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ASB Baypark - 24/25th January

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ENZED Sprint Cup @ ASB Baypark

The second day of an action-packed Auckland Anniversary weekend of racing at the ASB Baypark Stadium was the setting for a new Cup competition and a new race format.

The Enzed Stadium Jet Sprint Cup was born from the seeds of an idea in conversations between Peter Caughey and Leighton Minnell over the last 20 years, which found a supportive and fertile venue in which to flourish when the ASB Baypark Stadium stepped forward in 2014 to host a round of the NZJSA championship.  Once Ervin McSweeney and his staff realised how popular jet sprint racing in a stadium could be, all that remained was to secure sponsorship for the event.  And that’s where Peter Caughey re-entered the conversation, taking the idea to Roger McGarry.  “Peter came to me with the proposal,” said McGarry, the Chairman of the Enzed Advisory Council, “and I thought it sounded like a great idea.  I’d like to see similar events being run in more stadiums around the country.  It’s good to see racing over 2 days as well, and it creates a great spectacle.” 

McGarry credits Caughey with the initial idea, but is quick to acknowledge the team at ASB Baypark who have worked tirelessly to bring it to fruition.  “I can’t speak highly enough of Pip Minnell and the organisers at Baypark,” McGarry added, “It’s a fantastic venue, and I would certainly like to see them involved in the same event next year.”

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Round 2 – ASB Baypark. 24th January 2015.

Everyone in the jet sprint circuit knows that Grandad is the coolest starter in motor sport, but we weren’t expecting him to be the coolest person at the ASB Baypark Stadium on Saturday at the 2nd round of The PSP New Zealand Jet Sprint Championship 2015.  On a sizzling hot day he kept his cool in the 25˚ heat courtesy of the race teams who gifted him a refreshing shower every time they burst out of the start chute.

The racers were also much kinder to the RSQKRU than they were at the inaugural ASB Baypark stadium round in 2014.  Last year the RSQKRU really earned their pay, and spent more time in the water than most of the boats.  This year the teams showed their appreciation of the bigger track by staying in the water (mostly).  The exception would be just before the lunch break when a stream of boats in the third qualifying round of the Biolytix 400s class all jumped out at the same corner.

Patrick and Jay Haden (Skitzo), who were lying in third place after the first two qualifiers, started the trend when they got bored towards the end of an otherwise smooth round and beached on the far side of the stadium.  They even threw in a small engine fire just to keep the RSQKRU on their toes, but a casually wielded baseball cap put paid to that.  “It’s a good thing actually,” said a smiling Jay as she made her way on foot back to the pits, “because that was our off for the day – there won’t be any more now, and it could have been so much worse.” As if to prove her point the Skitzo team made it all the way through to the top 5 where they posted a very creditable 51.601 second time in their final run of the day.

Not to be outdone, Hayden Wilson and Chris Hausman  (White Noize) parked in the same spot on their run but added to the drama with a burst seal in the hull that resulted in a lot of water getting into the engine bay which nearly sank them.  They limped back to the trailer with a posse of RSQKRU weighing the nose down as a counterbalance, and made the most of the extended lunch break to get handy with the tools and sealant.  They made it back onto the water after lunch but it really was not their day, and the 1NZ boat didn’t get further than the top 12 eliminator.

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The Track is dug

For some of us January has passed in a whirlwind of ice creams and heat haze, long lazy days feeling lethargic in the summer heat.

Some people, however, have been running round sourcing engine parts, getting paint jobs finished and digging trenches…. VERY big trenches.

Yes, the Best Emerging Event at the New Zealand Association of Event Professionals Awards 2014 is returning to the ASB Baypark stadium on Auckland Anniversary weekend which means there’s only a week left to wait!

The diggers have been working flat out for the last week, and the track has been dug out and the concrete launch ramp has been laid.  The track takes up more of the grassed area than at last year’s event and the channels are wider, which should allow the boats to go faster than in 2014.  The RSQKRU has their fingers crossed for a quieter meeting than last year, as they were kept very busy indeed the last time the boats came to Baypark, and they are feeling optimistic that the wider channels will allow more teams to complete a circuit without needing their help.

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Jetsprints track takes shape

Preparations are underway for the Jetsprints' return to Baypark Stadium over Anniversary Weekend, with the first piece of turf dug up this morning ahead of the powerboat spectacular.

Digging will continue over the next week as the watercourse track takes shape, before V8 powered jetsprints boats take to the high-speed stage before what organisers hope will be a capacity crowd.


Baypark Stadium is being transformed ahead of this year's Jetsprints event. Photos: Bruce Barnard.

About 300 truckloads of stadium soil will be removed over the next seven days before the narrow, shallow ditch is filled with over 2000m3 of water.

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Round 1 – Wanganui.  27th December 2015.

Clearly there are lots and lots of nice people in the jetsprint community.  Several of them are so nice that they appeared at the top of Santa’s “nice” list and were given shiny new boats or beautiful new paint jobs for Christmas.

Unfortunately, we all know what boys do with their new toys: they push them as hard as they can to see how much they can handle. And sadly, a few of the drivers left on Saturday evening with boats that didn’t look quite so shiny and new – and in some cases looking less boat shaped than when they arrived.

However, the weather was just too good for anyone to let a few little dents spoil their mood.  It was nice to welcome Team Kiwi back from the World Championship in the USA, and to celebrate their successes over there.  Round 1 brought out a good field of competitors in all classes, with lots of well-established teams sitting alongside a large contingent of rookies.  Some teams had been testing like crazy in the run-up to the season opener, but some had been waiting on parts right up to Boxing Day so the 27th was a real leap into the unknown for them.

The first qualifying run of the day made sure all the drivers were awake and focused.  There were a few teething troubles, and the RSQKRU got a couple of early morning dips in as they raced to help those whose boats weren’t behaving quite as expected.  Ross Travers (Radioactive) and Brett Thompson (TNT) both managed to park where they shouldn’t, resulting in a few scrapes (and in Ross’s case a little remodelling of the pointy end – “nothing that won’t buff out” he told us optimistically!), but Harry Wheelans (Usain Boat) went one better by being the first ambulance call out of the day.  Both Wheelans and navigator Jason Conroy were fine after the hard-hitting impact that ended their first run.  “It was a precautionary check up by St John’s,” Harry said later, “the steering on the new boat was very tight.  I turned in too soon a couple of times and it just bit me on the last one.”   Luckily the boat survived to run again after some highly technical on-the-spot panel beating (not quite as hardcore as Rob Coley’s after Round 1 of the World Championships) only to give Wheelens and Conroy another roller coaster ride in the 4th qualifier, closely followed by another visit to the St John’s Ambulance.  Once again the boys were fine, but that was the end of their racing for the day.

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Calendar

Round 1: 27th December Wanganui

Round 2: 24th January ASB Baypark, Mt Maunganui

                 25th January : ENZED V8 Jetsprints @ ASB Baypark, Mt Maunganui Sprint Cup

Round 3: 15th February Meremere

Round 4: 8th March Hastings

Round 5: 4th April Wanaka

                 5th April : South Island Champs Wanaka

Round 6: 25 April Featherston - Final

Suzuki Grand Vitara Superboats
1st Pat Dillon/Steve Edmonds
2nd Peter Huijs/ Gary Huijs
3rd Leighton Minnell/Kellie Minnell

PSP Suntuf Group A
1st Sam Newdick/Glenn Mason
2nd Tristan Hynds/Mathew Fagan
3rd Baden Gray/Tanya Iremonger

Biolytix 400
1st Ross Travers/Shane Travers
2nd Hayden Wilson/Chris Hausman
3rd Paul Tulloch/Cushla Whetan

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