NZ MIDGET TITLE NIGHT 2
A respectable crowd presented for the 76th running of the New Zealand Midget car title. Fans were subjected to an
embarrassing night for the sport on a track not fit for a CTRA Quarter Midget Title let alone a SNZ Midget Title.
No doubt the excuses will be trotted out but the reality is there aren't any. Had the track presented to a hospital
it would have been pronounced Dead On Arrival. One-laned the entire night and rubber down early in the show it's hard
to imagine how it could have been any worse. Sadly it's the continuation of a downhill slide. 5-10 years ago Huntly
was rated as one of the best tracks in the country. However in 2018 it's one of the worst for any class other than
Grid for the championship race saw 3nz Spencer Bayston on pole with 9usa Zach Daum on the outside. 81s Michael Kendall
and 88c Jeremy Webb. Webb made a run through the pole shuffle with some questionnable officiating playing no small part
in his success. 2nz Brad Mosen and 31a Daniel Thomas occupied row 3. Others of note included 1nz Michael Pickens from
grid 8. 5a Brock Maskovich from grid 10 and 27a Hayden Williams from grid 16. Williams was handily poised going into the
final round of heats but made a meal of it and required a B-Main transfer. Despite the meeting running way over time a
4-wide salute happened and it was time to get it on!
Bayston led away with Daum, Kendall and Mosen in tow. Pickens was quickly into the 5th position but seemed ambitiously
keen to explore other lines. That led to 71a Breyton Davison sneaking up the inside to snatch the 5th spot. However
Pickens would enjoy a moment of good fortune. At the back of the pack 79a Max Guilford made contact with 33a James
Cossey whilst attempting an inside lunge into turn three. The cautions came on and Pickens went back to his spot at the
last completed lap - 5th place.
Bayston led away from the restart as normal service resumed. The battle was for the 4th spot as Mosen tried to desperately
hold on despite driving what was clearly a vastly inferior setup to the Pickens machine. Mosen was as sideways as a
drifter compared with the arrow straight Pickens but lap after lap was able to keep the national champion at bay. I give
Mosen a lot of credit over the weekend, it's the best I've seen him drive for some time. Unfortunately for
Mosen he couldn't hold on forever and Pickens made the move into fourth and quickly began to bridge the gap to the lead trio.
Folks, I know I'm focussing on Pickens a lot but there wasn't much else going on! A spin for Guilford brought on the
cautions for a second time.
Once again Bayston led away and yet again the action was on Pickens as the lead four put a gap on Mosen and the rest.
Pickens was all over Kendall, pushing, nudging and trying everything within his powers to conjure a pass. Eventually
Kendall made a mistake, going wide in carpark bend and allowing Pickens to slip up the inside. A lap was just completed
allowing Pickens to retain the spot when a melee erupted down the back of the field. Once again Guilford was involved,
a perfect 100% involvement in race stoppages. We had 8 laps to run in the national title. Under the caution
Pickens took to the grass in an apparent attempt to cool his tyres.
Bayston led away again from Daum but it was disaster for Pickens. His car not turning as expected through the first
corner which allowed Kendall up the inside. The battle was on again between two of the most successful combatants
in the history of the New Zealand title. Again, Pickens heaped on the pressure and managed to manufacture a pass up
the inside exiting highway bend to regain the third spot. With the laps winding down Daum closed the gap to Bayston,
giving everything he had. Sadly he wasn't quite able to get on the tail tank. The USAC champion Spencer Bayston
is now the New Zealand champion with Zach Daum second and Michael Pickens third. Post-race Pickens would apologise to the
fans for two nights of utter crap. Doing the job of the Huntly promotion who should have issued an unreserved
apology for what must be a serious contender for the worst New Zealand Midget title in the history of the sport.