The battle of the jetsprint engines goes up a gear this weekend with traditional V8 favourites facing stiff competition from an impressive quad-rotor turbo-charged engine at ASB Baypark.
Round two of the ENZED V8 Jetsprint Championship series will feature 50 competitors, including six Australians on the newly formed stadium jetsprint track this Saturday.
Wanganui’s Peter and Gary Huijs with their world first quad-rotor turbo-charged boat.
On the world-first track competitors will navigate the temporary circuit of twisting five-metre-wide channels, covering 450m in total, at a depth of between 40 to 70cm.
But all eyes and ears are on how Wanganui’s Peter and Gary Huijs, with their world first quad-rotor turbo-charged boat, impress the crowd and competitors, says New Zealand Jetsprint Association president Erik Hoeksema.
Capable of producing 1100 horsepower to the water-jet pump that propels the boat, the pair are already being touted as a big draw card for the weekend’s action.
Bursting on to the jetsprint scene in 2011, the rotary charged boat is yet to make a resounding impact on promoting the sport – something Erik feels can be achieved in Tauranga.
“The main thing for us is getting young people involved in the sport. I use the analogy of drag racing where you only get a minor crowd but you get rotary motors there the numbers double or triple,” says Erik.
“They just dig it [rotary motors] so to speak. Young people they love their Rotaries, their Supras and Nissans but they are fairly limited to what they can do with them apart from drag racing or drifting; so why not put the motor in a boat?”
He says a recent Facebook competition ‘who is your favourite driver’ strengthens his belief the modern engines are enticing a new wave of the sports fans and drivers with Peter and Gary’s boat collecting a considerable chunk of the votes.
As with any sport, competitors are constantly pushing the boundaries for any edge and jetsprints are no different with the new engines highlighting the sport can be achieved on cheaper budgets.
“One of the big problems with our sport is it’s been raced around the V8’s for some time but there is now an emergence of new motors and ideas.
“What guys are looking at is seeking other options and engines and how we can control the sport to run boats that are more affordable.”
Organisers are predicting Round 2 of the national series to be a scorcher with Victoria’s Phonsy Mullan attempting to repeat his Round 1 success, keeping clear of world number one Leighton Minnell from New Plymouth in the Suzuki Powerboats.
In the PSP Group A, another Australian Paul Gaston, from Gold Coast, is hoping to improve on his third place in Round 1, but faces stiff competition from Papamoa’s Tristan Hynds - keen to make a winning impression on his home track.
Hamilton’s rookie driver Ollie Silverton will be gunning for top sport in the 400 class after managing second place in Round 1.
Round 2 of the ENZED V8 Jetsprint Championship series is attracting strong interest as it will be the first time the sport is held in an enclosed seated sporting stadium anywhere in the world.
After three days of diggers carving out the track and trucking 1800 cubic metres of dirt – about 180 truckloads – out of the stadium, the 450m temporary circuit includes hair pin bends and straights.
The soil will be stored on ASB Baypark fields adjacent to the stadium and will be returned to site and re-turfed post event.