Written by Denise Preece
Extreme water conditions created a very challenging race for the “Red Steel 100” in association with “Napier Now” offshore powerboat race in Napier yesterday. Officials considered the conditions marginal prior to the one hour race start, improving slightly and the race went ahead.
The most spectacular race so far in the 2016 NZ Championship Series, 23 boats thrilled the thousands of spectators who lined the bank of the Napier foreshore to watch the race. Competitors spent more time in the air than on the water!
The race started off with drama and disappointment – “Profloors International Racing” returned to the pits with a broken trim pump which the crew quickly replaced, and therefore missed the sighting lap but were back in the water in time for the race start. The race favourite “222 Offshore” team from Australia was forced to withdraw with a broken impellor water pump which was a huge disappointment for the team who had spent many days putting in bigger engines for this race to give the Kiwi’s “a run for their money”.
With the other two Australian teams, “Hogs Breath Racing” and “Team 3” choosing to drop the Napier round as it was not part of the Anzac Trans Tasman Series, left only three Superboats to make the start line after the withdrawal of “222 Offshore”.
Spectators and Officials were on their feet with the spectacular action as they watched “Profloors International Racing” (Wayne Valder and Chris Hanley) and “FMI Racing” (Warren Lewis and Andrew Koolen) go head to head in the trying conditions. “FMI Racing“ missed a buoy in the first lap, forcing them to turn and round both buoy’s saving them from a race penalty. This gave “Profloors “ the lead. Not one to come second, “FMI” fought back from 30 seconds behind after the first lap to just four seconds in lap six of thirteen of the one hour race. The battle went on lap after lap until “FMI” was forced to pull out with a broken fuel line reducing them to one engine and limping back to the race pits. “Profloors International Racing” took the win, with “Profloors 10” (Wayne Carson and Richard Shores) finishing in second.
“Barley Legal“ (John Shand and Mike Knight) dominated the Superboat Light Class with their boat handling the rough water conditions until one lap to go and lost power with an electrical problem, leaving the door open for “Outboard Pro “ (Hayden and Delia Speirs) to take the win. “NZ Home Loans“ (Chris Haeger and Karl Wall) finishing in second; both teams battled the conditions but remained consistent lap after lap looking for a podium finish which paid off.
Classic Class also kept the spectators and teams on their feet – “Gull Force 10“ (Gavin McGrath and Haaka Le Sueur) returning to the series after missing the last two rounds, battled with “Supercock Racing” (Shan Martin and Aaron Fletcher) in every lap, changing positions with only seconds between them, both coming down to the wire across the finish line with a three second win to “Supercock Racing”.
“Chindit “(Peter & Kane Wingate) spent more time in the air than on the water. Father Graeme watched on from the shore, bringing back memories of when he used to race the boat 30 plus years ago. Chindit won the Sports 225 Class with “Irate” (Paul Ludeman and Justene Anderson) in second.
Father and daughter team (Tony and Charlotte Carson) with their sponsored boat “Red Steel” took the win in the Sports 200 Class with “CRD Automotive“ (Colin & Corey Dunn), “Konica Minolta” (Shane Rumens & Tommy Davidson) finishing second and third respectively .
The 2016 series now moves onto, the Point to Point in Auckland 2nd April based at Okahu Bay, Paihia 16th April and the final round in Auckland under the Harbour Bridge 30th April.
Follow the final rounds results and action from our website www.nzoffshore.co.nz
Media Officer: Denise Preece