Round 4 Hastings – 13th March 2016.
Sunday 13th March, Round 4 of The PSP New Zealand Jet Sprint Championship moved to Hastings at the Riverside Jet Track. Perfect weather saw a good sized crowd turn out to see the best in the business go to battle.
The Biolytix Group B class has been hotly contested all season with a number of teams stepping up and not letting current 1NZ leader Ross and Shane Travers have it all their way as they did last season. Patrick and Jay Haden have led the 2016 charge from round 1 and turned up to Hastings with their eyes on the prize. The flowing Hastings track suited the Radioactive team Stinger of Travers and they didn’t put a foot wrong all day, with Paddy and Jay right on their heels with both teams staying inside the top 2 every time they left the trailer after Q1. Tim and Debbie Edhouse have been holding down 2nd in the Championship in their LS powered Stinger so far this season, but had a fight on their hands to hang onto it come Sunday morning. The pairing of Hayden Wilson and Chris Hausman needed to make amends for their horrid run of luck this season, and that they did. Sitting in 3rd spot for most of the day right behind Paddy and Jay Haden and splitting Tim and Debbie Edhouse back a position. Travers took the win from Haden, while Wilson rounded out the podium in 3rd just 2 tenths of a second behind the Haden’s, with Team Edhouse in 4th. One of the closest battles in the championship this season has been that of the 2 all-female teams of Pip Thompson/Megan Brodie in Bitches Box, and Donna Thomson/Monica Couper in Two a Breast. Just 1 point separated the teams heading into Round 4 with the timesheets showing nothing in it for most of the rounds to date. The Bitches Box got the upper hand over Two a Breast, again with very close times but this time being split by Daniel Reade. Rounding out the Biolytix Group B was Craig Shaw, Jason Reade, and Greg Reardon. Hayden holds his lead in the Championship 6 points ahead of Edhouse and 7 points to Travers.
The Altherm Group A class kicked off round 4 at a cracking pace. Blake Briant and Kate Hoogerbrug very keen to get back into the rhythm that’s seen them dominate prior to their spectacular exit of the World Championship in January. Briant was the only driver to post a sub 50 second time showing he meant business. Sam Newdick and Glen Mason in Sun-Tuf from Team PSP, current 1NZ was happy to give Briant/Hoogerbrug the first one, but that was where it ended. Newdick showed the type of skill and consistency we’re used to seeing from him to keep a gap between the PSP and Harvest Transport machines. As always in the Altherm Group A the competition is as tight as it gets, a blanket could be thrown over Neil Marshal/Michelle Reid, Ric Burke/Alf Kill, Simon Gibbon/Paul Thompson, Warren Farr/Ben Thomas, Bevin and Kathy Muir, and Ollie Silverton/Jess Sit. Those six teams sat within a second of each other for the majority of the day. Neil Marshall and Michelle Reid were unable to start in the Eagle Automotive machine, leaving the first boat away in the final to be Briant/Hoogerbrug. Briant was only a third of the way round the rotation when he ran the Harvest Transport Stinger wide and clipped the bank, finishing off coming to rest on the start island somewhat gentler than the last time they exited the track via a bank. It’s been a while since Sam Newdick and Glen Mason have had a no contest in a final. In true style although all Newdick had to do was complete the rotation satisfactorily to take his second win of the season, he drove the PSP machine to the fastest Altherm Group A time of the day to take the win. Sam and Glen have closed the gap to Blake and Kate to just 4 points with 2 rounds to go, with Ric Burke and Alf Kill sitting in 3rd spot a further 7 points down.
The Suzuki Superboats were always going to put on a show at Hastings. The fast flowing track with crystal clear water provides spectacular Superboat racing, and they didn’t disappoint. Recently crowned World Champions of Team Altherm’s Glen Head and Darren Todd are feeling the pressure of being hunted by some of the best teams and drivers the world of Jet Sprint Racing has to offer. PCR’s ENZED Sprintec Racing Team of Peter Caughey/Sharma Puturanui put in a conservative sighting lap to settle the nerves and get a clear direction for the day, while one of the local favourites Greame Hill/Amanda Kittow in Liquid Gold set about making some clear intentions, only to be out done in the opening exchange by fellow locals David Simmons/John Verry in Blue Flame. Team Altherm with Head/Todd weren’t able to complete the lap, along with Richard Murray/Jo Rathbone in the Meaner Machine coming to a premature finish, while the Stinger Race Boats pairing of Richard Burt/Clare Roberts recorded the fastest times in the opening qualifier.
Q2 didn’t leave too much to the imagination, ENZED Team Sprintec’s Peter Caughey showed why he is a multi time National and World Champion by banging out a 46.1, 9 seconds faster than his sighting lap in Q1. Liquid Gold’s Sprintec of Graeme Hill wasn’t hanging around either, a 47.09 saw him in 2nd place and Richard Burt piloting the new Stinger Race Team’s machine recording a 47.4. David Simmonds and John Verry in Blue Flame had their work cut out for them locked in a solid battle with Leighton and Kellie Minnell in the twin turbo charged Taranaki Hardcore and the MouthFresh Poison Ivy Sprintec of current Australian Championship number 2 Rob Coley with new navigator and possibly the most trusting woman in the entire world, wife Ange Coley.
Simmons and Verry got the upper hand over MouthFresh (Coley’s) and Taranaki Hardcore (Minnell’s) early, but couldn’t quite hang on till when it counted. MouthFresh started to get a handle on the tuning of the boat, as did the Minnell’s. Richard Burt and Clare Roberts found themselves needing a tow after a mechanical issue at the end of their Q4 run which put them out for the remainder of the day. At the end of Qualifying it was ENZED Team Sprintec in the top Spot, Liquid Gold in the Twin turbo powered Nissan Sprintec, and Team Altherm in the twin turbo powered SBC Sprintec in 3rd.
The top 8 saw a very close round of racing with everyone having the track rotation down and boat tuning sorted. Just on 2 seconds covered the field from 1st to 8th. This saw the Taranaki Hardcore team of Leighton and Kellie Minnell and the pairing of David Simmons and John Verry in Blue Flame bow out of for the day.
A broken timing loop in the top 5 elimination saw MouthFresh and Liquid Gold not post a time from their runs, meaning a top 5 superboat final would see all drivers at the same level of track exposure and not give an advantage to those 2 teams that got an extra run. This saw MouthFresh first off the trailer and a tidy lap recorded a 46.06. Next away was Team Altherm’s Glen Head and Darren Todd driving a fast and aggressive lap, keen to get back to the front. Towards the end of the lap, the engine stopped and they found themselves on the bank unable to post a time. This left Liquid Gold in a very good position given the driving performance and times of Graeme Hill and Amanda Kittow during the day. Off the line the engine wound up and that was it, a fuel problem saw them glide to a very premature hault. Next away was the Meaner Machine, always a crowd favourite and Richard Murray proving his skills in handling this supercharged Ford powered Stinger. Murray knows his way around Hastings and drove a tidy lap in only his 6th outing in this boat to post a 45.99 just edging out Rob and Ange Coley in MouthFresh and taking a full second of his previous best time of the day. Last away was ENZED Team Sprintec’s Caughey/Puturanui, not unlike the Altherm Group A Final going by previous times set during the day, Caughey didn’t have a mountain of pressure on him. The time had to be quick to stay in front of Richard Murray but the ENZED boat had already recorded times that would see Caughey take the win. Not content with just doing enough, Caughey drove hard from the start and recorded the fastest time of the day posting a blistering 44.2.
The titles have closed up in all classes of the PSP New Zealand Jet Sprint Championship with only 2 rounds to go. ENZED Team Sprintec came into this round 6 points down on Team Altherm’s Glen Head and Darren Todd and now goes into the penultimate round 2 points down. Team PSP’s Sam Newdick and Glen Mason are only 4 points down on Blake Briant and Kate Hoogerbrug, while Tim and Debbie Edhouse and Ross and Shane Travers will be looking to chop another slice out of Pat and Jay Haden’s 6 point advantage.
The next round is going to be the most spectacular race we’ve seen in the PSP New Zealand Jet Sprint Championship to date. Wanganui’s iconic Shelterview Aqua Track and the lights are making a comeback! 9th April is an event not to be missed, get onto eventfinder.co.nz to book your tickets and witness the greatest motorsport in New Zealand!