Region to host jetsprint final for first time
You can’t beat a home crowd cheering while you whip around an aquatrack in a boat, and this year Taranaki jetsprinters get to experience that twice - and most importantly, at a final.
This year the Methanex Aquatrack in Waitara will play host to the New Zealand Jetsprint Championship’s final for the first time ever. The New Zealand Jetsprint Championships run during summer each year and have around 50 teams competing at different locations all over the country.
The final will take place on April 14 after the fifth round of the national jetsprints, and also follow on from the Naki 500 which is round three and being held on February 24.
Event promotion manager Bernadette van Wyk said Taranaki was lucky enough to secure the competition final with the help of the current New Zealand Jetsprint Association president, Taranakibased Leighton Minnell.
van Wyk said another location fell through for the final round so the organisation decided it wanted to host it - ‘‘and they thought Taranaki was the perfect place to pick it up’’.
‘‘It’s going to be excellent.’’ van Wyk said both the events would be something to look forward to for both the racers and spectators.
There’s usually 3000 spectators at the Naki 500.
‘‘It’s one of those motor sports that you don’t have to be a full on petrol head to enjoy it,’’ she said. ‘‘The atmosphere is amazing.’’ All the Taranaki teams will be partaking in both the Naki 500 and the final, as long as their boats are in the right shape.
And van Wyk hoped one of them would come out on top too.
Despite the fact van Wyk doesn’t race in the jetsprints herself, she said one day she’d love to, and others have shown a similar interest.
Taranaki started with five teams three years ago and has dramatically grown since.
The region now has more teams than any other districts in the country with 13, van Wyk said.
‘‘We have the strongest jetsprint team in New Zealand now.’’
Leighton and Luke Minnell compete in Round 1 of the New Zealand Jetsprint Championships in Taranaki in 2017. This year the Waitara track will host the final event