Serious offshore racing at Napier this coming Saturday for Round 6 of the NZ Armacup ‘Racing for Cure Kids, Inex Metals Offshore Powerboat Championship as the series heads towards an exciting conclusion with only three rounds remaining.
Napier has always been a highlight for many teams as they face the huge swells off the foreshore and out in the Napier harbour.
Three weeks ago in Tauranga it was Auckland’s Richard Shores and Wayne Carson who finally got their campaign back on track with their second victory of the season.
Driving their 32-foot, 1300-hp, American designed Douglas Skater catamaran, PlaceMakers they drove a well calculated race to win in a shade under 60 minutes for the 100-mile course, although Shores knows it will not be the same this Saturday. ’Napier has always been a hard race to win because of the sea conditions, but we need to win to keep our championship hopes alive’ he said recently.
Series leader after recording their fourth second placing at Tauranga is another Auckland team, Fairview Windows and Doors driven by brothers Warren and Scott Lewis. They have been the most consistent team all season and lead the championship by six points. They stepped up into the Superboat class this season after re-powering from outboards to inboards during the winter months and whilst a victory has eluded them to date, they are proving a real threat in the overall championship, although they would probably prefer light to moderate seas this weekend.
Current national champions, Peter Turner and Craig Archer in the Brett Bakewell White designed 34-foot, 1100hp NZ designed Phantom catamaran, Sleepyhead will be looking forward to Napier where the size of their boat should revel in the expected big seas off Napier. The Sleepyhead team will know that a win at Napier will almost certainly kill off any chance PlaceMakers has of winning this season’s championship race. Sleepyhead won at Napier last year and will be looking forward to retaining this particular title.
Not to be outdone is the South Auckland team of Wayne and Grant Valder in the second 34-foot, 1100hp Phantom catamaran, Pro Floors Racing. They had a convincing win at Gulf Harbour in round three and are hanging out for another rough sea race. Whilst they remain in third place in the championship a win would be a big boost to their title aspirations.
Superboat Light: There should be a field of five Superboat Light boats lining up in the closest battle for championship honours in this class for years. Perry Morris and Bevin Antonelli in the 29-foot, 600-hp Robson catamaran High Impact will be looking forward to the rougher conditions expected at Napier.
They have one of the more heavy boats contesting the Superboat Light class and this may be the advantage they have been looking for all season. They have yet to win a class race but have been close on a number of occasions this season; Napier may be the race to get the monkey off their back.
High Impact won’t have it all there own way though with the twin challenge from Wellington in the form of Grant Smith and Dave Aldridge in their 28-foot 580hp Skater catamaran, Addictive Racing who are really starting to settle into their work after a slow start to the season. They have won the last two races in the Superboat Light class and will be looking forward to making it a three peat.
The second team from the Capital is Rayglass Boats, driven by Kelly Smith and Travis Thompson. Like Addictive Racing, Rayglass is a 28-foot, 580hp Skater catamaran. The rookie team took out class honours in the opening two rounds at Taupo and Maraetai and remains right in contention in the championship race. A win at Napier will go a long way to consolidating their lead at the top of the point’s ladder.
The remaining two entrants will be the Australian team of Red Bellies Racing, driven by Bruce Sanders and Colin Graven who are competing in the NZ series this season, while former national champion Roger Puttick and Len Levas are expected back this weekend in the 28-foot, twin Mercury 600hp Robson catamaran PuttPutt.Com.
Close racing is once again expected in the Sports 100 class; keep a close eye on the three Bat Boats, Drive Right (Mark and Aaron Diggleman), Team Steadcraft (Greg and Philip Crawford) and YMF Family Boats (Steve Lockhart and Tony Singe). These boats are reaching speeds of close to 85mph and will be looking forward to renewing their rivalry this Saturday.
Not to let the Bat Boats have it all there own way will be Graeme Pike and Laurence Hullena in Vmax Yamaha, Kevin Ireland and Liz McDonald in Challenger and local entrant Bill Thompson and Craig Parsons in Finance Point.