Controversy in lighter classes

By Jared Smith

The lighter classes at the opening round of the Jetpro Jetsprint Championships did not lack for excitement or controversy yesterday.

During the Top Five qualifiers of the Group A class, Thames driver Bevin Muir was granted permission to take his boat back out of the water for some running repairs, which ended up resulting in missed times and mass confusion.

The resolution came only when Group A's Top Three final was forced to run after the main event of the Superboats. Hamilton's Mark Newdick carried the day with an excellent 47.767 seconds lap time, just edging out Wanganui's Richard Murray who managed 48.575 beforehand.

The dramas had started earlier in the Top Five eliminator, when Muir sought and obtained a ruling that let him return after his repairs despite the other 400 and Superboat classes going ahead with their next runs.

The late entry resulted in a computer glitch in the new tracking system which meant Muir's time for the final Top Five run of Group A was not recorded. It became further complicated as Australian Paul Gaston was sitting with the third-best qualification and was sweating on possible elimination depending on Muir's result.

Gaston even took off for his lap in the Top Three "final", despite officials in the tower screaming into their radios to colleagues on the ground that the situation was not resolved.

After a somewhat heated discussion in the pits, Muir was given yet another chance and his official 49.741 time did not overtake Gaston.

In the 400 class, Te Kuiti's Brett Thompson capped an excellent day with his time of 53.073 taking him to victory in a very tight final.

Taumarunui's Tim Edhouse was right behind him on 53.820, while Wanganui's Gerry Linklater showed just how minuscule the margin of error can be as his 53.947 time left him with third.

While there were few spectacular crashes the best of the afternoon went to Wanganui's Thomson girls, after Donna and Tracy in Two A Breast spun out on the tricky hairpin corner beside the tower, ending up high and dry on the island.

- Wanganui Chronicle

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