'Fujitsu' Fast and Furious at Beachlands   18 Feb 2012

The Superboat 'Fujitsu Better Heat' thrilled the crowds today giving an outstanding demonstration of high speed racing and dominating the race with their win on the calm flat waters off Beachlands in Auckland's Tamaki Straight. Tony Coleman said after the race that it had been a long time coming, and he was pleased to have a win under his belt. Chris Hanley too was pleased to have a win near the start of the series and prove their ability to outrun their competition.

Conditions were perfect with blazing hot sunshine, miles of visibility, little wind and no swell apart from the occasional wake of a passing ferry. The islands of Auckland's Hauraki Gulf provided a stunning backdrop to the event, and many spectators took advantage of the cliffs overlooking the course to watch the race.

Warren Lewis and Flea Koolen from 'Fairview' were prevented from getting their hatrick today in the Superboat class and Warren later agreed that the fastest boat had won today. He was glad to finish without incident in second place, no doubt keen to take on Fujitsu in the rougher conditions expected in Napier. Schick Hydro raced by Scott Lewis and Murray Tuffin struggled to find the necessary speed in the straights today, and while they had an enjoyable and exciting battle with 'Profloors' for much of the race, finished at the back of the field. The Superboat class was made all the more exciting this week with the two day entries, 'Doosan' driven by Cary Gleeson and Richard Shores, and 'Profloors' driven by Wayne and Grant Valder.

'Alimax' driven by Gordon Robinson and Andrew Macbeth had a fantastic start in the Superboat Lite class and managed to hold off 'Red Steel' for much of the race, just letting them slip through on the inside at lap seven. 'Red Steel' driven this week by Tony and Wayne Carson will be delighted with their win, making it three in a row for the season this far. 'Alimax' finished second followed by 'Espresso Engineers' driven by Mike Gerbic and Allan Branch who struggled with one engine underperforming throughout the race. 'Speedy 1' driven by Steve Bone and Pete Jonas looked like well seasoned veterans in their second race, and while new to the sport are enthusiastic and appear to be improving with each outing.

Winning the 60 mile race overall this week was 'Back2Bay6' driven by Glenn and Chris Powell who excelled in the conditions today and zoomed around the course. Both pleased to finish without incident on the course which last year saw them damaged and unable to continue racing.

Once again the Sports 60 Restricted class provided plenty of entertainment. 'Konica Minolta' driven by Mike Smith and Adam Smale led right from the start and while chased hard by Mikey Knight and his father Mark Helms in 'Auckland District Collections' were able to hang on to their lead for the entire race. 'Thin Ice', winners at Gisborne had problems with their engine this week and, while they made it out onto the course, were not able to start. James Taylor in 'Total Oil' had a bad start but managed to get across the line in third place, having to pick his way up through the field from the back. Despite the flat conditions, 'Energizer' driven by Jono and Ashleigh Hanley were still able to get plenty of air time from their boat putting on an impressive display of spray splattering landings. 'CRD Automotive' who in their last race landed badly, splitting part of the boat, which subsequently sunk, were back this week having put in a lot of long hours on repairs. With a new wiring loom and a lot of untested componentry they were unsure before the race as to how they would perform, and ran into trouble part way through the race which forced them to retire.

Bob and Alexander Smith were back in 'Triple Trouble' this week and enjoyed a full-on fast race around the course, with plenty of competition from the other 60 milers. With two day entries there were a lot of boats on the course and there were many small battles going on as the race progressed and boats tried to overtake eachother.

All agreed by the end of the race that conditions were fantastic and while many did not attain the results they wanted, all enjoyed the clear visibility, fast conditions and close competition.

The NZOPA thank and acknowledge the support of the Auckland City Council, Pine Harbour Marina, The Maraetai Coastguard, Pepperjacks Restaurant, The Jolly Rodger Pub, Oceania Aviation Ltd, Acceleration on Water, Marineworkz, and Marine Paramedical Services.

Boats will be on display on the reserve in front of the Beachlands Yacht club on Saturday morning.

Event details are posted on the NZOPA Website www.nzoffshore.co.nz
Racing continues at Napier on the 17th March, Whitianga on the 31st March, Wellington on the 14th April, Auckland on the 28th April and the final race of the season at Tauranga on the 12th May.

(New Zealand Offshore Powerboat Association)

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