Round 3 of the 2023/2024 NZ Jetsprint Championship kicked off in Wanaka last weekend, at the picturesque APEX Wanaka Aquatrack. It is the only Jetsprint round in the South Island.
Hosted by the Southern Jetsprint Club, the purpose-built track is tight and technical, with the race down to who could keep their boats in the water.
Australia’s Kyle and Tahlia Elphinstone double-drove Link ECU boat number 20 and American, Eric Werner with Jolly Rogers, came to race in Superboats. So two teams from the USA and three from Australia came to compete and to get a look at the track before the 2025 UIM World Jetsprint Championship.
Round 1 of this championship takes place in Wanaka on the 25th and 26th of January, and Round 2 in Whanganui on the first and second of February 2025.
Building King Superboats
The PSP team, Sam Newdick & Shama Putaranui will be wanting to make it 3 from 3. David & Millie Simmons, who are currently sitting in second place, have also made the podiums the last two times they raced at Wanaka and so will be looking to score good points to keep them in the championship race.
Current 1NZ, Rob & Ange Coley with Building King, will be hoping to have a good round after not having an ideal start to the season with two DNFs in the early knockout rounds. After a big crash at Whanganui, Reuben Hoeksema has fixed the damage to his boat and is on his way, also wanting to make up some points.
Debuting a new boat were Richard Burt and Jen Nairn in The X, the second 6-cylinder alongside Reuben to go head to head with the V8s
Sprintec Boats Group A
Current 1NZ PSP Ollie Silverton & Jess Sit were also gunning for the win in Wanaka. Last season they had a massive crash in the qualifiers but still came out to take second.
Bryce and Kylie Baron with LJ Hooker didn’t cause too much damage after ending up upside down at Wanganui and will be expected to do well this year. They are new to Group A and the new package is working well for them. This is an extremely tight class and it is anyone’s guess who will end up on the podium.
MTW LS Class
There were 10 LS boats racing at Wanaka this year, and it’s great to see how this class is growing in popularity. Current 1NZ John Verry will be aiming to try and turn the tables on River Rogers, as he is competing on a track that he likes. However, don’t discount Southerner – David Hopkins, who has stand-in navigator Dana Doyle for this round, as Jackson Hopkins is having a go at driving at the home track. Who will come out on top in this father-and-son battle?
Another close class and it will be interesting to see who keeps their cool and makes it through the knockout rounds.
MTW Group B
Southern Jetsprint club president Andrew Craig pulled his boat out of the shed to race in Wanaka. But the class will probably see another showdown between NZ1 Sam Gray, as to who will come out on top between himself and Kris Rasmussen.