Auckland offshore power boat racing team FMI Racing confirmed a fourth national offshore powerboat drivers' championship for 34ft catamaran owner and driver Warren Lewis with catamaran Fairview's victory in the one-hour Napier race on Saturday.
It was the sixth roun in the series which started on Lake Taupo on January 29 and Lewis and co-driver John Shand have secured enough points to take an unassailable lead going into the two 30-minute races which end the championship off Whitianga on May 13.
It is Shand's first season in the boat, with which Lewis had previously claimed the title in 2011 with co-driver Chris Hanley and in 2012 and 2015 with Andrew "Flea" Koolen in the second seat.
The only Superboat 1000 entry in the series, Fairview was one of 19 big-bangers and sports boats that headed to the start line on Saturday and only needed to hold it together in what were possibly the flattest conditions in the history of the Napier race, on a new clockwise course, designed for spectator appeal off Ahuriri and Westshore.
One of seven entries in the 100-mile category, Fairview did just that, averaging just over three minutes a lap to complete 19 rounds by the time the clock ticked over to signal the end.
Lewis and Shand finished more than a lap up on nearest rival and 32ft Superboat 600-class catamaran Outboard Pro, raced by Whangarei couple Haydon and Delia Spiers, making considerably better of the Napier race than they had back in 2013 when they were rescued from the sea and taken to hospital after crashing a much smaller bat-boat just after taking a last-lap lead in the 60-mile classes of the Napier race.
Third was the 28ft Fuel Doctor, raced by Auckland team Allan Branch and Alex Smith, while the 60-mile category was won by Espresso Engineers, a 23ft monohull raced by Mike Gerbic and Gordon Robinson, triumphing in a keen contest with Shannon Martin and Aaron Fletcher, racing Classic-class monohull Race 4 Life.
Auckland racer Max Carson, who with brother Jamie received minor injuries when boat D&H Steel was wrecked in the fifth round at Doubtless Bay in the Far North earlier this month, was back in action in a borrowed boat with sister Shara substituting for Jamie to resume the Sports 200 family rivalry with Red Steel, and Napier cousin Charlotte Carson.
It was the Napier boat that triumphed, although the Auckland team holds the upper-hand for class honours heading to Whitianga.
It wasn't so good news for Charlotte's father, Tony, who had opted out of her boat for the day to join Taupo racer Gavin McGrath in Classic boat Gull Force 10, which was withdrawn at the start with a possible blown valve, and leaking oil into the sea.
Only one other boat, Outlaw, also a Classic, did not complete the race, although it returned to the sea to join the fleet after running repairs at the launching ramp.
Among the finishers behind Race 4 Life in the Classic Class was Pist n Broke, the Sleekline monohull with which Tony Carson and brother Wayne won the national drivers' championship in 1993.