By Allan Powell
Finally after 3 rainouts for this meeting and being the fourth attempt to run the Ryco 24.7 North Island Midget championship at Huntly and Te Rapa Speedway. The meeting had been scheduled to run on the Saturday night, but club president Red Wootton made the call to run Friday night as Saturday the rain was back again and would have caused another rainout. This turned out to be a great call to run on the Friday. With this meeting being another triple header for championship events it was already going to be a big night of racing. On this night were the North Island Midget championship, Waikato Sprint Car and Waikato Ministock champs. Only 2 withdrawals from the big field of Midgets as most of the midgets come from the Auckland area plus 4 cars from Wanganui and Stratford. The Sprintcars had their field halved as some of those cars were from down near Palmerston North and would have found it hard to travel up on the Friday with work. All the Ministocks drivers were Huntly registered for their championship night.
The Ryco 24.7 midgets were split into 2 groups. Group one was headed by 2NZ Brad Mosen. Starting on pole was 21V Peter Huijs from Wanganui. Huijs got a great start to lead from the start to the finish as was a bit of a surprise to the other drivers as they hadn’t heard much about him and this could play out at the final points for the final. As the laps went by Huijs lead from Mosen, 91A Hayden Guptill and 31a Daniel Thomas all wanting to take second spot. In the final laps of this fast track again Mosen set a new lap record of 13.56 only to have Guptill lower this to 13.52 seconds. Huijs took the win from Mosen, Guptill and Thomas 3rd. Heat 2 for group 1 was won this time by Guptill, Thomas then Mosen who hadn’t picked up the win yet, but was still in the points for the pole shuttle later on.
The second group of midgets was headed by 39A Peter Hunnibell current 2017 Speed fest champion at Huntly recently. 6A Cam Corbett rolled his midget after being hit by 74V Ben Huijs with Huijs being sent to the infield. Another new midget lap record in this heat went Hunnibell with a time of 13.418 so the track was on fire. Heat one was won by 97A Michael Brunt then Hunnibell and 3rd 25A Scott Buckley. Heat 2 for group 2 was won by Hunnibell, Buckley, and then Brunt.
After all the points are posted it was time for the top 6 points placers to go for broke on grid positions. 5th and 6th started and if you won you would progress against the next highest driver. Mosen ended with pole from Hunnibell, Guptill, Brunt, Thomas and Buckley. Now it was time for the final of 25 laps. The track was still fast as the drivers were still doing wheel stands through the corners. Mosen lead from Guptill who had pasted Hunnibell. Thomas drove around the outside of Brunt into 4th. First cautions were on lap 8 with rear markers coming together. Lap 12 Brunt was finished and Guptill was going backwards from 2nd. Thomas was now closing in on Mosen with 8 laps to go and had got past only to go back a place with the next caution. Mosen continued in 1st place and held a good space back to Thomas, and then Thomas started to edge closer but not enough laps. At the finish and new 2017 Ryco 24.7 North Island Midget champion is Brad Mosen from Daniel Thomas and 3rd Peter Hunnibell.
Second part of the racing show was the Seatbelt Solutions, Washworld and Hart Jewellers Waikato Sprintcar championship. This was run over 3 heats on points. Only 6 cars, but there to race hard and fast. Heat one was won by 97M Brad Marsh, 2nd 55A Daniel Thomas racing the midget and Sprint car and 3rd 17M Jarvis Tidd. During this heat Daniel Thomas set a lowest time of 12.25 seconds for a lap.
Heat two 18P Greg Pickerill was leading and catch me if you can and held on the win from a hard charging Thomas and Tidd. Next up was the 20lap final and it was fast. Thomas led the final from Pickerill. As the laps went by and a caution on lap 13 to Tidd spinning his car. From the start Thomas had a right rear tyre going flat which he didn’t know of. As the laps went by and in the final 3 laps Thomas slowed allowing Pickerill to lead from Tidd with Thomas trying to hold on. The race was won by Greg Pickerill and the overall winner of the Waikato Sprintcars from 2nd Daniel Thomas and 3rd 97A Paul Hodgson who on this night had also driven a Modified and a Sprintcar.
Next part of the triple header was the Hamilton Collision Repairs Waikato Ministocks. Heat one was won by 57H Dylan Marshall and the second heat was won by his younger brother Ryan in 15H Ministock. The final heat was a great duel between 4 drivers for the win. Dylan Marshall made it through to first place with 5H Connor Van Lieshout, 2nd and Ryan Marshall 3rd. The overall winner in the Ministocks after 2 wins on the night Dylan Marshall and in 1st equal place Connor Van Lieshout and 3rd Ryan Marshall. To finish the night off and say thanks to all our spectators, fans and sponsors was a huge fireworks display. Speedway will start again back in Huntly PlaceMakers Speedway in November for another huge racing season.