A first-time champion will be crowned on Saturday night when Baypark Speedway hosts the North Island Midget Car Championship.
The championship provides a chance for one of the emerging young stars of the Midget Car competition to seize the spotlight and score a career-first Speedway NZ-sanctioned title ahead of their contemporaries.
The opportunity has arisen because this week’s huge Chili Bowl Nationals indoor event in Tulsa, Oklahoma, has taken established stars Michael Pickens and Brad Mosen away from the domestic racing scene.
And two other recent North Island title winners are on the sidelines with 2022 champion Hayden Guptill taking a season off from racing and 2020 winner Aaron Hodgson still serving a suspension that took him out of the recent international series.
Among the new wave of talent with a chance to shine is Auckland 20-year-old Ben Morrison, who topped the qualifying times and the A-Dash to start from pole position in the recent Bay 51 Spectacular.
Another youngster to star in the longest race on the calendar was Tauranga’s Luke McClymont, with an impressive drive to fourth place, while the likes of Baypark racers Shayden Austin, Travis Buckley and Campbell Stewart, along with Te Awamutu’s Mitch Fabish and Aucklander Alec Insley have all delivered strong performances during the holiday season international series.
It’s not all about the Midget young guns.
Former national champion Peter Hunnibell is getting to grips with a new car, while another in-form driver is Aucklander Brock Maskovich, following his third place at the Bay 51. Maskovich has achieved multiple podiums in the NZ, North Island and Grand Prix events but has yet to post a victory.
Another strong Sprint Car grid has been assembled for the eighth meeting of the 2023-24 season, and with five different winners from six feature races, there are several strong contenders, including former national champions Jamie Larsen and Jamie McDonald, in the queue to become the next to celebrate a win.
The other event of interest to Baypark Speedway fans this weekend is taking place in the South Island. Cromwell’s Central Motor Speedway is hosting the New Zealand Super Saloon Car Championship with four Tauranga drivers entered.
Defending national champion Chris Cowling will be chasing more success at Cromwell after winning the NZ GP there last summer, while Sam Waddell and Steve Cowling are both chasing a second national title success in the Super Saloon division. The other Baypark driver making the trip south is Scott Hayward.
Header Image: Brock Maskovich heads into the North Island title after a recent podium in the Bay 51 Spectacular. Supplied