It was a tough day for the Whanganui contingent at the third round of the 2019-20 PSP New Zealand Jetsprint Championships in Wanaka on Saturday, for those who could even get to the startline.
There was a smaller field of around 20 boats at the Oxbow Aquatrack, which was made smaller when Whanganui's Group B former champion Hayden Wilson had to withdraw from the day with oil pressure issues in White Noize.
Also making a long trip down from the North Island only to face engine problems were Marton's Tim Coleman and Whanganui navigator Dylan Matthews, although they did manage to get their Violent Tendency's out on the track – being eliminated in the Top 9 round of Group A.
So that left Ross Travers and Amanda Kittow in Radioactive trying to make the podium in Group A, and through the qualifying rounds they were owning the third-fastest speed behind Hamilton's defending champion Ollie Silverton and Canterbury's Simon Gibbon, who was on his 'home' track.
But in the Top 9 eliminator, New Plymouth's Sean Rice pulled down a 46.3472s lap, moving ahead of Travers (46.7362), while Gibbon and Silverton had broken into the 45s mark.
And it stayed that way for the Top 3 final, as Gibbon with Whanganui navigator Donna Thompson got to pull the victory doughnut in the pool beside the main track after a 45.046s final drive, just barely ahead of Silverton (45.147s), who had followed after Rice (45.917s).
Silverton and Gibbon are now likely to battle it out for the title in the remaining three rounds, sharing 1-2 on the table with a points gap on the rest of the field.
In the headline Superboats, there was a small field of just six boats, made even smaller by the absence of Whanganui's Rob Coley and Richard Murray, who have been dogged by boat issues this campaign.
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While the 2018-19 season had been all about the points battle between Coley and Hamilton's Glen Head for the title, this season defending champion Head is having to contend with Featherston's Scott Donald.
And Donald would take the win in front of Head, maintaining his lead in the series, while Hamilton's Sam Newdick was awarded third.
In the Group B, Waikato's Karl Beaver set the winning time in the Top 3 final with 48.925s, thereby moving ahead in the season's standings from New Plymouth's Kris Rasmussen (49.097s), while coming third in Wanaka and the series is Owhango's defending champion Tim Edhouse (49.678s).
The next round will be at Meremere on February 15.