We rolled into town early Friday morning with high expectations, as a nice weather front was rolling in on the back of a tropical cyclone and the forecast was for 35knots – Finally, an OFFSHORE RACE !!!
After setting up NZHL #16 on display outside “The Glasshouse Emporium” and Refurbgroup #400 outside “The Informer” we headed down to the beach to see first-hand the 4mtr swell plus 1mtr chop as promised by our ever faithful weather forecasters – Of course we were greeted by a gentle rolling swell and not a whitecap in sight (here we go again!)
At least this meant we were able to fulfil our promotional obligations and both boats were launched at 3.30pm for sponsor rides plus a little testing for the new crew in Refurbgroup.
Race Day kicked off early with race 1 scheduled for 11am – the weather was absolutely perfect for spectators with not a cloud in the sky and little breeze.
As for the race track? Well at least there was a gentle swell so our boat would get some airtime and therefore be on the pace.
Race 1 was unfortunately short lived as Papakura Toyota rolled on the very first lap, highlighting the fact that Offshore Powerboat Racing is a highly dangerous sport and in what we consider to be calm conditions, even the best crews can still be caught out.
All the crews competing in this series (our boys included) drive these boats on the ragged edge and unfortunately sometimes come unstuck.
The Papakura Toyota accident happened right in front of our boys in NZHL – Chris had his belts undone and was out of his seat in seconds, ready to jump in the water to help the boys get out. However the NZOPA rescue divers were on the scene in seconds and had both drivers out of the boat in quick time. Both drivers were bruised but not seriously injured, testament to not only the rescue crews but also the safety training our drivers receive every season, plus the safety features engineered into these incredible machines.
The Papakura Toyota crash resulted in race 1 being abandoned as the safety crews had to clear the course, so we waited for race 2 – at least the weather was perfect.
Race 2 got underway and the traditional battle between NZHL and Hi Jinx was on right from the drop of the flag, this time however, the conditions were not flat and this was no longer a circuit race. With the gentle rolling swell, Chris and Karl showed their ability to prop walk NZHL over the waves in the first leg getting past Hi Jinx racing and kept extending their lead for the entire race, even playing with the remaining 600 horsepower boats Fuel Doctor and Barley Legal.
At the conclusion of race 2 we had two very happy boys in NZHL who had not only been the first Super boat 400 across the line, but were also the 4th boat across the line overall.
Needless to say the after match function was well celebrated.
So, we have now completed the first ever NZ Super boat 400 season and although the championship win did elude us we are more than happy with our 2nd placing.
2017 was an unusual season for us, with mechanical issues and unseasonal weather conditions. I have said too many times that our boat was not suited to these unusual conditions, and although this was true at the beginning of the season, we did not sit around and wait for our conditions to appear.
Our team have used this season to develop our boat in the flat conditions without disrupting her superior rough water handling.
Last weekend’s race in Whitianga proved our boat is still the super boat 400 boat to beat in an offshore race, and she is now faster in flat conditions thanks to some hard racing against Hi Jinx.
Now it’s the offseason and the first port of call for us is to Steve and the boys at Boat Fix NZ for some slight modifications which will enhance our flat water speed even further.
A huge thank you has to go to our sponsors who have made this season possible:
NZHL – NZHL Takapuna – Liberty Finance – Boat Fix NZ – Mikes Marine – Nippys – Velvet Grip co – Brand Solutions – Segedins
As for next season ???
BCRacing will be back next season with the same boat and crew – “Doctor” Karl Wall on throttles and our young gun Chris “topher” Haeger on the wheel
This seasons theme was simply “Winning is not Everything – Wanting to Win Is !!!”
2018 seasons theme is even simpler “There ain’t no second prize!!”
Lookout NZOPA 2018 Series, BCRacing is coming in hot – Join us and keep up to date on these links
If you want to see all three Super boat 400’s up close, they are all on display at this weekend’s Hutchwilco Boat Show in Auckland – might see you there