Thrills and spills at Whanganui

Posted in Motorsport

A hot and sunny December 27, 2015 marked round two of the PSP New Zealand Jetsprint Championship in Whanganui.

New faces, new liveries, and new surprises were the order of the day. In comparison to last year, the course rotation appeared a bit trickier, and quite a few crews found themselves getting lost in their early runs. As the day continued, the times dropped and the top crews started to really knock time off their runs.

In the 2015–’2016 series there were, again, three classes: Biolytix Group B, Altherm Group A, and the methanol-breathing monsters of the Suzuki Superboat class. The Group B win went to Tim and Debbie Edhouse with a winning time of 53.14 seconds, with Pip Thompson and Megan Brodie coming in second, followed by Patrick and Jay Hayden finishing up in third.

Group A was all about Blake Briant and Kate Hoogerburg, who were on form all day long — their Stinger came out on top with a 46.12-second run. This was just enough to edge out reigning champion Sam Newdick by a whisker for the win.

Suzuki Superboats once again didn’t fail to disappoint, the huge horsepower and brute performance of these boats was producing amazing action. It was a relatively incident-free day with a few boats penguin sliding across the islands — although there was one last out-of-water excursion that would leave the crowd silenced. Rob Coley and navigator Kellie Minnell left the track in an airborne corkscrew with the boat coming to rest in the trees behind the spin-out pool. Despite it being a massive accident, the safety gear and personnel meant that the worst outcome was a broken nose. It was great to see both of them up and about after the incident.

Once everyone had caught their breath it was back out onto the water, and right out of the gate Peter Caughey and Sharma Putaranui ran a 44.86 to claim the round win with the crowd on their feet cheering. Glen Head had been lowering his times all day long, but in the end couldn’t quite match the speed of Caughey, and put down a 45.54 to earn him the second step on the podium. Leighton Minnell was ‘Mr Consistent’ and kept it all in the water to record a 46.28 that would have him end the day in third place. Quite an achievement considering that in Leighton’s top-three run, he had the distraction of his wife Kellie’s massive accident only moments before he slipped off the trailer into the water.

Next up is the UIM World Jetsprint Championships at Meremere sprint bowl on Sunday, January 24. It will see New Zealand’s finest up against America, Canada, and Australia. Make sure you head along.

More information can be found on the New Zealand Jetsprint Association Facebook page, or on their website,

Aaron Mai

I am proud to be associated with NZV8 and NZ Performance Car, shooting in both New Zealand and Japan. Brought up as a rallying fanatic, at 15 I started taking photos of airborne stones with a point-and-shoot camera at the Rally New Zealand. While overseas I took up photography again to try and document the amazing places I was going and the things I was seeing. I enjoyed it much more than I expected to and it has turned into a real passion. Most of my recent photography has been done in Japan, based around the local tuners spread from Tokyo to Hiroshima. It is great being able to shoot everything from time attack machines at a freezing cold Tsukuba Circuit to tubbed drag cars in the hot Masterton summer sun. It is awesome getting to shoot these impressive works of art, but equally as much fun getting to know the people behind them.