The first thing that hits you when getting up close and not so personal with jet boats is the immense power generated.

That comes with a massive wall of sound from the V8 motors and there is the sheer excitement factor inside the stadium as the driver and navigator somehow safely get around the tight course cut into a rough figure of eight.

Well most get round safely.

At the ENZED Stadium Jet Sprints Cup held at ASB Baypark Stadium on Saturday afternoon and into the night there were plenty of spills and high-octane mishaps. Luckily there seemed no serious injuries but considering how fast the boats travelled around the tight bends it is a minor miracle there weren't any.

Advertisement

But that tingling anticipation of something about to go wrong is as much part of the brilliant night's entertainment as admiring the skills of the best and fastest teams making clean runs.

Dear old Baypark was almost gleaming on Saturday night. The venerable stadium, now firmly ensconced as the home of motorsport in the Western Bay, was transformed into a maze of trenches filled with bracken-coloured water.

Unlike traditional jet sprint venues, like the famous Shelter View Jet Sprint Park in Wanganui, the noise reverberates around the stadium with every run, hits you square in the face and then bounces back again off the stadium roof to mangle your senses again.

The grass infield was cut into deep trenches and filled with two million litres of water pumped about 1.2km from a nearby storage pond to Baypark, instead of using the city's restricted supply.

A specially-designed pumping system filled the purpose-built aqua track. The pumping system recycled and filtered the water, pumping it back into the main track for the duration of the races. As quickly as the water was sent flying through the air out of the trenches at every turn of the jet boats, it was recycled back in through the clever system.

And as far as a unified operation involving sport promoters, city council staff and venue management goes it does not get better than this level of co-operation.

Of course Baypark has a long history of hosting stock car events and does it well. But for many years it was also the home of Bay of Plenty rugby where the Steamers enjoyed their most successful seasons.

Earlier on Saturday night a jet boat competing in the Group B classes misjudged a corner and exited the trench for a few metres skidding out of control on the grass verge before quickly making its way back into the water.

The grass area was about where Glen Jackson kicked two crucial goals to help Bay of Plenty defeat Waikato in the union's one and only successful defence of the Ranfurly Shield back in 2004.

Those rugby days are long gone now but the future for jet sprints at the stadium looks positive indeed. After missing out last year it is hoped Baypark will be a permanent fixture on the national jet sprints calendar.

The look of delight on the faces among the crowd of nearly 14,000 on Saturday night showed what the public think about this unique sporting night out.