Western Springs Speedway opened the gates for its 90th Jubilee Season with fireworks in the sky and on the track last weekend.
A large crowd filed into the stadium after fighting through Auckland’s dreaded Friday afternoon traffic to witness Quarter Midgets, Three Quarter Midgets, Formula Two Midgets, Midgets and Sprintcars share the quarter-mile clay oval.
As racing got underway regular front runner in the children’s quarter midget class Emerson Vincent lost steering in a scary moment. His day-glow orange machine made a b-line for the concrete wall but managed to scrub off enough speed as to not destroy the car.
This was the only quarter midget race and was won by Bryce Pennington followed by Kate Groshinski and Keiano Weir.
The Three Quarter Midget feature was won by Scott Baker to continue the Baker Racing dominance at Western Springs. His third and second place heat results good enough to make him top qualifier earning him the right to pick either spot on the front row.
He elected to pick the outside where he beat Hawke’s Bay veteran Duane Todd across the line on Lap 1 and duly went on to take a lights-to-flag win.
Second home was National Champion Jeremy Webb of Christchurch who was getting an early season look at both the track and the stiff Auckland based competition in preparation for this season Championship to be held early in the new year at the venue.
Heat race winner Ben Morrison was third in the 13-lap feature after starting eighth on a track that proved tricky for the small cars all night.
The F2 midgets saw Heat 1 winner Kenny Roberts start on the front row alongside Heat 4 winner Mitch Osborne. Osborne’s feature ended on Lap 9 when he rode over the wheel of a car and tumbled into the wall.
Roberts went on to win over fellow BSL Racing driver Travis Buckley with Lindsay Gate also with a podium finish. Only 10 of the 18 starters finished with the track condition playing a part in the night’s attrition.
The open grade midget cars had a disjointed slate of racing with only two of the usual five heat races being run. In Heat 1 Leon Burgess crashed by himself resulting in a trip to the hospital but was released the following day with a broken rib among his injuries. This prompted a reworking of the track conditions that ate up considerable time during the night.
The midget feature was reduced to 20 Laps but didn’t fail to entertain. The starting grids was decided by marble draw.
The track, still lively, saw Williams win the restart after a first-lap caution when fellow front row starter Matthew McCutcheon broke his suspension ending his night.
Williams finishing ahead of Brock Maskovich and perennial favourite Michael Pickens who had the lead several times but was unable to deny a Williams who used a lap car to great advantage to first get by Pickens and then establish a small lead once passed the lapped car.
Pickens gained ground on Williams on the last lap but ultimately gave away second in a race to the line with brother-in-law Maskovich.
The Sprintcar division also lost several races due to mid meeting track work and completed two of their heat races with wins going to Pickens and 2NZ Jamie Larsen who went on to finish first and second respectively in the feature race. The 20-lap affair was reduced to 10 laps and saw early race leader Dean Brindle home in third.
Catch all the action from this meeting on demand and the next Western Springs Speedway meeting on www.speedshifttv.com