum and Dylan, Carl and Jen, Johnny, Stu and Family, Ian and Liz, Adam, Khan and everyone else who has put in hours and persisted through after a rough start to the season. To our amazing sponsors Lubricants NZ, Narellan Pools Auckland, Allstar Plumbing Ltd, RMC valves, Appco, Autolab and Harris Race Car Parts Lt “
3o lap midget feature grids  27 Hayden Williams Racing 1nz Brad Mosen Racing (top qualifier) 1aus Michael Pickens Racing 9 Micheal Brunt 25 Scott Buckley Racing 87 Leon Burgess Racing 36 Ben Drummond Racing 22 James earl 95s Duane Hickman 81 Dayne Maxwell 33 James Cossey 39 Peter Hunnibell 23 Lucas Scott 85 Jared wade 3nz Dave Kerr 99 Taylor Clarke 96 Chris Mccutcheon 13 Ricky McGough 18 Leyton Kendall 21 Zahn Turner

20 started only 6 crossed the finishing line

Talking Speedway would like to thank Peter Hunnibell and Western Springs Speedway for the use of the photographs.

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Pickens to run AU1 New Zealand Midget Championship

Pickens to run AU1 New Zealand Midget Championship

Michael Pickens  Australian Speedcar Champion Credit Anthony Loxley

Michael Pickens Australian Speedcar Champion
Credit Anthony Loxley

The New Zealand Midget Championship dates back to 1940 when the first Championship was decided at Western Springs. Frank “Satin” Brewer claimed by both Kiwis and Aussies won the first Championship ahead of Ron Roycroft and M Hughes.
The honors board for this Championship is filled with legends of New Zealand Speedway. Names like Roly Crowther, Ross Coonan and Barry Butterworth just three of the many that have carried the NZ1 on their midget.
This Saturday night at Western Springs Speedway Michael Pickens faces a dilemma, should he as permitted carry the Australia 1 into the Championship. A variety of views from both sides of the ditch.With six years of carrying the NZ 1 plate it might appear a little strange but from and Australian fans point of view but I would be quite proud if Michael Pickens had it blazoned across the tail of his Brekka.

The eligibility rules in Speedcars in Australia and New Zealand allow for internationals to run in the National Championship so it there is no argument, rules might be wrong in the eyes of some.This Championship will have plenty of contenders for the coveted NZ1 none more determined than current Champion Brad Mosen who will need to withstand the charge from Michael Pickens .Timing is perfect for Pickens who is driving out of his skin with wins in the Internationals in New Zealand and Australia.

 on the inside  Bacon with Mosen Kiwi NZ1 Credit Anthony Loxley

on the inside
Bacon with Mosen Kiwi NZ1
Credit Anthony Loxley

Confidence in the Pickens camp must be at an all time high particularly after his colossal drive during the Australian Championship. The ferocious of those last laps and Pickens ability in getting that last pass on Felker was racing that you would pay anything and goes anywhere to witness.Last week was just that, last week and Mosen, Williams will be much stronger at Western Springs in front of the home crowd.
Williams currently leads Mosen in the point at Western Springs Track Championship , the gap just 6 points with Mascovick,Alach and McCutcheon not too far adrift .These points mean nothing on Championship night.The winner of the Main Championship Feature will be crowed New Zealand Midget Champion for 2015/16

Hayden Williams NZ Photo credit Anthony  Loxley

Hayden Williams NZ
Photo credit Anthony Loxley

While I am not game to predict the winner even after studying all the drivers’ recent form one thing I can guarantee is that it is a meeting you should not miss. It will be a cracker. The crowd will be divided in their loyalties but the winner will be hailed by all as the New Zealand Midget Champion 2015/16
Nominations for the New Zealand Midget Championship.

Hayden Williams
Jared Wade
Michael Pickens
Peter Hunnibell
Shayne Alach
Leon Burgess
Lucas Scott
Nick Donaldson
Scott Buckley
Blair Bertram
James Cossey
Ricky McGough
Michael Brunt
Dayne Maxwell
Brad Mosen
Chris McCutcheon
Brock Maskovich
Bryce McKenzie
Duane Hickman
Michael Morrison
Zahn Turner
Mike Driver
Ben Drummond
James Earl
Ben Drummond
Dave Kerr
Taylor Clarke
Leyton Kendall
Cameron Corbett

To Talking Speedway would like Anthony Loxley and Full Throttle Publishing for the use of photos for this story.Please visit http://www.fullthrottlepublishing.com.au/ where you will find Speedway history told in beautiful pictures in his many publications .Tony’s latest book due out shortly is titled “Caged Heat ”

caged Heat

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October4 and Speedway down under is new and fresh

The paint jobs are fantastic, engines rebuilt and team invigorated for the opening rounds of Speedway after the winter break down under.

Sydney Valvoline Speedway credit

Sydney Valvoline Speedway credit

New owners ready to bring a new approach to Sydney and the Valvoline Speedway. Track renovations that give the long suffering but loyal race fans better facilities across the venue .The excitement builds and the time to start those engines and get into the action is near, Saturday October 4th it all restarts at Sydney, Brisbane and Murray Bridge. Before you can catch your breath Speedways across the Country will be back entertaining race fans and with your lungs well and truly rested , your thunderous cheers for you favorite driver will bring back what has been missing throughout the winter close down .

Big show featuring World Series Sprintcars, the 10th running of the POWRi Speedcar Super Series and the second year of the Speedcar Pro Series.
The US season is now into the back end of the season and Australian and New Zealand fans will get the opportunity to see firsthand some of America’s best..

Danny Holtgraver just one of heavt hitter from the USA heading down under

Danny Holtgraver just one of heavt hitter from the USA heading down under

The exodus at season ends of many of the US starts is just another gift that Speedway promoter brings to satisfy the appetite of the locals.
The POWRi World Midget Championship that will run in Brisbane Lismore and New Zealand and we  will see USAC and Chili Bowl Champ Bryan Clauson along with Tracey Hines head the US challenge .Kraige Kinser will travel to Western Spring with the adopted Kiwi Jonathan Allard where they will be pitted against New Zealand’s best. Add Robbie Farr and former Australian and World Series Champ James McFadden for one hell of a challenge.

A new track surface is being laid at Western Springs for the new season

Western spring get a new raceing surface  Pic credit Western Springs

Western spring get a new raceing surface
Pic credit Western Springs

New cars, new drivers and great new liveries will make this season one of the best for many years. No matter where you live, Speedways are firing back up for your enjoyment and we will bring you all the results that matter, news when it happens. Australia, New Zealand and the USA we are Talking Speedway.

Great livery on the Bennett Motorsports car in WA that Mark Brown will run the Speedcar Pro Series

Great livery on the Bennett Motorsports car in WA that Mark Brown will run the Speedcar Pro Series

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Monday Memories – Graham Standring win 100 at Western Springs

Monday Memories –Graham Standring New Zealand Speedcar Champion

Saturday night December 6th 2010 and the 55year old evergreen Kiwi Champion Graham Standring takes his 100th win at Western Springs Speedway in the no 3 Wendy’s Spike/Esslingen.

Standring being interviewed after his 100th win at Western Springs

Standring being interviewed after his 100th win at Western Springs

Watch as Graham Standring completes his 100th win at Western Springs

Standring an inductee into the New Zealand Speedway Hall of fame has been a prolific winner across Speedway in New Zealand with three New Zealand Championships in the mighty Midgets. Standring raced in both Australia and the US with success.

Eleven years after Barry Butterworth won his first USAC race Standring took the win at Kokomo Speedway, August 8, 1990

Standring was super aggressive on the track, off track smart and very professional in the presentation of his race team. During the course of his career he received support from many Corporations, notably valvoline, Century Batteries and XEROX.

Graham Standring sharing his success

Graham Standring sharing his success

No stranger to controversy during his career the Kiwi was well tagged as Mr. 100% .During a trip to Australia for the 1995/6 Australian Championship Standring blitzed the field at the now defunct Newcastle Motor Dome only to suffer car failure a few laps from the finish and hand the Australian Title win to Sydney’s Craig Brady.

A racing career that spanned 30 years has seen Standring recognized as one of New Zealand’s best.

Standring pedal down

Standring pedal down

Following his retirement Standring joined Western Springs Speedway as an infield announcer bringing a drivers view of the racing to the crowd. Although retired from active racing Standring still runs shake down tests for owners, in particularly the Lendich owned Wendy’s USA3 in preparation for Jerry Coons Jr visits New Zealand for the International meets.

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Midget team racing announced by Western Springs Speedway

Nathan Smee Capt Australia

Nathan Smee Capt Australia

Teams Racing will return to Western Springs Speedway with a vengeance this Boxing Day as three countries fight for points and a $5,000 prize pool.

Australia, USA and New Zealand will each put forward three drivers to battle it out for national pride, and unlike previous years, points towards their feature starting positions.

“The test races will be about winning for your country, but also accumulating enough points to ensure you start near the front of the feature,” said Springs Speedway promoter Greg Mosen.

“This new found importance on test racing will make for a more exciting spectacle for the fans, with drivers fighting for every position and every point.”

The international teams will be chosen by their respective captains – current POWRI Australian Midget Car Champion Nathan Smee will captain Australia, while USAC Triple Crown winner Jerry Coons Jr. leads the Team USA. The New Zealand team selection process is yet to be confirmed.

“It’s an honour they chose me to be captain. Either that or it just means I’m the oldest,” said the midget veteran, Coons Jr.

“I’m not exactly sure who all is coming so I’m not sure yet [about who will be in the USA team], but all the drivers are tough and the majority, if not all of the American drivers race for a living.”

The two teams’ races will run alongside the regular heats, with any driver from either format given the opportunity to start on pole if they earn enough points. There are no reserved places for test team drivers in the main event.

“The thing about having ‘teams’ racing is that we are all here to win and with money and points on the line, it’s going to be every driver for themselves,” said Coons Jr.

Capt USA Jerry Coons Jr after winning the North Island Title in 2012 at Western Springs

Capt USA Jerry Coons Jr after winning the North Island Title in 2012 at Western Springs

“It’s a great couple of weeks racing, and to race in front of such a big crowd, especially on Boxing Day, is very exciting.

“We don’t get the amount of fans at a midget race in the US like we do at The Springs. It’s such a cool atmosphere at this track in Auckland. We just love coming down.”

The speedway season kicks off with two practice events at Western Springs Stadium in October, before the first race meeting, which doubles as the Auckland Championships, on October 26.

Press release from Western Springs MediaWestern Springs logo

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