Featherston track claims a few scalps as PSP Jetsprint Championship heats up

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The busy rotation on the tight track at Featherston meant that the teams had to be on their A game to deliver the goods at the PSP New Zealand Jetsprint Championship’s second round yesterday.

The Kiwispan Jet Sprint Track, at the Tauherenikau Race Course not only elicited some thrills, but it also caused some dramatic spills too. Thankfully the unlucky teams were uninjured, and their off-track excursions provided some dramatic action for the crowd.

MouthFRESH Superboats

The racing in this quality field had the spectators on the edge of their seats all day. The southern team of Robert White, of Invercargill, and Lisa Glubb laid down a cracking time in Qual 3 of 49.381 secs – the first sub 50 secs time of the day. Unfortunately, in Qual 4 they touched the tricky chicane and had a big crash.

Only two boats later and the spectacular offs continued with the Bar’s Bugs team of Gisborne’s Blake Briant and Cassandra Norman turning too early at the same spot and coming out of the water at pace. Fortunately both superboat teams were able to continue racing.

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MouthFRESH Superboats class contenders Bar’s Bugs team Blake Briant and Cassandra Norman take a spectacular off-track excursion in Featherston yesterday.

Visiting United States team Ron Gallagher and Josh Reynolds thoroughly enjoyed their first time racing at a New Zealand event and gave it an enthusiastic thumbs up. They both learned a lot with guidance from jetsprint legend Peter Caughey, whose company Sprintec built the superboat they will take home with them. Gallagher’s crew for the day made some of the other teams smile, as one of the team members continually hopped into the passenger seat, instead of the driver’s seat when driving from the ramp. He was understandably confusing the Kiwi right hand steering side with the US’ left!

The top 6 elimination round was hotly contested, with the Link ECU Blue Flame jetsprint father and daughter team of David and Millie Simmons coming out first and setting a time of 51. 437. They held onto the top spot until the Poison Ivy husband and wife team of Rob and Ange Coley laid down a 49.94.

White and Glubb were next and scorched out the fastest split of the session but unfortunately the chicane got them again and they slid off the track for a second time.

The PSP team of Sam Newdick and Shama Putaranui showed their class, laying down a 48.620.

Then in the final top 3 shootout, the Simmons gave it everything to set their fastest time of the day (51.021). The Coleys then drove the track to perfection, causing the crowd to stand up and cheer as they flew around the course to finish with a 48.062. The bar was set high for Newdick and he came out firing, recording a faster first split than Coley. As this superb battle ensued, Newdick lost a mere fraction of time in the track’s last section, finishing with a 48.289 and giving the Coleys the win.

For Wanganui’s Coley, the victory with his wife in their up to 1800hp superboat had been a long time coming.

“We’ve had the packages but they’ve always let us down. We’ll have a very big smile about this result for a while,” he says.

He described the Featherston rotation as a “busy, tight track with quite a number of hairpins and some fast bits down the bottom end.”

Sprintec Boats Group A

The PSP team of Ollie Silverton and Jess Sit didn’t put a foot wrong all day to claim the top spot.

Hamilton-based Silverton was thrilled with their second win of the season as he says it “puts us in a good championship position.”

Sit has been navigating for him for seven years and their longevity in their boat definitely makes a difference in a sport which is “quite cutthroat and if you make one error, you are out,” he says.

“The win is a credit to teamwork and the team we have behind us.”

Fortune didn’t favour the Novus Jetsprint team of Simon and Sarah Gibbon, with the gremlins from Round 1 following the North Canterbury couple to Featherston. This time the outcome was better for them as they managed to make it through the day – with help from their crew and other teams – and claim the podium’s second spot.

Wanganui’s Ross Travers and Amanda Kittow were fighting hard for second with Travers driving superbly all day and although they had the runner-up time going into the top 3, they ended up third fastest after their final run.

 Brett Thompson and David Toms, who are back racing after a seven-year break from the sport, had a great day coming in at 4th.

MTW Group B

As predicted, the battle for first in this class was between the local teams of Bryce and Kylie Baron and Sam Gray and Mike Allen. This time it was Gray turning the tables and taking the win, much to the delight of the home crowd.

Gray says: “We had a good day yesterday with some luck on our side. We chased our tail all day with a fuel issue but still managed to finish strong. A big thanks to my team, my partner Vanessa and Si Gibbon for helping us out and also the other competitors – it was an awesome day’s racing!”

Third place went to Tapanui farmer Karl Brenssell and his navigator Hamish Murray in their On the Hoof boat.

The two rookies in the class Andrew Craig and Richard Currie, also from the Southern Jetsprint Club, thoroughly enjoyed the challenge of the Featherston track and after two rounds, they understand why people love the sport so much. Craig was blown away by how friendly all the teams are and how they pitch in to help each other out – even if they are competing against each other!

MTW LS Class

Matt Nairn and Josh Gowan learnt a lot today in the LS Express boat, concentrating on driving smoothly with good lines and they made great progress throughout the day.

Youngster Dylan Edhouse with mum Debbie in the navigator’s seat had a run along the tyres on the reverse hair pin early in the day which proved a bit unsettling. However, 16-year-old Edhouse used every subsequent run to straighten his lines and he came out pushing hard in the top 3.

Napier’s John Verry and Leila Burder had a mishap after the finish line of Qual 5 ending up with a boat half full of water and both soaking wet. However, with hard work from their crew, they managed to get back out and finish the day in P1.

Verry, who won the Group B class last season with Burder, described their second round as a “mixed day but we were happy to pick up the win.”

New Zealand Jetsprint Association President Julia Murray says: “Round 2 in Featherston produced another awesome day of racing on a challenging rotation, although the most exciting part was the shuffle on the podium.”

“In previous championships there has often been a clear winner throughout the rounds but this season it looks like the gap has tightened and the class titles could be anyone’s. This will make for an exciting season of racing as we head to the halfway round 3 at the end of December,” she says.

The teams now have three weeks to make any repairs and fine-tune their boats in preparation for the third PSP New Zealand Jetsprint Championship round at Wanganui’s Shelter View track on December 27.

PSP New Zealand Jetsprint Championship’s 2022/2023 Calendar

19 November 2022: Round One – Hastings Jetsprint Track, Hastings. Gate sales only.

4 December 2022: Round Two – Kiwispan Jet Sprint Track, Featherston. Buy tickets here.

27 December 2022: Round Three – Shelter View, Wanganui. Buy tickets here.

18 February 2023: Round Four – Sprint Bowl, Meremere.

4 March 2023: Round Five – Waitara Aquatrack.

8 April 2023: Round Six – Novus Glass Aquatrack, Wanaka.


MouthFRESH Superboats class contenders Bar’s Bugs team Blake Briant and Cassandra Norman take a spectacular off-track excursion in Featherston yesterday.

Carterton’s Sam Gray and Mike Allen on route to victory in the MTW Group B class.

The MTW LS Class podium features (from left) runners-up Debbie and Dylan Edhouse; winners Leila Burder and John Verry and third-placed Matt Nairn and Josh Gowan.

Wanganui’s Ross Travers and Amanda Kittow wound up third in the Sprintec Boats Group A class.


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To find out more information head to the NZ Jetsprint Association website, or contact secretary Pip Thompson: P: 021 0248 1421, E: nzjetsprint@gmail.com

If you can’t make it to an event, then check out the Drainage Systems Livestream where you can catch all the action from your phone or computer. Or watch out for the PSP New Zealand Jetsprint Championship when it appears on TV3’s CRC Motorsport.