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New Zealand’s best offshore powerboat racers are heading to Gisborne for round two of the 2010 Rayglass NZ Offshore Powerboat Championship on 6 February.
The exciting on-the-water action starts at 1pm on Saturday with the 100-mile and 60-mile races being run concurrently for the seven different classes of powerboat that compete in this fiercely-fought championship.
With the first round in Taupo taking place just a week before the Gisborne race, competitors are fired up for their first run on the open sea for the 2010 season, says Cary Gleeson, president of the NZ Offshore Powerboat Association (NZOPA).
“We’re absolutely delighted to be heading back to Gisborne for the first time in nearly ten years,” says Gleeson who is also the ‘throttle-man’ on current 100-mile championship-leading boat ‘Doosan’ after Gleeson and driver Sam Fillmore, both from Auckland, won a challenging, wind-affected race in Taupo.
One of the great things about the offshore powerboat series is that the fantastic racing action is free for spectators to enjoy from the shore, says series commentator Jamie McCarthy.
“In Gisborne, the teams set up camp for the day near the Esplanade where there’s excellent viewing of the whole field as they complete the L-shaped course which heads along Kaiti Beach to the north and back past the main Esplanade and Waikanae Beach, then out to Midway Beach and south past the airport in the other direction.
“Enjoy our free commentary on the foreshore as you watch the race. Alternate viewing from an elevated position can be found at various points along Titirangi Domain.”
Depending on conditions, McCarthy says the race, which starts at 1pm, can take around an hour to an hour-and-a-half.
Organisers are expecting around 25 boats to enter for ‘Thunder on the Sea’. The Superboat and Superboat Lite classes, with a top speed of 110 to 120 mph, contest the 100-mile course, while the Super 60, Sport 60, Sport 60 Restricted, Classic and Formula Honda classes run the 60-mile course. The Sport and Classic classes have a top speed of 80 to 100 mph, while the AB Marine Formula Offshore Honda boats can run at up to 60 mph, depending on conditions.
Among the top superboats, spectators can expect to see Gleeson and Fillmore in ‘Doosan’, current second-placeholders Scott Lewis and Murray Tuffin in ‘A1 Homes’ and the now-repaired ‘Fairview Windows and Doors’, with Steve Whitford and Warren Lewis, which had to retire in Taupo with a steering system failure. Current third-placeholder Australian superboat ‘Team 3’ will have the Gold Coast’s Steve Nugent at the wheel with top Australian throttle-man Peter McGrath (aka Mudguard) replacing regular throttle-man Craig Archer who’s away.
The weekend’s activities start with a ‘meet and greet’ function for all powerboat competitors – open to the public – at the Tatapouri Sports Fishing Club at 7pm on Friday 5 February. On Saturday morning, the teams set up their marquees outside The Works Winery and Café on the Esplanade before putting their boats on parade through the central city area at 9am. With the race itself at 1pm, the official prize-giving takes place at the Tatapouri Sports Fishing Club at 7pm. Again, everyone is welcome, says Gleeson.
“We would also like to acknowledge the very significant support of a whole range of people keen to see the offshore powerboat series return to Gisborne. We’ve been made to feel tremendously welcome and it’s awesome how the whole community has got behind us. The NZOPA committee extends our sincere thanks to Tourism Eastland, Eastland Community Trust, Eastland Port, Steve McCafferty Trucking, Eastland Oils, Phil Law Panelbeating, White Pointer, Martins Hire Centre, Gisborne Honda and C R Taylor Ltd.
“We also appreciate the ongoing support of our series sponsors Rayglass, AB Marine, Marine Paramedical Services and MarineWorkz,” adds Gleeson.
After the Gisborne event, the 2010 Rayglass NZ Offshore Powerboat Championship heads to Gulf Harbour (20 February), Napier (6 March), Wellington (27 March), Whitianga (10 April), Marsden Cove outside Whangarei (24 April) with the final round in Auckland (8 May).
More information and updated championship points’ tables can be found on the New Zealand Offshore Powerboat Association website, www.nzoffshore.co.nz.
2010 Rayglass NZ Offshore Powerboat Championships
100-mile Championship Points
1, Sam Fillmore (Auckland) / Cary Gleeson (Auckland) ‘Doosan’, 475
2, Scott Lewis (Auckland) /Murray Tuffin (Auckland) ‘A1 Homes’, 375
3, Steve Nugent (Gold Coast) / Craig Archer (Whangaparaoa) ‘Team 3’, 300
4, Brook Faulkner (Napier) / Tony Carson (Napier) ‘Red Steel’, 244
5, Kelly Smith (Wellington) / Grant Smith (Wellington) ‘Rayglass’, 202
60-mile Championship Points
1, Mike Gerbic (Auckland) / Dave Vazey (Auckland) ‘Espresso Engineers’, 475
2, Greg Brinck (Auckland) / Jeff Weake (Hamilton) ‘Konica Minolta’, 375
3, Mike Smith (Wellington) / Matt Hopkins (Wellington) ‘Rayglass’, 300
4, Mike Knight (Auckland) / Yael Pook (Auckland) ‘Honda Marine’, 244
5, Mike Urquhart (Auckland) / Darren Woods (Auckland) ‘Auckland District Collections 2’, 202