The New Zealand Jetsprint Association has kept their drop rule in effect to decide their title winners from the rounds of the national championship which they did manage to hold, despite the Whanganui finale being cancelled last week.
The PSP New Zealand Jetsprint Championships were set to conclude at Upokongaro's Shelterview track on April 4, which was still being promoted as late as March 14 as the Covid-19 pandemic began to see cancellations of major sports and social events.
However, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's announcement last Monday that gatherings of 500 people or more must not go ahead, to increase social distancing in combating the spread of the virus, brought matters to a head.
The NZJSA, in conjunction with track owners Julia and Richard Murray, decided the round should be cancelled the following day.
"It was that [announcement], but we did contemplate running the races without a crowd," said Julia Murray.
"But the racers are coming from all over the country, with their crews, and all we need is one [infection].
"We didn't want our track [reputation] damaged by the result of someone coming here and picking it up.
"It's just not meant to be."
While Superboat driver Richard Murray had his own problems just competing this season, pulling out after the second round with continuous engine problems, Julia Murray said they had been looking forward to a big finish for the summer.
Top Australian driver Slade Stanley had been interested in coming over, but even before large gatherings were banned, he had become an unlikely starter due to the Government's then-requirement of a two-week self isolation for overseas arrivals, which likewise would have affected his countryman and iconic jetsprints announcer Tim 'Caveman' Barrot .
"Even when [Barrot] got back to Australia, he would have to self isolate there — so that's four weeks. It's just not worth it," said Julia Murray.
This season was the first where drivers could remove their worst result from the six rounds from their final tally of season points.
Murray said that rather than have the cancelled Whanganui round count as the drop round, drivers will now take their best four results from the five that were held.
"Otherwise it's not fair, especially for someone like Ross Travers, who went to Australia in the first round, knowing they had a drop round, or Simon Gibbon, who missed Meremere [in February] because of a wedding."
Whanganui driver Travers was the last local standing in the season, after Richard Murray and Rob Coley dropped out of Superboats with engine troubles, while former Group B national champion Hayden Wilson twice travelled away to rounds only to put his White Noize boat back on the truck without racing due to mechanical problems.
A crash at the Whanganui round in December prove costly for Travers making the Group A's Top 3 again this season, despite coming back into some form after he finished third at Meremere and then won the last round at Waitara.
"We were confident of a podium in Whanganui," Travers said.
"It didn't [happen in December], so let's try again next year.
"But the way we got it going in Waitara, we're more than happy."
Travers felt for the Murrays, who had lost out financially on money spent on advertising and preparations for the last round, but agreed the right decision had been made.
He thanked sponsors Glasgow Engineering & Design, Stevo's Distributors, and Lincoln Sports & Social Club for the season.
The final tallies, provisionally, will see Hamilton's defending champion Ollie Silverton retain his Group A title, ahead of Canterbury's Gibbon and his Whanganui navigator Donna Thomson, while New Plymouth's Sean Rice will finish third.
In Group B, Waikato's Karl Beaver is the new national champion, narrowly ahead of New Plymouth's Kris Rasmussen, with Owhango's Tim Edhouse in third.
The headline Superboats sees Waikato sweep the titles, with Hamilton's defending champion Glen Head retaining after a good battle with Featherston's Scott Donald, while Palmerston North's Reuben Hoeksema is third.
Julia Murray said Whanganui is currently scheduled to host the AGM for the NZJSA in June, although that is currently up in the air as well.
NZ Jetsprint Championships Top 3 points (provisional)
Superboats: 1. Glen Head (Hamilton) 118; 2. Scott Donald (Featherston) 117; 3. Reuben Hoeksema (Palmerston North) 109.
Group A: 1. Ollie Silverton (Hamilton) 119; 2. Simon Gibbon (Canterbury) 116; 3. Sean Rice (New Plymouth) 110.
Group B: 1. Karl Beaver (Waikato) 119; 2. Kris Rasmussen (New Plymouth) 118; 3. Tim Edhouse (Owhango) 110.