Canterbury is a breeding ground for jetski racing champions but who knew?
Those within the sport have for years but, like so many minority sports, those outside it are blissfully unaware.
At Easter’s national championships in Porirua Harbour, of the eight classes, seven were won by Cantabs and there were no members of the Canterbury Jet Sports Club in the eighth.
The four main titles were all brought back to Christchurch.
Mel Bainbridge won the women’s Ski Stock class, Nathan Maclure won the Expert/Elite Runabout Stock, Marshall Brown was champion in the Expert/Elite Ski Open class, while Brad Clarke won the Expert/Elite Runabout Open, his 10th national title.
Clarke told The Press the Canterbury Jet Sports Club’s dominance isn’t a new thing and was unlikely to go away in a hurry because of the numbers and interest in the sport.
The fact the Cantabs made such a strong showing so far from home speaks to that.
For Clarke, the win topped off a great summer that started in October in the United States with a world title and had him named New Zealand rider of the year.
Clarke, 39, travelled to Lake Havasu in Arizona, the home of the worlds every year, originally as mechanic for Christchurch’s Trent Brown.
Brown was one of the title favourites in the GP Ski class – one of the bigger classes of the meeting – but missed a buoy at a crucial time to finish third.
Clarke had been to the worlds before and thought if he was going over there anyway, he might as well sort himself out a ride since his class didn’t clash with Brown’s.
It was a wise choice – he won the sports class and finished third in the two-stroke stock, while Christchurch’s Mark Bainbridge was third in the amateur vets ski.
“It was something I always wanted to do,” Clarke said. “I was over there anyway and I got the ski off a friend.” That friend might not have been too pleased, it was his son Clarke beat into second place.
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