Caughey back in front at SuperBoat champs


Peter Caughey and his ENZED boat aced ‘fastest time’ at every round at Meremere today, pic Ian Thornton

“We’re back!” Says an obviously relieved Peter Caughey, after the defending SuperBoat champion set the fastest time at every qualifier and elimination round at the Jetsprint championships run at Meremere today.

“It’s nice to put an emphatic end to a run of navigational errors at the previous two events,” Caughey said. “Navigator Karen Marshall and I were both very focused on getting that sorted, and as a result we kept serving it up.”But the six-time NZ and four-time world champion’s almost legendary boat control skills were vital today, as temperatures of over 30 degrees in the shade and low air pressures handicapped his naturally aspirated boat.“Our main rivals have twin-turbo boats, they make their own air pressure so aren’t as affected by weather. Our hottest contender – Phonsy Mullan – has a 1600hp twin-turbo V8 Chevy-powered boat, and when I saw the track rotation I knew he’d be hard to beat.”

But Caughey’s experienced ENZED team worked hard all day, with Dave and Ross fine-tuning his Sprintec racer, “We worked like Trojans – excuse the pun – and it paid dividends in front of our ENZED, Trojan and Total sponsors and the crowd today.”

Caughey set a blinder first time out, throwing down mid-54-second gauntlets and cutting them down from there; “We got our fastest time of the day in the final with 53.23, against Phonsy’s fastest lap at 54.57, and there was only Graham Hill to go.”

Graham had started the day four points ahead of the Caughey-Phonsy battle but crashed his twin-turbo Nissan spectacularly in the final. “The good news is he and nav Tracey Webster are alright, a bit bruised and beaten but cleared by the ambos. I rate him as a driver, he was initially a bit of a dark horse but we figured he could be quick, and he’s proved it.”

“Given his speed and the number of rolls he did it’s a tribute to the track that he didn’t sustain more damage; he has a good team and I’d be surprised if he’s not back and ready to race at Hastings in a month’s time.”

Happy to be back in contention for the top spot heading into the fourth round, Caughey paid tribute to Meremere – “a very well run event despite the extra 14 or 15 boats now competing, which makes the one-day format hugely demanding for race officials.”

And he thanked his sponsors for coming out in strength to cheer him on – “The ENZED guys brought cartons of fresh water, a welcome relief we shared with spectators calling through at the lunch break.”

New Zealand jetsprint championship calendar

Round 4, March 16, Hastings
Round 5, April 5 (under lights) Wanganui
Round 6, Final, April 18, Wanaka (ends under lights)

Provisional Championship points, top nine after three rounds

1 Graeme Hill, 84
2 Peter Caughey 81
3 Phonsy Mullan 80
4 Dave Hopkins  79
5= Leighton Minnell 71
5= Greg Mercier 71
7 Peter Huijs 64
8 Rob Coley 58
9 Chris Munro 51