By Denise Preece
It is with great anticipation heading into round six for the “Mark Cromie Holden” Paihia Offshore 100 and the NZ Offshore Powerboat Championship Series that the competitors head to Paihia, in the beautiful Bay of Islands.
Two weeks since the last round in the Hauraki Gulf for the Point to Point, now has several teams close and chasing points to gain their place on the podium for their National Championship title to be decided in Auckland in a couple of weeks with the final round.
Australian entry “222 Offshore” (Darren Nicholson and Peter McGrath) led from start to finish in the last round only to be robbed of first placing after receiving a time penalty for missing two course buoys. “222 Offshore“ has an amazing set up with boat on a transporter and another separate transporter / mobile workshop, which arrived into New Zealand in early January and has raced at all the previous series races this season. Taupo being their first race, saw them have a spectacular flip – both drivers where unhurt, with minimal damage to their boat and they were back for the Beachlands race two weeks later. Working through some small issues since the flip, they are now a serious threat to the Kiwi teams who are currently leading the series – “Profloors International Racing” (Wayne Valder and Chris Hanley) on 3400 pts , FMI Racing (Warren Lewis and Andrew Koolen) on 2925 pts and “Profloors 10”(Richard Shores and Wayne Carson) on 2575 pts.
“Fuel Doctor“ (Allan Branch and Alex Smith) still leads the Superboat Lite class. Points are close and they need the win this weekend to keep their lead of 2852 pts, closely behind them and improving with every race is Whangarei team “Outboard Pro” husband and wife team (Hayden & Delia Speirs) on 2538 pts. Still a threat and in with a big chance to take out a podium finish is three teams “Barley Legal” (John Shand and Mike Knight), “Total Home Developments” (Michael Fletcher and Jason Way) and “NZ Home Loans“ (Chris Haeger and Karl Wall).
A line up of approximately 20-25 boats are expected this weekend with several other classes- Sports 200 and Classic Class.
The race can be viewed from Bay of Island Yacht Club this Saturday 16th April; the boats will also be there on display for people to view and meet the drivers and teams from Friday 15th April. Bath Tub Racing will kick off the day off the beach from 10am, the first of two half hour Offshore Powerboat races starts at 1pm with an hour break before the second race at 2.30pm. Check out our website www.nzoffshore.co.nz for full team profiles and further event information.
NZ Offshore Powerboat Association wish to thank our naming rights sponsor “Mark Cromie Holden”, local support – Copthorne Bay of Islands, Harbourmaster, Coastguard and Far North Holdings, Shot 360 and Acceleration on Water Ltd.
NZOPA – Media Officer – Denise Preece