Midget car rising star Aaron Hodgson raced to a home-track success at Baypark Speedway on Saturday night, extending a recent run of winning form.
Hodgson drove to victory in the 20-lap Seamount Jamboree Classic, recording his second win in a fortnight following a Western Springs victory that built the momentum of his season.
“We built a new car for this season and it’s taken a little while to get on top of it,” said Hodgson.
“And with so much racing being cancelled or postponed that’s taken a bit longer than usual.
“The team gave me a really good car tonight and the driver did his job.”
Hodgson scored second and fourth placings in his heat races to earn a front row starting position alongside former NZ champ Brad Mosen. He led the first half of the race but was passed after a mid-race caution by nine-time NZ champion Michael Pickens.
Pickens led for six laps but ran over debris from another car and cut his right rear tyre. In the four-lap sprint to the finish Hodgson led home Peter Hunnibell and Jayden Worthington.
It was the second Baypark meeting raced on a new track surface prepared by a crew led by Tauranga sprint car racer Rodney Wood.
“It was best track we’ve raced on here for a long time. It was cool to race on,” said Hodgson.
Pickens made up for some of his disappointment by switching to his sprint car and winning a 20-lap feature chased hard by former NZ champions Wood, Hamilton’s Dean Brindle and Jamie Duff (Christchurch), who were covered by just 0.7secs at the chequered flag.
It was the 199th feature race win of Pickens’ speedway career.
“The track was awesome tonight. Hats off to Rodney Wood and his team who have worked so hard on it,” said Pickens.
Super Saloon competition saw Tauranga’s Chris Cowling became the first driver to score three feature race wins at Baypark this summer. Cowling passed Sam Waddell with five laps to go, shortly before Waddell slowed with a broken rear suspension mount. Scott Hayward came home second ahead of Steve Cowling.
Corbin Anderson made easy work of the F2 Midget feature racing clear by half-a-lap in the 15-lapper. Hawke’s Bay teenager Jeremy Browne enjoyed another successful visit to Baypark, winning twice in a night for the second time this season.
This weekend Baypark Speedway is running the inaugural Bay Piston Cup 30-lap Sprint Car feature race with a limited crowd and livestream coverage.