After Covid cancelled the series last year, drivers had plenty of pent-up adrenaline to unleash.

In the big boys’ toys MouthFRESH Superboats class, defending champions and pre-round favourites Hamilton’s Sam Newdick and navigator Shama Putaranui’s 1000hp PSP Racing boat held out against the hard-charging Wired superboat of Tauranga’s Aaron Hansen and Julie-Anne Shanks. The Bar’s Bugs superboat, driven by Gisborne’s Blake Briant, was third. Returning to racing after a break of a few years, Briant and navigator Cassandra Norman were the fastest boat going into the Top Three Shootout. However, a wrong turn in their final outing knocked them off the top of the podium.

That meant Newdick’s campaign in the six-round National Championship got off to the best possible start and showed why he made history when he won the MouthFRESH superboat title in 2021 – becoming the first person to win titles in every class.

In the Sprintec Boats Group A class, Hamilton’s Ollie Silverton and navigator Jess Sit battled with defending champions, North Canterbury couple Simon and Sarah Gibbon. Silverton’s PSP Racing 2NZ boat held out for the win after Gibbons’ Novus Glass boat developed engine troubles in the top-six shootout after leading all day. Their exit left a gap for Ross Travers of Wanganui and his navigator Amanda Kittow to move into the runner-up spot.

The fierce rivalry continued in the MTW Group B between two Carterton-based teams. At the end of the day, it was Bryce and Kylie Baron who secured the win in their L J Hooker Racing boat over Sam Gray and Mike Allen (Nine Lives Racing). “It was a great day of racing, on an amazing track, and good tight competition. The track was elite and on point, with a fast rotation,” said Bryce Baron.

The LS class was introduced this season to encourage keen punters to grab a boat and come racing and it was last season’s Group B champion, Napier’s John Verry and his 16-year-old navigator Leila Burder, who won the first round.


Fellow 16-year-old and rookie driver Dylan Edhouse, of Owhango, had his mum Debbie in the navigator’s seat and finished second for the meeting. BNZ


Jetsprinting could be likened to a rally sprint, except the action happens on water, not gravel roads. Travelling at incredible speeds, a driver and navigator manoeuvre a high-powered jetsprint boat around a track consisting of a maze of channels and islands in a particular sequence – in the fastest time possible.

The tracks are roughly the size of a rugby field, with the majority now purpose-built permanent fixtures, with launch ramps and safety fences. There is only one boat in the track at a time and, like car rallying, the driver and navigator are racing the clock.