Jetboating: Hot competition on the water

By Jetboating By Staff Reporter

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Kiwi No1 Peter Caughey/Karen Marshall race the largest small block engine in the world. Photo/Neil Jones
Kiwi No1 Peter Caughey/Karen Marshall race the largest small block engine in the world. Photo/Neil Jones

The floodgates open to allow the adrenaline to flow at Shelter View Jetsprint track tomorrow for round one of the New Zealand Jet Sprint 2013/2014 season.

The action begins at 11am on the track, 12km north of Wanganui, and the ground crew have done the hard yards to ensure everything is ready.

There are 45 teams competing across the three classes, and it is a matter of personal opinion whether the Suzuki Superboats, the NZ 400 class or the PSP Group As will provide the most intense competition on the day.

Certainly the Suzuki Superboats have the power advantage, and those methanol-guzzling monsters are always a crowd pleaser. The drivers have a high level of respect for their machines, and for the opposition.

Wanganui's Peter Huijs (driver of the 1400hp Quad rotor turbo- powered Mad Az) gave his thoughts on the competition this year.

"I feel this year the top six superboats have all stepped up. Peter Caughey will always be the top threat, with Leighton (Minnell) close on his tail," Huijs said.

"I see Pat Dillon has his jet unit working extremely well and there has been a lot of secret squirrel work done behind the scenes with a few other boats as well. In this game everyone can step up because it's what happens on the day that counts."

The NZ 400 class or the PSP Group As may not have the horsepower of the Suzuki Superboats, but the drivers are no less competitive. When asked who he saw as the biggest threat, PSP Group A driver Bevin Muir (Teng Tools Racing) said: "It would be easier to say who isn't a threat. We plan on running Teng Tools Racing at the sharp end of the field. We aren't here to make up the numbers and we wouldn't be in the sport if we thought otherwise. The 2014 season is gearing up to be a ripper."

Muir has a slightly more difficult time than most drivers during a race day, as he double-drives the Teng Tools boat with Baden Gray.

Obviously, having two different teams using the same boat means that it gets twice as much time in the water, with twice the number of chances for something to go wrong. That didn't stop Teng Tools from winning the best PSP Group A team award at last season's prizegiving for the team with the best results in a double-driven boat - a feat that they're hoping to duplicate this season.

The NZ 400 class (formerly known as the Lites) is going to be hotly contended this year, as the reigning champion, Gerry Linklater, has decided not to defend his crown in 2014. This group includes a number of newcomers entering the sport, including the Naki Boyz, Jason Reade and Anthony Lewis.

They'll be up against some well-established teams, and this year the boys are joined by not one, but two all-girl driver/navigator combinations. Donna Thomson is joined in Two-A-Breast by Monica Couper, and Pip Thompson/Megan Brodie form the second women's team in The Bitches Box.

And of course, anything the ladies can do, the Aussies think they can do better, so Paul Gaston will be flying in from the Gold Coast to challenge Richard Murray in the PSP Group A class, while Greg and Dorinda Mercier will be arriving from Hastings, Victoria, and laying down a challenge in their Suzuki Superboat "Az U Do".

Kiwi superboat drivers will also have to look out for Phonsy Mullan, the Australian No1, who is bringing his twin-turbo, 1600hp Ramjet to the party and promises to get things jumping.

The other Aussie who is fast becoming a fixture in the jet sprinting community is the Caveman who will be here once again providing insightful commentary and witty banter throughout the day.

The biggest drawcard , however, has to be the unveiling of "the gitS" and his celebrity challenge boat. He will have three laps to turn hapless celebrities from novices into drivers good enough to set convincing lap times on the celebrity leader board.

His first outing will be with TV personalities, Pete and Andy, who will be racing the clock (and each other) in an attempt to get their name to the top of the board.

Ticket prices, the day's timetable and lots of other information is available at http://v8jetsprints.co.nz/

- Wanganui Chronicle

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