For the Whanganui contingent, the 2019-20 PSP New Zealand Jetsprint Championship season can be considered "unfinished business" when it gets underway in Featherston on Sunday.
It was a tight and somewhat contentious 2018-19 season where Whanganui drivers across each of the divisions – Rob Coley (Superboats), Ross Travers (Group A) and Hayden Wilson (Group B) – finished the five rounds just a few points shy of winning the titles, which instead went to Hamilton's Glen Head, Hamilton's Ollie Silverton and Owhango's Tim Edhouse respectively.
All three Whanganui drivers had been in with a mathematical chance of winning their respective championships right up to the final round, with Travers ultimately finishing third while Coley and Wilson were runnersup, the latter by just a solitary point.
This season sees the return of the six round format, but with a twist – drivers will be able to drop their worst result from their final tally.
"Myself, I'm not a fan of them, because you should have to be consistent for the season," said Travers this afternoon.
"But this year, it's going to suit me."
A member of the JSA committee, Travers and his family had booked a trip to Australia for a 60th birthday celebration six months ago when the Featherston round had initially been scheduled for next weekend.
However, the Tauherenikau Racecourse being double booked with another event saw the jetsprint round moved seven days earlier – too late for Travers to change his travel plans.
Therefore, he will use up his "spare" round before the season even starts.
"We're actually waiting for some bits of the boat to turn up, from when the engine blew up in Whanganui."
Travers' title aspirations nose dived at the fourth round of the 2018-19 series at Shelterview, when a rod came loose and punctured the engine sump during qualifying, leaving him with a ninth place finish and trailing Silverton in the series.
Travers took a borrowed engine to Wanaka's Oxbrow Aquatrack for the final round and finished second, but even though Silverton came sixth, his title was safe.
"If it hadn't s**t itself in Whanganui, we would have won the New Zealand title by a point," Travers said.
In total, around 30 boats are believed to be entering the series across the three grades, plus some more who will enter on a round-by-round basis, and could stick with it if they get some good results, due to the "dropped round" rule.
"The beauty is they don't even have to attend [every round]," said Whanganui superboat driver and Shelterview owner Richard Murray.
"January is a busy time of year for us," he added, referring to Wanaka on January 25 – the only South Island round and always an expensive proposition to attend.
With Shelterview again hosting two rounds – the traditional December 27 date and the season finale on April 4 – Murray agreed it would be great to see a local claim another national title.
"I'd like to think so. We've changed our team members a little bit."
Murray will be working with Marton's Tim Coleman, who is able to work on both the engine and the overall Meaner Machine boat.
"He's [knowledgeable] on everything, so it's good to have him on board, and he's got a mate who's right up with superchargers."
Murray likewise has unfinished business from last season, as a strong start to the campaign with finishes of third and fourth was undone at Meremere when fuel pump problems saw the engine keep cutting out, with the damage severe enough that they withdrew from the rest of the season.
"We thought it was going well. We couldn't have been more wrong."
Despite the fact that a drop round removes some of the fear of having a day where everything goes wrong, Murray felt it will still be the season's most consistent drivers that win the titles, as it has been in previous years.
"You've got to be up there for at least five of the six rounds."
Both Whanganui rounds will be day events, after plans to bring back the iconic "night round" last season were changed only a month before the event, leading to hastily organised day round which was actually called off early after a series of crashes.
The gates open in Featherston at 11am on Sunday for the start of the new season.
Round 1: Featherston, November 24; Round 2: Whanganui, December 27; Round 3: Wanaka, January 25; Round 4: Meremere, February 15; Round 5 Waitara, March 8; Round 6: Whanganui, April 4.