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2019 Civil Construction NZ Sprintcar Title








1NZ       Buddy Kofoid (USA)

2NZ       Buddy Jamie Larsen (82P)

3NZ       Michael Pickens

4           Connor Rangi (57N)

5           Stephen Taylor (21P)

6           Jayden Dodge (41T)

7           Jamie Duff (19C)

8           Sam O'Callaghan (75N/T)

9           Matthew Leversedge (78C)

10         Daniel Anderson (44T)

11         Matt Honeywell (64C)

12         Shaun Ashton (73C)

13         Jason Scott (ooT)

14         Tony Uhlenburg (28P)


US Schoolboy winner of 2019 New Zealand Sprintcar Title says “I’ll be back”

With a wide smile and quoting Arnold Schwarzenegger’s ‘Terminator’ character’s famous “I’ll be back”, US Sprintcar phenomenon Buddy Kofoid says he is already working on ways to return to defend the Civil Construction 2019 New Zealand Sprintcar Title he won so convincingly on Saturday night at Heavy Trax Hire Central Motor Speedway die-hard supporters of Kiwi drivers were left wide-eyed and lost for words.

What’s more, after just a month in the country where he made the Deep South, and especially Te Anau his home and Heavy Trax Hire Central Motor Speedway on the outskirts of Cromwell his home track, Buddy says that with his temporary New Zealander status he’s more than happy for South Islanders to claim his as their win.

And will the coveted 1NZ be on his sprintcar stateside? That’s a given, says Buddy who flew out of Queenstown for San Francisco via Sydney on Monday clutching the Civil Construction 2019 NZ Title Cup, the 2019 Sprintcar GP Cup and Ruapuna Speedway’s prestigiousannual  Gold Cup. Not bad for a month’s work. He can also add to his bulging career achievement book, Ruapuna’s 15 lap race record and a new 13.18 second track record for Central Motor Speedway set on lap three of the 25 lap Title final, a feat that in itself would normally rate headlines.

As much as the Title became the Buddy Kofoid Show, the young man himself has no hesitation in saying how impressed his is with the calibre of New Zealand drivers, more so considering that his season can be 70 to 80 meetings compared with maybe 20 tops for New Zealand drivers. So with his first sprintcar win at just 11 and although only turned 17 at the beginning of December, Buddy was in fact among the more experienced drivers scorching the Central Otago clay on Friday and Saturday nights. Coming in at second and the right to have 2NZ on his car was the 2019 North Island Sprintcar Champion Jamie Larsen with Michael Pickens who in the heats gave pause for thought about Buddy’s chances but came up short in the 25 lap Title and will now have to paint 3NZ over 2NZ. What do they say about brides’ maids?

Other track performances to whip up crowd frenzy came from Jamie McDonald (71a) who during a Saturday night heat set a new, albeit short-lived track record of 13.38 seconds that in the Title feature race Buddy trimmed down to 13.18 seconds, and the South Island’s own stellar star of the youth brigade, 18 year old Connor Rangi (57n) who accumulated enough points to start the Title race alongside Buddy at the front of pack. He finished a well-earned fourth with fellow sprintcar young guns Stephen Taylor (21P), Jayden Dodge (41t), Jamie Duff (19c), Sam O’Callaghan(representing Central Motor Speedway) and Matt Leversedge (78c) filling places 5 through to 9. With the exception of Stephen Taylor all are south Island drivers. First of the more mature finishers was Daniel Anderson (44t) in 10th place which is something of a fitting reward for the man who brought Buddy to New Zealand, provided him with a sprintcar and made him part of his family.    

Everything about Buddy Kofoid defies belief. His fresher than fresh face. His thin as a pin build. His phenomenal speed. His ability to read a speedway track’s ever changing conditions. His uncanny anticipation of other drivers he’s lapping although this cooler than an ice cold cucumber confesses lapping drivers is the only time he can feel a little worried.

Asked if racing was the focus of his month in New Zealand, Buddy says he managed to find time for taking in the southern sights, going on his first ever helicopter ride and doing school work. An 11th grader, Buddy’s school term started on January 8 so from then on it has been hours on the computer with study and assignments. Later in the year he will be a 12th grader after which comes College, but not for Buddy; he’ll be sprintcar racing full time with his ultimate objective to race NASCAR or follow Ayrton Senna, his all-time motorsport hero, into Formula 1.

What they say…

Daniel Anderson(44t) who brought Buddy to New Zealand. … The morning after his big win, Buddy is already talking about working on ways to return to defend the 2019 Title. He’s also keen for people to appreciate that his Title win is a win for his, and my, crew. Crew chief Doug Rutz who owned several of the sprintcars Buddy raced in the States, Bradley and Anna Malloy, Te Anau, Trevor and Linda Bain, Balclutha, Colin and Charlaine Black of Fairview, Queenstown, my daughter Courtney and partner Amanda, not forgetting motor builder Jim Richmond who flew out from the US to support Buddy at the New Zealand Sprintcar GP.

Mike Sentch, Central Motor Speedway track announcer … Never in my years of motorsport have I seen grids one and two of a Title race occupied by a 17 and 18 year old (Nelson’s Connor Rangi). The huge crowds both nights at Heavy Trax Central Motor Speedway also show the popularity of speedway and the contribution it makes to the region’s economy.

AJ Batt, speedway author, co-founder of the South Island’s Sprintcar War of the Wings and track announcer … Buddy, what a talent. I think his breaking the track record in the Title feature race summed up his dominance. Apart from Buddy, the big winner was the Central Motor Speedway Club for running such a great event and giving drivers an excellent track both nights.

Dick Gray, long-time speedway promoter… In my 60 years involvement with speedway I’ve never seen a driver like Buddy Kofoid. By bringing Buddy out for the Title, Daniel Anderson has further raised the bar for sprintcar racing, and not just in the South Island but the North Island, too

Phillip Mills, former sprintcar driver and owner… I’ve heard North Island speedway drivers, teams and fans were shocked to see just how fast young and older South Island sprintcar drivers and cars are going. The track was great both nights. Well done Heavy Trax Hire Central Motor Speedway.

Michael Pickens and Jamie Larsen at the prize giving, said tongue-in-cheek. … “Let’s buy a plane ticket to get Buddy back to the US as soon as possible.”

Alistair Kelso, co-founder of the South Island’s Hydraulink Sprintcar War of the Wings series… It doesn’t get better than tonight and Friday. With all these young drivers up the pointy end, the future for sprintcars has never looked more positive.



Stop Press: Seventeen-year-old USA sprintcar star, Buddy Kofoid wins 2018/18 NZ Sprintcar GP.

Last night Buddy continued his winning ways at Riverside Speedway.

Next stop is Heavy Trax Hire Central Motor Speedway where tomorrow (Friday) and Saturday he’ll be the driver to beat in the Civil Construction 2019 New Zealand Sprintcar Title.

Congratulations to GP second and third place getters,  the two Jamie’s, Larsen, and McDonald.


 Gold Medal Performance From Kofoid In the Gold Cup

Young American driver, Michael ‘Buddy’ Kofoid continued to impress with his driving talent with claiming his fourth Feature win in a row since arriving in the country, a career record for the 17 year-old, when be completely outclassed the field in the Avon Insurance Brokers Gold Cup in the second night of the meeting at the Racecourse Hotel and Motor Lodge Ruapuna Speedway in Saturday evening.

He now heads south for the New Zealand title and Grand Prix in the coming week and will be a short out to claim both. Kofoid a star on the raise and a name that New Zealander’s will now follow with keen interest to track his racing career as it develops back in the USA on either the dirt or pavement tracks.

Kofoid seems to find gaps that his others cannot see, In his final heat he went from fifth to first in one passing movement coming out of the Town Bend, to the roar of the crowd, earlier in the race he was three wide when he split Matt Honeywell and Jamie Duff in another breath-taking move. before going on to win with ease with the Californian then received a standing ovation at the end of the race, a rear happening at a speedway track.

After a tangle saw damage to Kofi’s car which force him out of his first heat which was won by Jamie McDonald of Auckland. From Jayden Dodge and Australian bases Jason Pryde. Local, Duff took out the next heat from Kapiti’s Jamie Larsen and Honeywell, with Caleb Baughan unlucky when leading for the 10 of the 15 laps before a flat tyre forced his retirement.

The next heat saw Larsen trying to pull off a pass on Luke Keegan on the final lap to win the race, it was always looked live the move was not there and the two cars touched and rolled up against the safety fence which ended Keegan’s night. Te Anau’s Matt Anderson took out the restart from Matt Leversedge with McDonald making up for a disappointing Friday night racing in third place.

Kofoid started along side Duff in the 30 lap Gold Cup Feature and quickly took the lead with Larsen moving passed Duff. By lap six the American was over 2 seconds clear and three laps later was lapping rivals. With Kofoid controlling the race Duff was coming under pressed from Woods and then McDonald and Duff’s car set-up saw him drifting back down the field, finally finishing in 9th place.

On lap eighteen Kofoid was over six seconds clear when the race went under yellow when Leversedge claimed the well in front of the Control Tower sending his car into a series of high rolls. Leversedge quickly climbed out of his car. When the race restarted Kofoid again gapped the field with each lap with Baughan moving into fourth place ahead of McDonald with Dodge also passing McDonald in the closing laps.

Kofoid when on to claim the race by a over a massive 10 season margin, from Larsen and Wood followed home by Baughan, Dodge, McDonald, Conner Rangi (Nelson), Honeywell, Duff and Pryde rounding out the top ten. While Kofoid dominated the racing the two nights produced some of the best sprintcar racing seen on the Ruapuna track and again showed the Gold Cup is a trophy that brings the best out of all the drivers

In the support classes current New Zealand Three Quarter Midget champion, Jeremy Webb had a good final run before he defends his title at Ruapuna on the 8th and 9th February when winning both heats and the Feature. Liam McCoubrey claimed second place in the second heat and then followed Webb home in the Feature with Gareth Bindon in third place.

Glenn Everett had his best run for several seasons in the Midget division with a win and a third place in the heats before having a great battle over the closing laps with Jack Low in the Feature with the lead changing several times over the closing laps with Everett claiming a narrow win from Low with Glen Durie, who won the other heat, in third place.

The Modified Sprint section also produced close racing with three different winners, Kate Warren took out the opening heat, Nigel Jackson the second with Cromwell’s Daryl Scott coming home first in the Feature from Verdon McHaffie and Jackson.


Gold Cup Feature. Kofoid 1, Larsen 2, Wood 3, C Baughan 4, Dodge 5, McDonald 6, Rangi 7, Honeywell 8, J Duff 9, Pryde 10, Anderson 11, R Baughan 12, North 13, Manson 14, Ashton 15, Harcourt 16, Gaudion 17. DNF: O'Callaghan, Leversedge, S Duff -

Article published with thanks to Ruapuna Speedway Facebook.



LATEST NEWS: DRIVER'S LIST ... 2NZ Michael Pickens ... 4A Daniel Rogers ... 4T Kyle Shearing ... 6N Alicia McLauchlan ... 6T Whetu Taewa ... 7C Jason Manson ... 8USA Buddy Kofoid ... 10T Nathan Astle ... 15C Steve Duff Jnr ... 16T Mathew Anderson ... 19C Jamie Duff ... 21I Colin Entwisle ... 21P Stephen Taylor ... 27I Daniel McKinnel ... 28P Tony Uhlenberg ... 32C Martin Harcourt ... 41T Jayden Dodge ... 42P Stuart Rose ... 42T Nigel Colvin ... 44T Daniel Anderson ... 46E Paddy North ... 51M Rodney Wood ... 54I Jason Pryde ... 54C Brent Gaudion ... 57N Connor Rangi ... 59C Caleb Baughan ... 64C Matt Honeywell ... 71A Jamie McDonald ... 73C Shaun Ashton ... 75N Sam O'Callaghan ... 78C Matthew Leversedge ... 82P Jamie Larsen ... 87C Luke Keegan ... 88T Jason Scott ... 91T Andy Erskine ... 95C Ray Baughan ... 96I Ross McKinnel ... 98T Mark Evans.  Withdrawal: 89N Jason Smith.



It’s the ‘Attack of Winged Demons’ with some 38 sprintcars from all over NZ and at least one International rattling their cages impatient to invade Heavy Trax Hire Central Motor Speedway on Friday, Feb 1 and Saturday, Feb 2 for the Civil Construction 2019 NZ Sprintcar Title. Two evenings of 160kph wheel-to-wheel combat for the honour and bragging rights of becoming 1NZ.

Will this be the USA super star 17-year-old Buddy Kofoid or one of too many to list home grown heroes like 2014-15 1NZ Jamie ‘Duffman’ Duff, 18-year-old up Connor Rangi, 2016-17 1NZ Jamie Larsen, 2017-18 2NZ Michael Pickens or 2016-17 3NZ Jamie McDonald? . Since arriving in New Zealand on December 28, Buddy has already made a big name for himself for his blistering pace with feature race wins at Central Motor Speedway and also Ruapuna where he’s knocked 5 seconds off the 15 lap record.

Both evenings are guaranteed to be action-packed to the extreme with drivers pushing it to the limit to gain valuable points during heats to not only be one of the 18 to compete in the final but to also secure the best grid positions. The format is for the 39 starters to be seeded into 6 groups … Bermuda Pools, X Factor Cars, HPE, Barnett Scaffolding, Lakeland Glass and Kiwi Kids eduCare Centres… competing in three heats each evening. Two further heats on Saturday will sort 16 top cars to compete in the Title final. The remaining 20 plus sprintcars will then pull out all the stops in the B-main for finishes that on accumulated points will make them the two to advance to the 18 sprintcar Title race. A race to beat all races!

Racing starts at 6pm both days with lots of other fast and favourite classes on the clay including six-shooters, saloons and super saloons, productions and youth ministocks. There will be food concessions and a few surprises that all add up to a memorable family day out where if you are early enough, gates open at 4pm for parking around the track … one of only two or three speedway tracks country-wide able to offer this.

A meeting as huge as this would not be possible without sponsorship with special mention of Civil Construction that since its establishment in 2011 has built an enviable reputation throughout Central Otago and beyond in earthworks, drainage, civil works, roading and general contracting. Supporting the 2019 NZ Sprintcar Title is part of Civil Construction’s focus on community involvement and putting people first.



by AJ Batt (sprintcar and speedway doyen, author and track announcer)

 It pains me to say this, but I've attended 38 editions of the New Zealand Sprintcar Championship, been on the announcing team at 12 of them, but never yet called a Mainlander home into victory lane- or in fact onto the podium. I'm getting old and if there's one last thing remaining on my speedway bucket list, well this weekend presents a grand opportunity for one of our boys- or Alicia (the only SI sprintcar lady driver) to stand up and be counted.

For a good number of years the South Island dominated what has now become the New Zealand Sprintcar Championship, but to be fair, apart from a couple of blips on the radar,the past forty years have been a benefit for North Island based drivers. The last South Island resident to win the nationals is Jamie Duff, who took out the 'big gig' at Palmerston North in 2015 but so desperate are the 'Rangitoto Yanks' to 'manipulate' the records they say (correctly) that Jamie was contracted to Auckland so the win is theirs. WRONG!!!  Duffman is as much a part of Canterbury as a nor west wind, buggered buildings and winning sporting teams. Apply that previous logic of 'where you were registered'  and the Jaffa's will also gladly claim Jonathan Allard and  Sammy Swindell who are as American as apple pie.

We shall therefore claim Buddy Kofoid, a long time (3 weeks?) resident of Te Anau but I kind of get the feeling that we won't need to rope in the likeable, throttle heavy and super talented 17-year-old kid from Penngrove , California because 'the south, it is a rising'...but if we need to, then we've drafted Buddy onto 'our side'.

Sprintcar fever is alive and well on the Mainland, and it’s a frenzy fuelled by the highly successful Hydraulink War of the Wings. The northerners can only dream about having a domestic series that ticks the boxes- great competition, stunning growth in Sprintcar numbers, a $100,000 prize pool and regular 20 plus lineups in the pits. Our boys now know what it’s like to regularly do 25 lap features...they are well used to heavy traffic and above all else, they are regulars at Cromwell- a track that really is too tough to tame. 

Jamie Duff is obviously 'the lord of the sprintcar ring' here on the mainland, but he's got some super talented racers who are really applying some heat- and they're young! Connor Rangi, Sam O'Callaghan, Steve Duff, Jayden Dodge, Caleb Baughan have looked in great form this season...but so too have the seasoned campaigners like Ray Baughan, Daniel Anderson and Matt Honeywell, and we all know that the 'Captain' Jason Scott will defend his patch here at Cromwell stoically. There's that other good Christchurch lad Matt Leversedge who has been racing it up with the big boys at Western Springs and notched up some great results...and then the unknown quantity of Invercargill born Jason Pryde who races in among the really big dogs on the World Sprintcar Series stage in Australia.

Only a fool would write off the North Islanders. Jamie Larsen and Jamie McDonald are both hugely popular down here- in fact they're the sort of 'good buggers' that we like down this way. Rodney Wood has won his two national Sprintcar crowns here at Cromwell and knows how to go around here super fast. Stephen Taylor's obvious talent is not on display as often as we'd like to see while the TAB pundits are likely to have installed Michael 'Slim' Pickens as a raging hot favourite. By all means forget the other drivers not yet mentioned, but that comes back to bite you firmly on the butt with few picking Kerry Brocas to win the nationals last year, and even fewer were behind Ben Finemore in 2005...but it only takes one good race.....a ship load of luck and every thing to click on the night. No pressure boys (and girl) but its time for someone to stake a claim for the biggest prize in NZ Sprintcar racing, and I can't think of a better track for a South Islander to do it, in this the 49tgh New Zealand Sprint Car Championship!