Caughey faces anxious wait before penultimate round

Peter Caughey and Karen Marshall hold second in the champs after four rounds (photo, Ian Thornton)

Peter Caughey and Karen Marshall hold second in the champs after four rounds (photo, Ian Thornton)

Defending SuperBoat champion Peter Caughey faces an anxious few days heading into the fifth and penultimate round of the Suzuki Grand Vitara SuperBoat class at the jetsprint champs in Wanaka on Easter Saturday,
April 4.

His mighty new motor had a crankshaft failure in round one, and though he’s held on to second in the champs in a leased boat, it’s slower, and he needs his own black beast back if he’s to have any chance of reeling in points leader, Pat Dillon.

“Tracksport isn’t answering the phone – so I’m guessing they’re flat out assembling the motor in time for Saturday’s race…”

Caughey says Wanaka’s compact, custom-built track is suited to a small and responsive boat, “And we know what we can do with the black boat. The motor has been a huge job, and they know we want it as new and that takes lots of time, but after missing three rounds in it, the ENZED team is chafing at the bit.”

Caughey’s expecting a big crowd for the daytime event, as Wanaka Easter visitors look for a family-friendly rapid-fire event to entertain them.

“It’ll be exciting, for sure. At this end of the series the focus moves to protecting championship points for those at the top of the table, and Pat Dillon has a championship lead for the first time, and a generous one. But when you’re ahead you’re hearing noises in your boat, you’re looking over your shoulder… he’s not been there before, and we’ll have to see how he deals with the pressure.”

Caughey says although he’s closest on points, his leased boat is not as competitive. “It’ll be Leighton Minnell, back in his favourite boat, our old 540 Sprintec that Pat’ll be watching, as it’s a happy hunting ground for that package. But Rob Coley and Graeme Hill, also in Sprintecs, can be counted on to put a lot of pressure on Pat.”

And there’s Glen Head, new and relatively inexperienced, “But he’s shown some form.”

Few racers are as used to travelling long distances as Cantabrian Caughey is, and that can throw some competitors.

He and his navigator are aiming for a good result, though. “This Saturday’s rotation is a shocker. Karen Marshall and I will have to be on form. It’d be great to get the black boat back and get a victory before season end, not just for ENZED, Trojan and Total, our sponsors, but for Karen, as it’s her last season before she retires.”

“But either way, it’ll be fantastic to be racing at a daytime event, in front of a packed family crowd a few minutes out of Wanaka, with some serious action from New Zealand’s top drivers in all three classes against that wonderful scenic backdrop.”

“And no matter which boat we’re in, one thing’s for sure. We’ll be giving it our best.”

New Zealand Jetsprint Championship season

4 April Wanaka Rd5
26 April Featherston/Wairarapa, Rd 6

Suzuki Grand Vitara SuperBoat class, provisional points, top 10, after four rounds

1 Pat Dillon 117pts
2 Peter Caughey 107
3 Leighton Minnell 103
4 Glen Head 100
5 Rob Coley 94
6 Graeme Hill 93
7 David Simmons 81
8 Peter Huijs 77
9 Nick Berryman 71
10 Dave Hopkins 23