It was a tough night of racing in the midget class at Stratford Speedway on Saturday night as 21 drivers from all over the North Island lined up to battle it out for the JD Hickman New Zealand Midget Grand Prix.
Drivers were split into two groups to race over two heats gaining as many points as possible. These points gave the drivers their starting grids for the one race final, winner takes all.
A local driver from the red group Lydia Dickinson (75s) lost the chance of winning the title in the first heat after she rolled, landing upside down in turn two. Her car sustained a bit of damage which ended her night. Peter Hunnibell (1NZ) won heat two for the red group. After being a surprise winner at the New Zealand Championship, he was one to watch during this meeting. Stratford driver Ricky Paul (11s) finished second, while another Stratford driver Chris Bagrie (68s) had to retire to the infield after seven laps.
The blue group had very hard racing with Auckland driver Brad Mosen (7a) winning the first race, local driver Duane Hickman (95s) finishing in second place. Brad Curtain (51a) was in a small tangle into turn four which could have ended his race, but he continued to limp to the finish line to gain those extra few points. Will Genefaas (38a) and Neville Thompson (6s) did not finish the race and retired to the infield. Duane Hickman won the second heat for the blue group, followed by Taylor Clarke (99a) and Brad Mosen (7a). While Jared Wade (3NZ), Mark Willians (24s) and Campbell Stewart (97s) all retired to the infield on lap 10.
Going into the final race with a big field of 18 midgets on track, the possibility of some spectacular crashes was high, but luckily it was a relatively clean race over 20 laps. Duane Hickman (95s) lead the race right from the drop of the green flag through to the drop of the chequered flag becoming this year's Midget Grand Prix Champion with Brad Mosen (7a) the defending champion finishing in second place and Michael Brunt (17a) in third.
The saloon class raced for the Plews Memorial which had nine cars line up to start the night, with the return of Jarrod Macbeth (908) in his new Pro X Machine. Jarrod was caught in a small tangle in race two which put him out for the night but he was very pleased with the car. Joe Ingram (27s) won the Plews Memorial, with Paula Hinton (25s) finishing in second place and Thomas Korff (16s), last year's winner, went on to finished in third after Russell Gorrie (51s) was excluded from race three.
The vintage midgets also came along for a display and a demonstration run to show the spectators how far midgets have evolved over the years.
Supporting classes for the night were adult ministocks, stockcars and superstocks.
Come along to Stratford Speedway this coming weekend for the Michielsen Transport West Coast Teams Challenge 2016, where five Stockcar teams from all over the North Island including two teams from Stratford will battle it out to take home the Vern Broadmore Memorial Shield.