2016 South Island Champs: the roller coaster Words & Pics: Rene…
Know that sometimes in life you find yourself in the middle of a seriously awesome situation. Anyone that happened to be in attendance of Round 5 of the NZJSA Wanaka round will be able to relate.
We are standing in the pits, having a look around. We could’ve pointed my camera in any direction, taken a photo, sent it to China, with this then resulting in a further increase in the Auckland housing market. It was that beautiful. As we focus my attention to closer geography, we see all the teams working away getting their boats ready for the day ahead, making all the last minute checks before they hit the water. Hearing one ultra highly modified V8 fire up is straight music, hearing half a dozen firing up at the same time is an angry orchestra at full volume.
This is the first time that we had a full team in attendance from the start of the day. This round gave us a totally different experience. We got to see all the preparation that goes into setting up the boats. We also learnt how tiny increments in angles can make the boat handle entirely different.
In fact it was at this point, the intricacies of the sport dawned on us, it wasn’t just about having the fastest hull, or having the most powerful motor. If you had these two factors and weren’t able to pilot the boat to the full abilities you were still going to do poorly. Add set-up into the mix plus having a a team that can all work in unison. You start to get an idea about how many factors go into being at the pointed of the field. Our team has always been around cars, and the same may go ring true to be a successful race car driver. But you add in the factor that in Jet Sprint racing the track that you race on is constantly moving, as water does not stay still as you move through it. You start to get an inkling of the skill level required to be competitive.
It was at this moment we realised how cool it is to own one of these boats. Your boat is faster than almost any car on the planet, your corner at the same G-Forces as a fighter jet, and the danger is imminent around every corner. And every corner is coming up on the second for almost a minute. Intense.
Sometimes the intensity gets too great, and the corner comes up to fast or you go the wrong way, navigators seem to be highly likely to point you in the wrong direction, according to the drivers.
Our ace photog Chim Patel had a near death experience when the ‘White Noise’ boat decided to do it’s best impersonation of a bulldozer and went straight for the fence. Being the professional that he is he didn’t miss the opportunity to get the money shots…
Gladly no-one was hurt in the making of this sequence, and the tyres and the fence did a brilliant job of keeping the boat from ploughing into the crowd.
The real beauty of the day is watching these boats in full flight, majestic is a word that comes to mind when watching them carve up the course at break neck speeds.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank the 222 Jet Sprint team in letting us follow their antics throughout the season so far. They have taught us tons about the sport, and we now blame them for wanting to have a go in a boat. The drivers of the entire sport have gained our respect on that note, this sport is straight ‘bat-sh#t, mental crazy’ and you have to have a screw loose to want to compete in the championship. The dangers are real, the rewards are slim and fortune favours the brave. We respect that, and we are already hanging out for the next round to get our fix.
Here is a short video we put together for the 222 team of the day, and it give you a better idea about all the things we mentioned: 222 Facebook Wanaka video report
A full resolution 1080p version here:
We try our best to bring the speed of the sport to life in photos and video, but to truly appreciate these machines on full song, you need to see and hear them in person. The next round of the Jet Sprints is on the 26th of April at the Tauherenikau Race course in Featherston. So if you are in the Wellington region on that date make sure you make it down to have a look at this mental sport. It’s family friendly too, so pack a picnic, the chilly bin and some fold out chairs for a premium day out.