Bay News Editor and reporter for NZME.

Jetsprint champs a coup for region

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NZ Jetsprint Association event manger Pip Minnell was at Priority Logistics yesterday checking out the superboats that had been shipped to Tauranga for the ENZED UIM Jetsprint World Series. Photo / Andrew Warner
NZ Jetsprint Association event manger Pip Minnell was at Priority Logistics yesterday checking out the superboats that had been shipped to Tauranga for the ENZED UIM Jetsprint World Series. Photo / Andrew Warner

The ENZED UIM Jetsprint World Series is set to blast off in Tauranga with the largest field of superboats yet.

Event manager Pip Minnell said Kiwi world champions Peter Caughey and Dave Hopkins would defend their titles at Baypark Stadium on Saturday, January 30.

It was a coup for the city, she said, as the world series was a biennual event and was not scheduled to be back in New Zealand until at least 2022 because it also rotated between the United States and Australia.

The event had attracted 21, Altherm Group A boats and 21, Suzuki Unlimited superboats with teams travelling from Canada, America and Australia to battle it out, she said.

More than 50 boats and 500 crew and team members would descend on the city, which would provide an economic boost for the region.

"The event is great for the city as it brings in international and domestic visitors that spend money. It's also our policy, first and foremost, to use local companies for everything from marketing to track digging."

Crowd numbers at the previous two events run by the NZ Jetsprint Association attracted 15,000 to 17,000 spectators with 52 per cent of those from out of town, she said. Online ticket sales were steady and the public could also purchase tickets to a practice day on Friday. The pits would be open over both days at a scheduled time.

On Monday, the turf at Baypark would be dug up to cater for the high octane competition, she said.

Bay Venues chief executive Gary Dawson said he had received extremely positive feedback about the event.

"There is a huge amount of interest in this year's event. It will provide Tauranga City with a massive international profile and contribute significantly in terms of positive economic impact."

A Tauranga City Council spokeswoman said the council, Tourism Bay of Plenty, and Bay Venues supported the event.

The NZ Jetsprint Association received $20,000 plus GST from the council's Major Events Fund for marketing and promotion purposes of this year's event.

It supported the event for the first time last year with funding of $25,000 plus GST, the spokeswoman said.

New Zealand Jetsprint Association vice president Erik Hoeksema said Baypark was unique and the drivers loved the track as they got to perform in front of thousands of people.

UIM Jetsprint World Series:

* Friday January 29 at Baypark Stadium, practice day public can attend

* Saturday, January 30, finals from 4pm to 10pm

* Tickets available from eventfinder.co.nz

- Bay of Plenty Times

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