The bar has been raised in the standard of jet ski events held in NZ! The Canterbury Jet Sports Club has set the standards high for all future events. The weekend of March 30th through April 1st was the Mike Phillips Sea-Doo 2012 NZ Jet Sport Nationals brought to you by John Jones Steel. This was held at Lake Roto Kohatu in Christchurch.
With over 68 riders entering and with some entering more than one class saw the total number of entries go well over the 100 mark, and spectator numbers in the thousands, this event was huge. Like previous years the Canterbury Club flew the lovely international jet ski announcer Dawn Dawson all the way from her home in the USA, Dawn kept the large crowd informed and entertained all weekend with her cheeky banter.
Christchurch’s Trent Brown rode very competitively all weekend to take home the number 1 plate in the Expert Elite Ski Open class, holding off Mark Bainbridge riding a modified Kawasaki also from Christchurch who rode home in 2nd place and young 14 year old Tayne Lemon from Auckland taking the 3rd place on his Yamaha Superjet.
Australian Guy Gee Greenland flew over and borrowed a brand new 2012 Sea-doo RXP-X, but unfortunately couldn’t get in front of flying Nathan Maclure riding an identical Sea-Doo ski, Guy did manage to hold off James Craw onboard an earlier model Sea-Doo in the Expert Elite Runabout Stock class.
Jules Bennet from Otago dominated the Novice Ski Stock class winning four out of four races on his Superjet, in front of Christchurch’s James Bainbridge and Wanaka’s Mark Williams both riding Kawasaki SX-R’s.
Novice Runabout saw Peter Redmond steer his 300 horsepower Kawasaki 300x and hold off Dan Smith on a Sea-Doo RXP who collected second in front of 15 year old Callum Wright from Christchurch on his Kawasaki 15f.
The crowd favorite – Expert Elite Runabout Open class is always a spectators favourite, with the high speeds and noise of the skis catching and keeping everybodys attention while they are on the water. World Champ Sam Harvey (Auckland) won six of his seven races on his super-fast Sea-Doo GTI, Christchurch’s Michael Carstairs rode hard and collected a second place trophy in front of Wellingtons Carl Lampe Jnr also on a Sea-doo.
Carstairs also riding an older Sea-Doo HX in the Naturally Aspirated Runabout Open held off Brad Clarke onboard a Sea-Doo XPL, and Andrew Green from Auckland on his larger Yamaha VXR for the top three places.
The Expert Elite Ski Stock class saw over 23 skis enter, meaning for the first time in a while heats were required to keep the numbers to a safe level on the start line. Again, Trent Brown riding a Kawasaki took out first place in front of Tauranga’s Tyler Nicholson riding an HSR Benelli and Daniel Jephson from Dunedin bringing his Yamaha Superjet into 3rd place.
For the first time in ten years, there was a Blaster class, with 8 Yamaha Blasters lining up beside each other and keeping the crowd entertained all weekend with the fun antics, Le Mans (running) starts, reverse grid starts and even reverse track, this class was all about fun.
Proving the water isn’t just for the boys, Lucy Whale, Hannah Surgeoner (both from Tauranga) and Mel Bainbridge (of Christchurch) battled it out all weekend with some very close racing. Lucy managed to hold off the other two ladies to collect first place on her SX-R, as well as racing competitively Mel Bainbridge impressed the crowd all weekend by holding her husband on the start line, which is a little uncommon in this male dominated sport.
Veterans Runabout Stock/Open saw three well know names battle it our for the title, but Brad Clarke on A Sea-Doo RXP-X just kept in front of Callum Farnell by three points and Auckland’s John Wright in third also riding a Sea-Doo.
Kawasaki was well represented in the Veterans Ski Stock/Open class, with all top 4 riders riding SX-R skis, Mark Bainbridge from Christchurch out in front with four out of four wins, Auckland’s Richard Webb coming in Second and local Jason Donnithorne coming back from many years off racing to get third and also first stock ski home in this race.
All in all, an amazing organized event, with great weather, great racing and a great atmosphere, and proving after all the talk of the sport suffering in recent years that there is still a huge following and passion in the sport. Long may it continue.
Results are avalable for download here
Photo Galleries here