Scenic Wanaka Novus Glass Aquatrack to host final PSP NZ Jetsprint Championship round
The final round of the 2022/23 PSP NZ Jetsprint Championship, to be held at the Novus Glass Aquatrack in Wanaka on Saturday April 8, has a stunning outlook over the township’s surrounding mountains.
Situated next to Wanaka Airport, this track always attracts a large, enthusiastic crowd, who are keen to see who will take home the coveted national jetsprint titles. The strong Southern Club – whose drivers are pleased not to be crossing Cook Strait for this round and are excited to race in front of their home crowd – is looking forward to hosting the North Island competitors.
As it is the final round it will all be on, as a total of 26 teams fight to get the points required to take the top class spots.
Once again the series has some Australian and United States of America teams joining the battle and taking it to the kiwis in the unlimited MouthFresh Superboat class.
A great-sized field of 12 teams will take to the water in this methanol-fueled, no holds barred Superboat class. With only 10 points separating the top four boats, the final round promises to be an epic battle.
PSP Racing’s Sam Newdick and navigator Shama Putaranui are leading the championship. Hamilton’s Newdick confessed: “I am feeling nervous and excited at the same time. I know I have to stay consistent for the last round to retain the championship and that any hesitation or complacency is going to open the door for those behind me. That being said, our team is expecting a decent support crew travelling to be with us, so that’s extra motivation to do well”
Wanganui couple Rob and Ange Coley in the Poison Ivy superboat are loving their HRE engine package this season, and it shows in the heated battles they’ve been having with the PSP team. After winning round two at Featherston by the smallest of margins, Newdick came out on top by a mere .049 secs at the penultimate round in Waitara. Coley will no doubt be gunning to take the top step in Wanaka.
Aaron Hansen and Julie-Anne Shanks, of Tauranga, in the Wired superboat are sitting in third. “We have apprehension with the unreliability of the ferry service about being able to get our boat to Wanaka. We are looking forward to the final round as the points are close in the Superboat class. The depth and talent in the class has made for an exciting season that we feel privileged to be part of,” Hansen says.
Snapping on their heels, only 2 points behind is Palmerston North’s Reuben Hoeksema and Jacob Wood in Turbo Extreme. “After suffering engine issues in the last two rounds, we have rebuilt the heads and are excited to give the 6 cylinder a good showing in Wanaka. We will be fighting Arron and Julie-Anne for the 3NZ title,” Hoeksema says.
The class’ strength also means there are many other contenders for the podium spots. Southern team Devil’s Advocate, made up of Invercargill driver Robert White and Haast’s Lisa Glubb, return to competing after missing the last couple of rounds. Backed by the home crowd support, they will be a team to watch.
David Simmons and his daughter Millie Simmons, have got their Blue Flame boat out of Hawkes Bay after their area was cut off by flooding for a number of weeks and are making their way to Wanaka. They are determined to do well after missing the Waitara round. They have fond memories of the Wanaka Aquatrack, having secured a podium last time they raced there and they are hoping to emulate that.
The crowd favourite team Wanganui’s Meaner Machine has its usual navigator Steve Edmonds back in the seat for Wanaka. Along with driver Richard Murray, Edmonds has already collected a couple of podiums this season and can’t be discounted from claiming another one here.
There will also be an international contingent at Wanaka, as the round will feature teams from Australia and the United States competing. Australian Chris Edmonds and his nephew Toby Edmonds are double driving the Broken Arrow superboat with Daryl Hutton and Mick Parry. Earlier in the season they raced at Wanganui with Hutton and Parry coming out full throttle and taking the number 1 spot. Ron Gallagher and Josh Reynolds are coming out from the United States to double drive their boat with expat Kiwis Chris and Katie Munro. This will be another chance for Gallagher to get to grips with his Sprintec superboat package before he takes it home to race.
Because they are racing on a day licence, the international teams don’t take points off the New Zealand drivers and any podium finishes they achieve will not affect the championship standings.
Sprintec Group A
The other PSP team aiming to get on the top step this weekend is Hamilton’s Ollie Silverton and navigator Jess Sit. “We are excited about the final round. The Wanaka track is picturesque and we’re hoping for some cracking weather. The opportunity to secure a clean sweep for the season is the goal and we will be pulling out all stops to achieve it and cap off what has been a great redemption season,” Silverton says.
Wanganui’s Ross Travers and Amanda Kittow in the Radioactive boat are sitting in second place and will be pedalling hard to ensure they stay there. “With the weather events that have affected a couple of our meetings so far this season, with one meeting being cancelled and competitors not being able to get to another, we are hoping that the Cook Strait sailings go to plan and that it is not snowing in Wanaka! We have had a great season to date and hopefully can continue this at the last round in Wanaka as we would love to come away with 2NZ on the boat for next season. Bring it on!” Travers says.
North Canterbury couple Si and Sarah Gibbon, in the Novus Glass boat, are hoping to save their best for last on their home track. “The season so far has to be one of the most frustrating for us to date, with issues keeping us off the pace or on the sideline. We have somewhat of a home track advantage, as this final round is the least distance we travel to an event and is the only round in the South Island! We are super excited to put the challenges behind us and try and get back on the top step of the podium in front of a home crowd. Our principal sponsor Novus Glass is sponsoring the final round of the championship and it would be great to finish the season on a high for them and the team!” Gibbon says.
New Plymouth’s Matt Hareb and navigator Hayden George in No Limits Racing, have had a fantastic season to date, securing a podium at the opening round in Hastings. Hareb says “ I’m looking forward to ending my first full season on a high at Wanaka by giving the big boys a push for a top 3 placing”
MTW Group B
Three of the teams in this class are racing on their home track and are sure to be boosted by the local support. Currently in third place, Tapanui’s Karl Brenssell and navigator Hamish Murray in the On the Hoof boat say that after a few seasons away from racing they have really enjoyed getting back into it and are looking forward to the showdown in Wanaka.
Only 2 points behind them is the rookie team hailing from Balclutha, of Andrew Craig and Scott Gouman. They will also be pushing hard to collect another podium to go with the third they received at Round 1 in Hastings.
Southern Jetsprint Club president, and another rookie , Clinton-based deer farmer Richard Currie is hoping to finish the season on a high, after missing the last round due to catching Covid.
The teams sitting in first and second are both travelling down from the Wairarapa. Bryce, whose wife Kylie Baron navigates for him in the LJ Hooker Racing boat says: “ We are really excited to be racing in Wanaka, and are looking forward to supporting the southern jetsprinters. The season has seen ups and downs for us but with plenty of learnings which we will take forward while chasing our super-fast neighbour [Carterton’s Sam Gray] down – while also trying to keep the southerners at bay on their home track, which will be tough. Our motto heading into the final is ‘start fast, finish strong’.”
Gray says he and navigator Mike Allen in their Nine Lives Racing boat “are all set and ready for the battle of the final round. We know the Southern Jetsprint teams will be coming in hot on their home turf.”
Gray has an 8-point lead going into the final, so as long as he starts the day, he will be crowned with the 1NZ title.
MTW LS Class
The battle between the two rookies in this class will be one to watch at Wanaka. Seventeen-year-old Dylan Edhouse of Owhango, whose mum Debbie navigates for him in the Liquid Addiction boat, is the youngest driver in the competition.
“I am pumped to race in Wanaka for my first time. I am feeling excited that my first season is coming to an end and am looking forward to more to come. I have had a good season, learning a lot with the good seat time,” he says.
The Liquid Addiction team are sitting 1 point behind Palmerston North’s LS Express team of Matt Nairn and Josh Gowan and it will come down to who takes to the track best and comes out on top on the day.
Nairn says: “ I am gaining confidence in my driving and the boat’s abilities with every meeting. It has been a great experience transitioning from navigating to driving and it’s been awesome to have the help and support from others in the sport. I am feeling confident heading into the last round in Wanaka, it’s going to be a great experience for me and my family, who are travelling with me to support our No Limits race team.”
Paddy and Jay Haden, who debuted in this class at Waitara, finishing in an impressive second place, are making the trip to Wanaka. Once again they will be pushing hard to knock leaders Napier’s John Verry and Leila Burder in the Link Ecu boat off the podium’s top step.
Verry says: “I can’t believe the season is drawing to an end already. It feels like we’re just getting stuck in! We are very much looking forward to getting down to Wanaka, seeing the huge crowd, and locking horns with the other LS teams again for this last round. We’ve made good gains again since Waitara and will be eyeing our competitors to gauge the improvements. But, like for all rounds, we are just looking forward to catching up with our jet sprinting family to race one last time for the season. See you all there!”
New Zealand Jetsprint Association President Julia Murray says it has certainly been a challenging season for the tracks.
“The crazy weather we have been experiencing has left more than one track nervous in the weeks prior to race day, so let’s hope our last race is smooth sailing. Actually talking about smooth sailing, I think that’s what the North Islanders are most nervous about – the ferries! Obviously there is no alternative way of getting our boats to Wanaka, so you can understand their concern at the moment.”
“Regardless it will definitely be a great day’s racing as the ‘win it or bin it’ attitude kicks in for some of the teams. It’s the last race meeting, so there’s nothing to lose – after all, they have all of the off season to fix any damage to their boats!”
Tickets to the final round of the 2022/23 PSP NZ Jetsprint Championship at the Novus Glass Aquatrack, 995 Luggate Wanaka Highway, Luggate are available here: https://www.eventfinda.co.nz/…/final-psp-nz…/luggate
The action takes place on Saturday 8 April 2023 from 9am – 4:30pm.
General Admission – Adult: $35.88 ea ($35.00 + $0.88 fees)
Family Group – 2 adults and 2 children (under 16): $19.22 ea ($18.75 + $0.47 fees)
Child (under 16): $16.58 ea ($15.00 + $1.58 fees)
PSP New Zealand Jetsprint Championship’s 2022/2023 Calendar
19 November 2022: Round One – Hastings Jet Sprint Track, Hastings.
4 December 2022: Round Two – Kiwispan Jet Sprint Track, Featherston.
27 December 2022: Round Three – Shelter View, Wanganui.
18 February 2023: Round Four – Sprint Bowl, Meremere.
4 March 2023: Round Five – Waitara Aquatrack.
8 April 2023: Round Six – Novus Glass Aquatrack, Wanaka.
CAPTIONS – PHOTO CREDITS: JEREMY WARD – SHOT360 PHOTOGRAPHY.
MouthFRESH Superboats’ crowd favourite Wanganui’s Meaner Machine has its usual navigator Steve Edmonds back in the seat for Wanaka, along with driver Richard Murray.
Sprintec Group A couple Simon and Sarah Gibbons, of North Canterbury, are looking forward to competing in the South Island at Wanaka.
Competing in the MTW Group B class, Balclutha’s Scott Gouman navigates for Andrew Craig in 3rd Time Lucky.
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.