Motorsport: Midgets to fight over $36,000, and a sticker

Returning sprintcar driver and current midget 1NZ Michael Pickens is the favourite at $2.50. Photo / File.
Returning sprintcar driver and current midget 1NZ Michael Pickens is the favourite at $2.50. Photo / File.

For more than 70 years, midget drivers have fought over the most coveted sticker in New Zealand Speedway.

This sticker represents a role of honour featuring some of the biggest names in motorsport, dating back to 1939 when it was won by WWII veteran Frank "Satan" Brewer.

It reads 1NZ and is awarded annually to the winner of the New Zealand Midget Championship.

This most sought-after race comes to WXC Speedway - Western Springs in Auckland tonight and features a $36,000 prize pool: the largest in history.

Former 1NZ Shayne Alach will be one of 50+ midgets set to do battle tonight. He hopes his experience and a cool head will put him in a position to reclaim the title.

"I think having won this title before certainly helps in terms of head space," said Alach, who won the 2009 New Zealand Midget Championship in Nelson.

"I don't like thinking too much into a race that hasn't even started yet, so there shouldn't be any more nerves than normal for me."

Alach is a veteran of the sport having raced midgets for almost 20 years and won every significant race in New Zealand, and despite experiencing a lapse in form this season is confident he can win.

"I still have the belief in every race I start, whether it is a heat, feature or championship, and try equally as hard in every race, probably to my own detriment more often than not," said the 37-year-old.

"With the nature of the one-race format Speedway New Zealand employ for this championship, anyone can come out on top and it would be great for me to win another one, even if just to prove to myself that the first one wasn't a fluke."

Midget drivers from around the country are expected to turn out in Auckland tonight, but with home-track advantage and regular high-quality racing, the majority of speedway fans, and the TAB, are expecting a local to take out tonight's honours.

Returning sprintcar driver and current midget 1NZ Michael Pickens is the favourite at $2.50, while 2NZ Brad Mosen ($4.00) and Hayden Williams ($5.00) are the other low numbers.

Gates open at 4pm with the first green flag dropping at 6:15pm.

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