Round four of the Altherm Window Systems Jet Sprint Champs was held on March 12 at the Riverside Jet Track in Crownthorpe, 25 minutes from Hastings. The weather hadn't been good during the week leading up to the event, and the day dawned with light drizzle.
The biggest problem with the rain was the water on the front of the boats — crews had to make sure it was wiped up before the boats took off, otherwise the water would be sprayed into the face of the driver and navigator.
Three classes run at these events, and Biolytix Group B is the development class. While the hulls are the same as the other classes, engines are limited to around 500hp and 412ci.
Stinger Group A is for the slightly more experienced racer, where boats push out over 600hp from the 6700cc engines that utilize larger jet units.
Mouth Fresh Super Boats are the big boys in jet sprinting. These rocket ships on water have no engine restrictions — anything goes. Blown big block, turbo chargers, injection, you name it. Many run on methanol and push out over 1000hp.
Ten boats lined up in Group B, including 1NZ Patrick and Jay Haden, who qualified number one with a 51.061-second lap. They carried their form, and ended up winning the class with a 50.752. Second was Clayton and Mandy Tisdall with a 51.109, and third was Ray Thompson and David Toms with a 52.019.
There were 12 entries in Stinger Group A. Number-one qualifier was the combo of Simon Gibbon and Paul Thompson with a 47.893. It didn’t go all their way, though, as they ended up third with a 47.833. Second qualifier and second-place finishers were Rick Burke and Alf Kill with a 48.098-qualifying lap and a 47.657 in competition. It was number-three qualifiers, Ollie Silverton and Jess Sit, who took the win with an impressive 46.904.
Mouth Fresh Super Boats had the biggest field with 16 boats, including 1NZ Peter Caughey with navigator Louis, as well as 2NZ Rob Coley and wife Ange navigating. Coley is a madman, and I’d like to thank him for soaking the hell out of me twice, with spray as twice as long as anybody else.
Number-one qualifier was Glen Head and Olivia van Deursen in their Altherm-sponsored twin-turbo 1400hp monster, with a 43.584.
Second was Sam Newdick and Glen Mason on a 45.093-second pass.
Third was Caughey in the injected big-capacity small block machine, with a 45.345.
Unfortunately, the Altherm boat sustained jet problems in one of the eliminations and was out of competition. The good luck went Newdick’s way, taking the win with a 43.847.
Second was Caughey on 44.113, while third was Blake Bryant and Kate Hoogerbrug.
The action wasn’t just at the pointy end of the field though, as every run was great to watch.
Pip Thompson and Megan Brodie went from being happy one second to sitting on the grass the next, such is the pace at which things change in the sport.
The Mouth Fresh end of the track caused a few upsets, here the Crowded House Boat gets plenty of air, much to the spectators’ delight.
Mad Az driver and navigator Richard Burt and Katie Munro probably have the wildest boat of the field, running a turbocharged quad rotor on methanol making 1400hp, this thing screams around the track. While they ran a best of 46.558, they ended up with a few DNFs, putting them out of the running.
The next round of the series takes place at Whanganui on April 1, keep an eye out for more info.