Another year is over and what a year it was, lets wind the clocks back to the beginning of 2011….. With the September earthquake almost behind us and our city pretty much back to normal, everything was on track for our NZ Jet Sport Nationals, again to be held in our home town of Christchurch.
After hundreds of hours of organizing, once again the event was set to happen and be the biggest and best race-meet the country had seen! The Canterbury Jet Sport club is very spoilt and have their very own lake ‘Lake Roto Kohatu’ just 10 minutes from the city centre where the event was due to be held. All sorts of action had been planned from the racing to on-water display and trade display, this event was going to be awesome and not one to be missed.
Round two: …. This time though it wasn’t the night before, but two weeks before the event was due to be held, on the 22nd February at 12:51pm our lives where once again tipped upside down but this time a magnitude 6.3 quake hit amongst a lunch time rush in our busy city. Although on paper smaller than the September quake this one was shallower and centered across our main business area, causing more devastation and destruction, with this time over 180 lives lost. Our city was again in lock down and 6 months later you still cannot get within a mile of what used to be our CBD.
Our local personal water craft stores were all thrown around and poor Brad and his team at Mike Phillips Personal Watercraft are still working out of a temporary location. With some help from Mother Nature there original shop had the showroom floor crack, giving way to tons of liquefaction which came up through the cracks creating a beach like theme in the normally immaculate showroom.
The local Kawasaki dealer Farnley Jetski’s also had a similar series of events but has managed to keep operating out of his workshop after many ours of cleaning silt like liquefaction out of everything and everywhere.
After the global recession making life a little tricky for our local dealers over the past couple of years, they now have this to deal with and battle through. There are more tough times ahead, and the effects are getting felt right throughout the country with dealers in Auckland and Wellington reporting a very fast downfall in business immediately after February’s quake.
On the upside of these devastating events, the Auckland Jet Sports Club, quickly put up their hand and said they would host the 2011 NZ Jet Sport Nationals a month down the track at the amazing setting of ‘Blue Lakes’ in Rotorua.
The first weekend of March gave us some amazing racing at the 2011 Woodbine Marine Sea-doo NZ Jet Sport Nationals. There was an amazing turn out from all over the country, including many of the Christchurch riders making the fifteen hour journey north from their shaky town. There was plenty of skill out on the water including the normal stand out riders: Auckland’s Sam Harvey (Sea-doo GTI) taking out Expert/Elite Runabout Open, Wellington’s Carl Lampe Jnr (Sea-doo RXP-X) taking Expert/Elite Runabout Stock, Brad Clarke (Sea-doo GTI) from Christchurch taking out Veterans Runabout Open, Christchurch’s Nick Magill (Kawasaki STX-R) taking out Naturally Aspirated Runabout Open, and again from Christchurch Grant Wilson (Sea-doo RXP-X) getting his first ever national title in Novice Runabout Stock class. All in all, a very pleasing result board for Sea-doo taking out four of the five first places in the run-about classes.
The stand-up / pole ski classes also saw some super close racing, with 13 year old Tayne Lemon showing a lot of the older riders that age doesn’t count on the lake and taking out Novice Ski 850 Stock on his superjet and a close second in the Naturally Aspirated Ski 750 Open. Tayne came in behind Dunedin’s Steve Amende also riding a superjet. Amende also managed to collect first place in the Veterans Ski 850 Open class. Tyler Nicholson from Tauranga (Riding a HSR) took Expert/Elite Ski 850 Stock, and Trent Brown from Christchurch also riding a HSR took Expert/Elite Ski 850 Open.
Proving that girls are just as competitive, there was a class of five ladies competing for the title Expert/Elite Women’s Ski 850 LTD title, Hanna Surgeoner from Tauranga took the title against some tough competition. Our special guest Dawn Dawson who made the trip from the USA to be our event announcer also put her wetsuit on to compete with the ladies. Dawn had been booked by the Christchurch club to announce at the planned event and was lucky enough to be able to change her tickets and make it to the Rotorua racing, was awesome having her voice on the microphone all weekend.
Also in perfect timing the all new Kawasaki 300x had only landed in our country the week before and three separate riders managed to get their hands on these new ski’s to compete. With two Christchurch riders aboard (Darrell Dermott and Chris Farnley) managed first/second in the Watercross Stock, and Callum Farnell from Auckland piloting his RXP-X taking the Watercross Open trophy.
All in all an absolutely amazing event, organized in a very short time, big congratulations to the Auckland Jet Sport Club for making this happen.
Results online here …. nzjetski.co.nz2011-jet-sport-nationals-done-and-dusted
Following on from the Nationals we then stepped in the winter series, with the all new Kawasaki Ultra 300x dominating both North Island and South Island Series and making it the ski to own if endurance racing is your thing or if you not it’s the one to beat.
Added to the North Island Winter series this year was an all-new 100 mile race round Lake Taupo, a bit of a logistal challenge for the organizes but the team managed to pull off this amazing event with no problems, and I know I have my fingers crossed this race will become an annual event.
Summer series is now well underway, and it’s take two for the Canterbury Jet Sports Club, again with the NZ Nationals organized for the weekend of March 30th. The North Island summer series contuinues very shortly with round 2 and champs being held on the 21st and 22nd at Lake Rotoma in Rotorua. The South Island summer series also continues the weekend after on the 29th of January at Lake Roto Kohatu.
Over the past 12 months us at nzjetski has also started organising social rides, at this stage only in Christchurch but very shortly we will kick off North Island based rides. It isn’t uncommon to have well over 35 skis turn up for the Chch rides proving that riders enjoy riding in groups and enjoying a cold beer at the end of the day.
I hope to be able to bring you more info on our sport and industry this year, and am currently working on some new sections for our website, so please make sure we are saved in you web favorites and continue to keep checking back.
Please note: Images and results from most of the above mentioned events can be found on our site.