Sam Newdick took early bragging rights in an action-packed Superboat shootout at the first round of the National Jetsprint Championships at Tauherenīkau on Sunday.
Newdick was one of only three drivers to survive the carnage of the six-boat semifinal, which saw Aaron Hanson, Chris Edmonds and defending champion and world number one Rob Coley all crash out of the competition.
Reuben Hoeksema had been the fastest qualifier, but his engine spluttered through the final to finish third. Dave Simmons then posted his quickest time, but it wasn’t enough, and Newdick took the win but admitted to being disappointed not to post the fastest time of the day.
Nineteen-year-old American River Rogers claimed his first win on New Zealand water in the LS class, but it was a close battle in the class for boats powered by Holden V8 LS engines. Rogers trailed NZ Champion John Verry through the qualifying and heats, but in the final top three, he pipped Verry for the win by just 0.01 seconds. Verry had been faster at the split but lost milliseconds when he ran wide at the hairpin, a part of the track which was to prove difficult for many of the 28 competitors.
Carterton’s Bryce and Kylie Baron had a solid debut in Group A, finishing second behind national and world champion Ollie Silverton.
Kris Rasmussen won Group B, with defending champions Sam Gray and Mike Allen from Carterton second. Another local combination, Hamish Clarke and Vanessa Phillips, just missed the podium with a fourth placing on debut in Group B in the ex-Baron boat.
Bryce Baron was thrilled with the day’s racing, saying it was very successful on and off the water.
“We had a really good crowd considering the weather forecast wasn’t very good, and we only had one small patch of rain in the middle of the day, but apart from that, it was very good racing,” he said.
The championship now moves to Whanganui on December 27.
Additional reporting – David Hedge