Giants of Midgets
LISMORE Speedcar driver Craig Smith will face one of the toughest tests of his career when he challenges a strong international line-up in the World Midget Championship at Castrol Edge Lismore Speedway tonight and tomorrow night.
Even though he has raced speedway for eight years, this weekend is a big one for Smith, 38, who is in his first full season of Speedcar racing - and the opposition does not get any tougher.
"Some of the best drivers from America and New Zealand are here in Lismore for the rounds of the World Midget Championship, so it won't be easy," he said.
Smith, a sign writer by trade, comes from a diversified motor sport background.
In addition to competing in speedway, he also has raced on road courses in Formula Three and Formula Ford.
But speedway - and in particular Midget-Speedcar racing - has given him the greatest buzz.
He has driven Compact Speedcars and Litre Sprints but says he has always liked Speedcars.
"It is the racing they put on and it is a dream come true to run in one of the best classes in speedway," he said.
Smith will race the latest model factory-built Spike chassis car powered by a four-cylinder Chrysler-Dodge based Mopar engine that develops more than 350 horsepower.
A big contingent of American and New Zealand drivers will take on competitors from New South Wales and Queensland, headed by Sydney's former national champion Nathan Smee.
"The Americans and New Zealanders are here to win," promoter David Lander said.
"There is some impressive overseas talent here and the two nights, with the final on Saturday night, should produce some great Midget-Speedcar racing."
The Americans who will race at the Lismore Showground are Andrew Felker (Missouri), Brady Bacon (Oklahoma), Tyler Thomas (Oklahoma), Zach Daum (Illinois) and Austin Prock (Indiana).
Michael Pickens heads the New Zealand challenge that also features Brad Mosen, Hayden Williams and Leon Burgess.
Pickens, 33, is a multi New Zealand champion and former winner of the Australian Speedcar Grand Prix.
He is a vastly experienced campaigner, having raced Midgets successfully in the United States.
Gates open at 3pm and racing starts at 6pm on both nights.