NZOPA – Media Officer – Denise Preece
A spectacular opening round of the Taupo – Thunder on the Lake and the first round of the Anzac Trans Tasman Cup and the 2016 NZ Offshore Powerboat Championship series last weekend.
The excitement started at the drop of the flag in the first race with deck to deck racing saw the lane being shut down on one NZ competitor, FMI Racing’s Warren Lewis and Andrew Koolen knew they had no choice but to back off as two of the Aussie teams powered to the first turn determined to keep ahead of the Kiwi teams leaving them no room. Neck to neck around the first corner and the first two laps, saw Profloors International Racing and Australia’s Team 3 battling it out at the front. Profloors International Racing showed their skills and out-drove the Aussie combination of Tom Barry-Cotter and Steve Jellick. Team 3 gave it their all while in hot pursuit and did a 180 degree spin on the top turn, leaving the pathway for FMI Racing to come through to second place and Profloors 11 into third place.
The first half hour race was cut short when the race was red flagged only 20 mins into the race due to a spectacular rollover from 222Offshore. Both driver Darren Nicholson and throttleman Peter McGrath got themselves out of their safety cells within seconds of the rollover and both were unhurt.
Kiwi team Profloors International Racing shot to the lead in race two with Team 3 and FMI charging hard behind them. Again early into the race, Team 3 spun on the top turn leaving a clean sweep for the kiwi teams, Profloors International Racing finishing in first, FMI Racing in second and Profloors 11 in third .
The Superboat Lite Class was won by ‘Total Home Developments’ Michael Fletcher and Jason Way after wining heat one and finishing second in heat two. Aussie team ‘Hogs Breath Racing’, Paul Fowlds and Jim Harris finished second struggling with the flat conditions racing on a lake, something they are not used too in Australia as all their racing is in the ocean. Husband and wife team Haydon and Delia Speirs from Whangarei finishing third in their first time in the water with their new boat ‘Outboard Pro’ finishing in third. The hot favourite for this class was Fuel Doctor which had a DNF in the first heat and after a minor breakdown, came back strong wining the second race but didn’t have enough points overall to take out a podium finish in this round.
Sports 200 Class saw the return of day entry ‘Konica Minolta’ Shane Rumens and Nick Campbell take first place, ‘CRD Automotive’ Colin And Corey Dunn and ‘Red Steel’ Charlotte and Tony Carson finishing in second and third places.
Classic Class ‘Supercock Racing’ Shane Fletcher and Shannon Martin taking out the win from second and third placegetters ‘Sea Ray’ Brad Dibble, Simon Kilgour and Chris Ethel with local team ‘Gull Force 10’ Gavin McGrath and Haaka Le Sueur.
With some minor hull and engine repairs to do for some of the teams before the next race and round of the Anzac Trans Tasman Cup and NZ Offshore Powerboat Championship Series scheduled for Beachlands in Auckland 13th February, where we are sure to see the Australian teams will come back fired up to gain some much needed points.