Ollie Silverton, of Hamilton, and navigator Jess Sit finished on top in the Sprintec Boats Group A class.

The Hastings Jetsprint Track witnessed some almighty battles between four classes of boats as the PSP New Zealand Jetsprint Championship’s 2022/2023 season roared into life yesterday.

After last season saw the drivers and navigators sitting at home due to Covid cancelling the series, they all had some pent up adrenaline to unleash.

In the big boys toys MouthFRESH Superboats class defending champions and pre-round favourites Hamilton’s Sam Newdick and navigator Shama Putaranui demonstrated exactly why they are such a strong pairing. Their 1000hp PSP Racing boat held out against the hard-charging Wired superboat of Tauranga’s Aaron Hansen and Julie-Anne Shanks. The Bar’s Bugs superboat driven by Gisborne’s Blake Briant was third.

Returning to racing after a break of a few years, Briant and navigator Cassandra Norman were firing all day and in fact had the fastest boat going into the Top 3 Shootout. However, a wrong turn in their final outing knocked them off the top of the podium.  

That meant Newdick’s campaign in the six-round national championship got off to the best possible start and showed why he made history when he won the MouthFRESH superboat title in 2021 – becoming the first person to win titles in every class.

In the Sprintec Boats Group A class Hamilton’s Ollie Silverton and navigator Jess Sit battled with defending champions North Canterbury couple Simon and Sarah Gibbon. Silverton’s PSP Racing 2NZ boat held out for the win after Gibbons’ Novus Glass boat developed engine troubles in the top 6 shootout after leading all day. Their exit left a gap for Ross Travers of Wanganui and his navigator Amanda Kittow to move into the runner-up spot.

Silverton says his team “toiled all day on getting the right setup and we would have made more changes if we had more runs.”

He survived a scare in qual 2 with no oil pressure but it turned out to be a faulty plug.

“The driver was a bit rusty to start with and with more seat time, will only improve,” Silverton joked about his performance.

The fierce rivalry continued in the MTW Group B between two Carterton-based teams. At the end of the day it was Bryce and Kylie Baron who secured the win in their L J Hooker Racing boat over Sam Gray and Mike Allen (Nine Lives Racing).

Bryce Baron was enthusiastic about the first round of the jetsprinting championship.

“It was a great day of racing, on an amazing track, and good tight competition. The track was elite and on point, with a fast rotation.”

His wife Kylie was “solid with her instructions” and the pair had no hairy moments. They made “a few minor adjustments but nothing major,” he says.

The LS class was introduced this season to encourage keen punters to grab a boat and come racing and it was last season’s Group B champion, Napier’s John Verry and his 16-year-old navigator Leila Burder who won the first round. 

Fellow 16-year-old and rookie driver Dylan Edhouse, of Owhango, had his mum Debbie in the navigator’s seat and finished second for the meeting.

John Verry
The LS class was won by Napier’s John Verry and Leila Burder.

New Zealand Jetsprint Association President Julia Murray says everything ran smoothly for the day.

“Having had a full season away from racing we were expecting there to be a few issues as everyone settled back into racing mode but we were pleasantly surprised with how well the day went.”

“The racers were on their ‘A Game,’ laying down some great times very early on in the day, setting the rest of the day up for some exciting competition.”

“The weather was good. The spectators rolled in. The engines were roaring and you could smell the methanol. What more could you want!” she added.

What is jetsprinting?

Jetsprinting could be likened to a rally sprint, except the action happens on water, not gravel roads. Travelling at incredible speeds, a driver and navigator manoeuvre a high-powered jetsprint boat around a track consisting of a maze of channels and islands in a particular sequence – in the fastest time possible.

The tracks are roughly the size of a rugby field, with the majority now purpose-built permanent fixtures, with launch ramps and safety fences.  There is only one boat in the track at a time, and like car rallying, the driver and navigator are racing the clock.

Jetsprinting is the ultimate test of driver concentration and accuracy. Hesitation could mean elimination and a split-second misjudgement could result in a lightning-speed, off-track excursion.
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.

 Hamilton’s Sam Newdick and his navigator Shama Putaranui won the MouthFRESH Superboat class at the Hastings Jetsprint Track. 

Ollie Silverton, of Hamilton, and navigator Jess Sit finished on top in the Sprintec Boats Group A class.

The MTW Group B class winners were Carterton’s Bryce and Kylie Baron.

The LS class was won by Napier’s John Verry and Leila Burder.


Follow the NZ Jetsprint Association on Facebook and Instagram

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

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.