By Denise Preece
The shores of Lake Taupo rocked for the first round of the NZ Offshore Powerboat Championship Series! Thousands of people lined the Taupo waterfront to watch the spectacular display over the two days.
NZ Offshore Powerboats held a two race format on the Sunday, and trialled a shortened course in an anti-clockwise direction. The new format worked well, making the two races a lot more exciting, closer, and challenging for the 23 boat field.
Superboat team FMI comprising of driver Warren Lewis and co-driver John Shand won both races in their class. There was a closely fought race in the Superboat 600 Class between last year’s winner Outboard Pro, with husband and wife team Hayden & Delia Spiers, and Fuel Doctor with Allan Branch & Alex Smith. Fuel Doctor won both heats running very smooth and consistent races. Local businessmen, Gavin McGrath and Haaka Le Sueur where “wrapped” to take out their first ever win at Lake Taupo in the Classic Class driving their boat Gull Force 10. Gavin said “it has taken seven years to get the win after several times as the bridesmaid. We finally nailed it!”
The Superboat 400 Class has grown this season with two new boats entered into this class. Chris Hager and Karl Wall of the NZ Home Loans team did not have a great first race after limping home They failed to start Race 2 due to a fuel injector in the port engine giving a “cough and splutter resulting in #4 cylinder leaning out”, sadly damaging the engine. The team’s second boat Refurb Group crewed by Mike Urquhart and James Downs were also chasing their tail with one issue after another. They only just managed to cross the start line to gain crucial points and withdrew from further racing straight after.
Returning to the sport after several years off, and a step down in class from Superboat 1000 in Shick Hydro, Scott Lewis has now purchased a 400 Class boat named HIJINX. As a very experienced competitor Scott had his boat running really well, easily winning both heats. This was the first race for Scott’s new co-driver Jason Jackman.
NZ Offshore Powerboat’s next round is at Beachlands on the 18th February. Keep in touch with the next rounds: 4th March Gisborne, 18th March Marsden Cove Whangarei Harbour, 8th April Doubtless Bay, 29th April Napier and the final round 13th May at Whitianga.
NZ Offshore would like to thank all their sponsors: Taupo City Council, Pitch Bar, Steiner & Moses, Shot360 Photography, Acceleration on Water Ltd.