Defending SuperBoat champion Peter Caughey was beaten into second place by his own ENZED Sprintec boat at round three of the MouthFRESH SuperBoat championship during the Altherm Jetsprint champs at Waitara this weekend.
Sam Newdick’s motor was damaged at Meremere three weeks ago, and the custom-machined pistons couldn’t be sourced from the US in time.
So Peter Caughey, whose Sprintec business built Newdick’s boat as well as his own, took a risk and offered to share his boat and his team for the event.
Caughey said later, “We thought if we play this well we could come away with a one-two result – but I was thinking us first, and him second! But what a great result, it’s Sam’s first win in SuperBoats and his hand was actually shaking when I shook it to congratulate him!”
As it turned out, the event was full of surprises with Glen Head, current world champion and hot favourite, spinning out for a dnf (did not finish) in the top 12 after some very aggressive driving.
“That was a bit of a game changer,” Caughey said, as was the track itself.
“It was a reasonably flowing rotation and a good little track, but it was easier to race in the morning than the afternoon. We couldn’t really identify what was making the difference, the water almost felt soupy and I did wonder if the surrounding ground had reached saturation early, so when water was added during the lunch break it added volume that didn’t drain off.”
Caughey said that usually as the day goes on, “You set your boat up, get your lines better, and the wake gets smaller as the tracks come to you, but that didn’t happen…”
What made it harder was trying to tune the boat in breaks between two drivers.
“We got word of Sam’s plight early Thursday and that he and his team were gutted to miss a round, so we had a team meeting and decided to help. The Newdick team has two of our Sprintecs, Sam is current Group A champion and moved to SuperBoats this season. He’s quite a talent, so we offered him a drive.”
As a result, the Newdick team left with two wins, Sam’s brother-in-law in Class A and Sam himself in SuperBoats, thanks to the generosity of Caughey’s ENZED team.
Caughey says, “It’s always demanding to have two very competitive drivers racing in the same SuperBoat. These things are tuned to within an inch of their life, and it’s really upping the ante, so huge credit to the ENZED team and their skills to have made this all work.”
“Talk about gritty determination, it was stonking hot, it was tricky work and it would have been a busy day with one driver, two racing the same boat is ridiculous, but the guys got the job done, and the crowd loved it.”
Caughey says offering to share the boat is not something the ENZED team does lightly. “It’s a sacrifice, not just risking damage to a high-performance boat from the extra top-revs work, but for the team to manage the work needed. Sam has his own team, but we know our boat and have our own systems so my team ran the whole deal – launching, tuning, fuelling, starting and trailering both drivers and navigators.”
They must have been happy to see Caughey set the fastest time of the day in the final, with a 41.558 despite hitting some ugly wakes.
Then it was Newdick’s turn, and he really turned it on with a smoother run for 41.228.
“It was a huge final,” Caughey says, “Very exciting and it went off good and the ENZED boys have got to be rapt, they had a great day with the ENZED boat first and second for round three of the NZ champs.”
As for Sam, his first comment on getting out of the borrowed Spintec was, “Hell, it’s got some stonk, hasn’t it!”
Caughey laughed, “It has quite a lot more power than his current motor, and a very nice jet unit package as well, and it was cool he recognized that and was loving it.”
Peter Caughey now leads the championship overall by two points, from a steady Blake Briant and Nick Berryman, with Sam Newdick jumping into fourth overall.
The teams will now be busy prepping their boats, with just two weeks until round four, at Hastings on March 12.
Provisional results, top 5 after three rounds of the Altherm Jetsprint champs
MouthFRESH SuperBoat class
1 Peter Caughey 80.5 pts
2 Blake Briant 78.5
3 Nick Berryman 75.5
4 Sam Newdick 69.5
5= Scott Donald 65.5
5= Aaron Hansen 65.5