From Robertson Holden International Speedway
PALMERSTON NORTH, N.Z. (December 6, 2016) — The 21-strong lineup included four Americans, with the field split into three groups for three heat races containing two groups each. The action started on the first lap when 66m Graeme Colson rolled after tangling with 19t Jamie Duff, and 21w Stephen Taylor also in attendance. 55a Daniel Thomas duly took the win from pole position ahead of 11usa Kraig Kinser, with 71a Jamie McDonald and 1nz Jonathan Allard making good ground from further back on the grid to finish third and fourth. Allard’s meeting would sadly end before the second heat due to damage sustained from contact with the water truck.
2nz Dean Brindle made the most of 5usa Brad Loyet’s wide line in the second heat, sneaking up the inside to take a deserving win with local hotshot 3nz Jamie Larsen in third place. The final heat saw 54a Michael Pickens beat 1usa Craig Dollansky off the line to register maximum points, with McDonald moving up the most places in the pack. Wins were shared around in the pole shuffle, until McDonald’s good run continued with victory over Pickens and Kinser to earn the best grid for the feature.
After an initial melee the 25-lapper almost ran without a hitch. 51m Rodney Wood tangled with 5a Daniel Rodgers, although both continued from the restart while 8p Paul Donovan and 19p Kendall Savage suffered terminal damage as a result of the fracas. 71a Jamie McDonald led the field away, and 54a Michael Pickens quickly made a move inside 11usa Kraig Kinser to snatch second. The order was unchanged until after the halfway mark, when Pickens made another superb inside pass to take the lead from McDonald. Not far behind 3nz Jamie Larsen performed an equally excellent overtake on Kinser to land himself third place, and this appeared to be the finishing order until Brindle pushed his luck on the last lap trying to snare Kinser, rolling the American. A two-lap dash saw the final positions unchanged, and Pickens had secured a clever win from the in-form McDonald with Larsen completing the podium with an excellent third place.