Peter Caughey leads the MouthFRESH SuperBoat class of the Altherm NZ Jetsprint championship by two points, but knows that could all change on March 12’s round four thanks to the weather.
“It could play a crucial role this weekend, we’re optimistic it won’t ruin the event, but the forecast is 25 degrees and ‘showers’, and everyone will have to change their race strategy just in case.”
The organisers have set an earlier start, “But if bad weather rolls in we may only complete four or five runs before they call a result,” Caughey says.
Given the immense power these finely-tuned racing craft put out, most drivers aim to increase speed throughout the day, putting in just enough to make it through each elimination round, to conserve their engines.
But it’ll be full bore every round at Hastings, which could make for an exciting event at one of NZ’s most picturesque venues.
“We’ll get the boat up to speed and put up good lap times early and go as fast as we can every round, so if the race controller needs to make a hard call we hope to be in a strong position.”
That may work in favour of more experienced teams with well set-up boats that are easy to drive, like the ENZED boat the PCR team runs.
Meanwhile Caughey says the track rotation is more technical than he’s seen at Hastings in recent times, “Which is a good thing.”
“There will be a few challenges in there and odds on it should be a happy hunting ground for boats similar to ours.”
Caughey shared his boat with Sam Newdick last round, sharing the top two podium spots, which can be hard on a boat, but the PCR team has worked hard to check there were no ill effects.
“Phil from Tracksport Engines in Auckland flew down to go over the motor and fit a new set of valve springs – one of those stitch in time things.”
“And Jeremy has done a marvelous job of repairing minor racing scrapes – he ended up almost as black as the underside of the boat! And I’m sure he enjoyed a good shower when he’d finished…”
Caughey says new valve springs are like a punch in the arm for this motor, “A shot of adrenaline in to the system which will keep us on our toes in the early stages of the event – the motor will be super responsive and producing good power.”
He’ll need it, for the competition will be fast and furious. Caughey says he’ll have his eye on Blake Briant, sitting second in the championship, “And Sam Newdick will have his rebuilt motor and the rotation will suit him, so he’ll set good lap times.”
Glen Head should have sorted his smoking turbo issues from Taranaki, “And we can guarantee a crowd pleaser with the return of Richard Murray in ‘The Hulk’, with its supercharged V8 Ford, which will rark up the Hawkes Bay countryside.”
And Rob Coley goes well at this event – “In fact he had his first SuperBoat win at this track so he’ll be bright-eyed and bushy tailed too.”
Local favourites include Graeme Hill, with David Simmons and partner Pip Thompson both racing SuperBoats— “Does the loser have to cook dinner all week?” Caughey quipped, “Actually Pip has been really showing some form, and looks as if she’s ready for more power in her SuperBoat.”
The PCR team hits the road today, hoping to avoid rough weather on the trip north, ready to get stuck in to defending his championship crown at Hastings on Sunday, March 12.
Provisional Top 10 after three rounds of the Altherm Jetsprint champs
MouthFRESH SuperBoat class
1 Peter Caughey 80.5pts
2 Blake Briant 78.5
3 Nicky Berryman 75.5
4 Sam Newdick 69.5
5= Rob Coley 65.5
5= Scott Donald 65.5
5= Aaron Hansen 65.6
8 Glen Head 63.5
9 Garry Stephen 59.5
10 Graeme Hill 54.5