Choppy water cancels contest

By Jared Smith


 


While the Whanganui River gods smiled upon the manual boats on Sunday morning, they were less kind to the mighty engines of the hydroplanes that afternoon.

After testing on Saturday, the 10th Anniversary of the Downtown Wanganui Flying Lap competition spluttered to a quiet end as the afternoon breeze turned the water to chops, making it too dangerous for boats with 250hp under the hood to push themselves full speed.

The afternoon saw several frustrating delays before organisers called time at around 4pm.

"Because of the unsafe conditions, we sat around and waited and hoped they could run," said Acceleration on Water director Denise Moughan. "We were able to get out and do some practice runs, but we had to pull the pin. It's a bummer really."

Moughan said they will get their application in quickly to make a return in 2013.

A crowd drawn by the double-bill of Billy Webb rowing and the hydroplanes still got to see some action over the course of the two days.

Waverley's Luptons Ken and father Warwick were philosophical about the early finish, which had still been a golden opportunity to test their new craft.

"Every time we're going out we're making improvement," said Ken Lupton, who was getting his first full runs in Cheetah imported from America with its 1295cu cm Chevy engine.

"If we pick up any wins here it's a bonus," he said.

The crew must test every little detail rather than make several changes before every run a tinkering process which leaves them with an accurate reflection of what works and what doesn't.

"Just little things, one movement by one movement," said the younger Lupton.

He was giving a lot of arc on the turns, wanting to come flat and straight across the waves rather than try to power through.

Lupton's goal is to be getting really quick for competition in Australia in April.

His two-time World Grand Prix champion father Warwick was also pleased with how the last 18 months have shaped up in his latest New Zealand-built boat.

"It's starting to improve a bit. Yesterday [Saturday] we had the fastest lap, showed a bit of speed."

His Annihilator took him to a lap time of 41.76 seconds, just ahead of Scott Coker in Fair Warning, who finished with 41.80.

He also kept an eye on if his son had made a prudent investment in Cheetah, the last boat built by industry legend Ron Jones.

"We'd spoke about it for a while what he'd bought it for we couldn't build over here."

On a rough water weekend and with the crew still chasing the bugs out of the system, it remained for fans to see if Cheetah can hit the 320km/h mark as advertised which would be a clear New Zealand water speed record.

"You hear these stories all before, it's a matter of actually doing it," Lupton senior laughed.

He will be looking to get out on the Mangakino and Karapiro lakes in coming weeks.

- WANGANUI CHRONICLE

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_a2 at 03 Sep 2014 19:00:54 Processing Time: 1543ms