Sail-World.com : New Zealand Offshore Powerboat Series - Whitianga extra action packed
New Zealand Offshore Powerboat Series - Whitianga extra action packed
New Zealand Offshore Powerboat Series - Whitianga has always been one of the more action packed venues for the New Zealand Offshore powerboats, and this race was no exception. The start was delayed for 40 minutes as the swell produced by the massive earthquake in Japan created several surges throughout the morning, and boats had difficulty getting out of the marina where the tide appeared to fall and rise within three minutes, making the currents in the narrow channel difficult to navigate or indeed accelerate against.
The earthquake created other problems with large amounts of debris being washed off the surrounding beaches and out to sea, causing at least one boat issues as Schick Hydro hit a log in the early stages of the race, and though continuing to the finish were not able to drive at full speed.
The 100 mile race today was perhaps the best for several seasons with three of the superboats, Fairview, Doosan and Profloors racing neck and neck for several laps with the lead changing hands several times. Warren Lewis, driver of the winning boat Fairview said ‘What a race, I think I took one breath for the entire race. There wasn’t room for any mistakes and that was real powerboat racing'
Profloors were in their element today, and as Wayne Valder said, 'We were hanging in there for several laps and saw the chance so had to go for it' This put them in second place with only two laps to go, and Doosan were unable to make up the lost ground. Cary Gleeson and Sam Fillmore, obviously disappointed to lose ground on Fairview with only three races to go, had a blast, both saying how much they had enjoyed the race.
Looking at the points table for the superboats, this put Fairview in the lead on 2275, with Doosan second on 1900 points, Schick Hydro third on 1163 and Profloors fourth on 1125 The season is by no means in the bag, as one mistake will cost valuable points in the upcoming races.
NZ Blokes attained their fifth straight win in the Superboat Lites, with Red Steel having issues part way round the course which saw them lose valuable time. They were however able to get going again and finished the race to get their second place points.
In the 60 mile race Espresso Engineers were able to get there first win after a superb race in which they looked in control and well trimmed the whole way round. Konica Minolta came second today and encountered problems when they lost an engine cowling part way round the race and had to retrieve it. They did however win both the Classic Class and the fishing contest, pulling in a couple of Kawhai while waiting for the race to start.
Mikey Knight in Auckland District Collections also had his fifth straight victory in the Sports Restricted Class, with a relatively smooth ride around the course. Jono Hanley was second in Marineworkz, once again putting on a spectacle with several exciting leaps.
In the Honda class the racing was once again amazingly close with Auckland District Collections and Rayglass rounding the last corner together and a sprint finish up the home straight. This was won by Mike Urquhart in Auckland District Collections putting him at 2375 point. Rayglass in second now have 1725 points, Total Oil in third on 1594, and CRD in fourth on 1107. The Gambler did not race at Whitianga after splitting the hull at Napier.
The NZOPA would like to thank the Coastguard, Gull Pure Energy, Whitianga Ice Supplies, The Blacksmith Bar & Kitchen, Marina Park, AB Marine, and Energizer for their support in making the Whitianga Race possible.
They also acknowledge the ongoing support of the series sponsors Rayglass.
The remaining three rounds in the 2011 series are: Marsden Cove outside Whangarei (26 March), Auckland (9 April) and the final round in Wellington on 23 April.
by New Zealand Offshore Powerboat Association
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8:37 AM Sun 13 Mar 2011 GMT
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