While all classes competed for the Heritage Shield Night it was the Midget class Feature that stole the show at Western Springs Speedway on Saturday.
Three Quarter Midgets heat race wins went to a brace of West Aucklanders. Peter Hunnibell from row two, Lawrence Baker and Jakeb LeCren from pole with Connor LeCheminant getting upside down and crashing hard in heat two.
Ben Morrison started the 15 Lap Feature on Pole with the son of Lawrence – Scott Baker beside. LeCren, Uncle to Ben – Cole Morrison, Harrison Martens and 2NZ Ryan Barry in the top six grids.
Ben Morrison turned into the first turn side by side with Scott Baker until the tight 3NZ Harris-Suzuki became a bicycle then a unicycle forcing the driver to scratch off-speed and re-gather while losing multiple positions.
Meanwhile, Baker took the lead chased by Cole Morrison who was eventually passed for second by Jakeb Le Cren who had swapped rides with his father and former National Champion Paul Le Cren.
After a restart with five Laps remaining Scott Baker once again pulled away to win 2.72 seconds ahead of Jakeb Le Cren, with Cole Morrison third ahead of Barry, Martens, Lawrence Baker, Gina Harris, Troy Pennington, Ben Morrison and Kaleb Currie in the top 10.
Corbin Anderson and Mike driver both won heat races in the Formula 2 Midget Car division with Former World BMX rider and TQ driver Tim Ferguson taking the third heat.
Anderson started on pole with Midget driver James Earl starting from grid two. Earl, who’s car is out of commission, climbing into the Cometti Racing car for his first taste of F2 racing.
Ferguson, a four-time winner this season Mitch Osborne, Adam Davis in the VIP Car Care #86 and Waikato’s Ben Mathews filling out rows two and three.
Anderson won the start on a track now slicking off as all cars tucked down onto the low line. Davis on Anderson’s bumper with a gap back to Earl who had Osborne in tow.
The caution came out several times grouping up the field for the restart by Anderson went on to win with Davis second and Earl rounding out the podium.
Osborne, Ferguson, Josh Mathews, Lindsay Gate, Ben Mathews, Eric Smith and Brad Curtin finishing inside the top ten.
In the Midget Car division Michael Pickens borrowing the Maskovich Racing King-Esslinger, Zach Daum, Hayden Williams, and Aaron Hodgson took out the 10-Lap heat race wins.
The B-Main was a six-car six-lap affair that lasted just over a minute and a half with no incidents. Ben Cometti winning over Kayne Buck, Matthew McCutcheon, Morgan McHugh, Craig Jefferies, and Kent Palmer.
In the 25-Lap Feature Williams led from the start with Daum initially second until Hayden Guptill found the high line and passed Daum for second and then put moves on his BSL Racing Teammate for the lead.
The track that was a bit too slick for the F2’s to run around the top was more suitable to the powerful Midgets and the class set about displaying some of the closest racing seen this season.
Williams defended and Guptill fell into the clutches of 2NZ Daum who passed into second as Pickens caught Hunnibell. Pickens got around Hunnibell then Guptill for 3rd and directly behind Daum.
Pickens slid in front of Daum then Daum returned the favour at the opposite end of the track. The Greenway Bullet-Toyota of Daum covering the slide job line as the pair hit the tail end of the field already passed by Williams.
Just then a three-car stoppage bought the field side by side for a restart. As the race restarted with six Laps remaining Williams took to the point until Daum launched his car down the inside of Williams drifting back up in front on the preferred high line. Williams got back in front at the next corner and blocked the next slider by Daum. As the pair drifted high Pickens seized the moment to join in and cut below both cars on the front straight alongside Williams.
The pair collided side-on into the corner resulting in Williams bouncing up the track. Pickens held the lead for a lap until Williams’ momentum gave him the lead with yet another slide job in front of Pickens who had no choice but to make contact with the car suddenly inches in front of him.
This broke the momentum of Williams and gave Pickens another chance to move inside of Williams for the lead. The pair then raced hard through Town Bend side by side and banging wheels for the 3rd or 4th time of the race.
Pickens then broke free and went on to win with Daum piping William’s over the line for second. The crowd applauding the skill and fierce show of determination by the podium getters.
Guptill was 4th ahead of prolific TQ winner Ryan Baker who was piloting the Shayne Alach #11 King-SR11 MOPAR. Maskovich, Max Guilford, Hodgson, Jayden Worthington, and Buck in the top ten.
Dion Kendall, Dean Cooper, James Dahm claimed victory in the 10-Lap Sprintcar heat races with Pickens out for the night after his car burst into flames caused by damage after a heat race start crash.
The 25-Lap race saw former National Champion Dean Brindle and current 1NZ Jamie Larsen on the front row with Kihikihi registered Brian Edwards and Tokaroa’s James Dahm in the second row. Grand Prix winner Daniel Rogers and Dion Kendall in row three.
Larsen took the early lead and looked dominant running the thin cushion near the wall and opening up a lead with Brindle lengths ahead of Dahm and Edwards. Larsen setting the fastest lap of the race on lap 6, a quarter of a second faster.
On lap seven Larsen encountered traffic and found himself with nowhere to go as a car spun in front. Larsen following him into the wall and Edwards joining them. This put National Champion Larsen out of the race.
Brindle then emulated Larsen’s start and tore away from Daum and Christchurch’s Matthew Leversedge who began to battle. Leversedge patient on the bottom, Daum ripping the fence. Both having moments of ascendancy.
As the laps wound down neither were able to catch Brindle with Leversedge securing second over Daum in third. Rogers, Cooper, Daniel Eggleton, 3NZ Rodney Wood, Kerry Brocas in the top eight.