The usually strong Waverley contingent is expected to again dominate when a new-look hydroplane series begins at Lake Taupo this weekend.
The Hydro Thunder Grand Prix, a three meeting regatta taking in the Lake Taupo event this weekend, Lake Karapiro on February 3-4 and Blue Lake in Rotorua on March 3-4.
Each meeting had previously been stand-alone regattas, but for the first time have been melded together to form a three series championship.
The battle-hard Waverley crew features Warwick Lupton (GP.007 Annihilator), sons Ken Lupton (GP009 Lucas Oil) and Jack Lupton (GP57 Penrite-Repco) and cousin David Alexander (GP777 The Steeler), while good mate and neighbour Chris Picard (GP24 Waverley Harvesting The Tiger) will race Warwick Lupton's original Annihilator built in 2000.
They are all up against four other hydroplanes from around the country.
The longstanding and coveted Masport Cup is a stand-alone trophy up for grabs at one of the traditional venues each season with the holder getting to choose where to defend it.
Jack Lupton has won the Masport Cup for the last three years running and this year he has elected to defend the trophy at Lake Karapiro next month.
"Karapiro probably suits the set-up of my boat best and it is regarded as the best venue for high performance water sports, obviously including rowing," Jack Lupton said.
"I chose to defend the Masport Cup last year on Lake Rotoiti Nelson Lakes and won it again for the third time. I thought it was about time it was raced for in the South Island."
In the meantime, Lupton will be breaking in new hardware installed in GP57 since he last raced in Cromwell in November last year.
"I bought some new hardware from Bert Henderson in Canada and haven't had a chance to test it on the water yet. Bert Henderson is the man who builds pretty much all the top boats coming out of Canada and is well-respected worldwide," Lupton said.
"We (Waverley crew) all raced at Cromwell and while there were a few issues it hopefully gave us the chance to get rid of any gremlins. Because we are from Waverley people tend to think we are a team, but I can assure you when we get out on the water it's everyone for themselves.
"All our boats appear to be running well at the moment, but we will know more after testing on the water at Lake Taupo on Friday."