IT ALL STARTED IN NEW ZEALAND …
Jetsprinting is a sport which originated here in New Zealand back in 1981 by a group of enthusiastic jetboaters. The sport quickly caught the attention of the NZ public, and before long our National Championship was established.
Jetsprinting could be likened to rallying, only on water, where a driver and navigator manoeuvre a high powered jetsprint boat at incredible speeds around a track consisting of a maze of channels and islands in a particular sequence. The tracks are roughly the size of a rugby field, with the majority now purpose built permanent tracks, with launch ramps and safety fences. There is only one boat in the track at a time, the driver and navigator are racing the clock.
There are 4 classes within the sport, Group B, LS Class, Group A and Superboat.
MTW Group B
MTW Group B are powerful racing machines with up to 600Hp from their Chev V8 engines. Many of the motors are essentially a restricted version of a carburetted 6.7 litre (412ci) Group A motor, with a modern alternative being the fuel injected 6 litre Chev LS2 motor which weighs approximately 40kg less than the 6.7L motor. Both motors offer great bang-for-the-buck, with strong reliability and relatively low running costs – proving very popular with new jetsprinters
MTW LS CLASS
The 400 cu small block Chev engine has been the foundation of modern jetsprinting and its a long way from finished yet. But now it’s time for a new generation of engines to show their worth… welcome to the Chev LS engine.
The MTW LS class has been introduced to allow LS1 LS2 L98 L76 and LS3 engines to be tuned to 580hp and raced in a lightweight exciting package. The aluminium construction and the availability of the Commodore based powerplant makes these engines perfectly suited to jetsprinting. Cheaper engine packages can be upgraded over time as budgets allow, or crate engine options are available for turnkey options.
The MTW LS class is designed to encourage keen punters to grab a boat and come racing. With up to 8.5 inch jet units allowed, donor boats can be sourced from any existing NZ Championship class.
Sprintec Group A
Sprintec Group A jetsprint boats often get over 600 horsepower (450KW) from their 6700cc engines (412 cubic inch). With bigger carburettors, wider cam shafts and bigger jet units than MTW Group B, the Sprintec Group A boats provide close exciting competition with a large field of drivers always challenging for the win. Competition in Group A’s is often the hardest fought in the championship – who do you pick to be the Sprintec Group A winner today?
Building King Superboats
Superboats really are the big boys’ toys. There are no engine rules, anything goes and 1000+ horsepower (750 KW+) is the norm in Superboats. With ‘big block’ versus ‘small block’ and super chargers and turbo also allowed, the Superboats run on injected methanol and are guaranteed to provide excitement.
The ‘big block’ are all over 10,000cc, with alloy engines they weigh not much more than the Group B and Group A’s (around 700 kg), but with power to burn, it takes a brave driver to stand on the gas in a Superboat.
The sequence is called a rotation which the drivers and navigators are given prior to race day to learn. The crews must follow the numbers in the correct sequence to achieve a timed run. If they go the wrong way then they have the opportunity to return to where they went wrong and finish the run correctly. If this is not done and the rotation has not been completed correctly then they receive a DNF (Did Not Finish) and no time is given for the run due to a navigational error. If they do not record a time in the quaifying rounds they do not get to continue through to the eliminations. Each boat has a transponder mounted on their roll cage to record their times, if they have forgotten to put their transponder on then it is an automatic DNF and they have no time recorded for that run. The rotation for the day will generally consist of around 25-30 numbers taking around 60 seconds to complete but by the end of the day it will have been reduced to approximately 45 seconds by the superboats.
Jetsprinting uses the elimination format where the racers have 4-5 high speed runs at the course to qualify. Once qualifying is completed their best time is selected from all of the qualifying rounds to find the top 9 who will continue racing that day. From here they are eliminated and previous times are no longer relevant. The top 9 will cut to a top 6, and finally to the top 3 where the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place getters are found, it is only these three who receive trophies. Points are allocated to each competitor according to their placing in the round, these points are added after the completion of the series to find the overall winner, the series consists of 6 rounds creating The PSP New Zealand Jetsprint Championship.