Peter is a sports writer at the Bay of Plenty Times

Jetsprint champs good for tourism

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JETSPRINT 2016: PSP driven by Sam Newdick and navigated by Glenn Mason competing in the world champs at Bay Park. PHOTO/JOHN BORREN
JETSPRINT 2016: PSP driven by Sam Newdick and navigated by Glenn Mason competing in the world champs at Bay Park. PHOTO/JOHN BORREN

The old adage the world is watching you will certainly ring true today when the 2016 ENZED 2016 UIM World Jetsprint Championship final round roars into life at ASB Baypark Stadium today.

The high octane, adrenaline rush awaiting an expected crowd of up to 15,000 due to attend will also be witnessed by a worldwide television audience that can only be good for promoting tourism in the Western Bay.

Bay Venues commercial manager Ervin McSweeney is delighted to be holding the event here. "Any time we can attract a world championship to this region is a bonus. It is great for the region, it is great for everyone here to be able to come and witness such an event," McSweeney said.

"This is the third time the jet sprints have been here so we are pleased to be able to continue to build on what has happened here so far. We are looking forward to it. A lot of hard work has gone into it.

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"The difference between this year and last is that this is a world championship which is a step up. As an event, I think it is going to be even more exciting than ever because I think it will be foot to the floor when the world title is at stake."

The race track was praised by drivers last year for being far more user-friendly than the initial event and slight modifications this time round will only help make the boats go even faster.

One of the many special guests from overseas is Chris Bowman, vice-president of the United States Sprint Boat Association, who married his long-term partner Lisa Webb beside the racetrack at ASB Baypark yesterday.

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He joins NZJSA president Paul Gaston, Greg Mercier from Australian Formula Jet Sprint Association and race director Eric Hoeksema on the race committee.

"This is my second time here at Baypark and this is a beautiful event. We are using it as a guideline for us and the way that they run this show here is just amazing," Bowman said.

"We don't have the stadiums, so to see the crowd and hear the crowd over the boats is just a thrill for us. We have two American teams and two Canadian teams here from the same association at home and these guys are having a blast.

"To us, this is where we want to be and what we want to be like. This is a very good venue."

Mike Costello, secretary of New Zealand Power Boat Federation, is pleased with the professionalism shown by the NZ Jet Sprint Association in scrutineering, safety and general running of the event.

"The overseas drivers are very impressed as I am not aware of any other jet sprint track in the world that has been set up like this in the middle of a professional sporting stadium like this. This is quite unique," Costello said.

"Certainly the Jet Sprint Association have had some major recognition for their initiative in picking up this venue. I think it is going to very good for them in the long term."

The public is advised to get to the stadium early, with gates open at 1pm.

Tickets are available at the venue at the ASB Arena ticket office or phone 0800 BUY TIX (289 849).

- Bay of Plenty Times

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