Powerboats roar across Rotoiti

GP hydroplane Gulf Oil Gambler turns on the power at Lake Rotoiti. Photo: Supplied.

The shores of Lake Rotoiti were packed with spectators last weekend, enjoying the sight of high-octane powerboats duelling in the national park.

The weather gods smiled on the ENZED Rotoiti Powerboat Club regatta, providing extremely-favourable conditions for the competitors and the thousands of spectators from the Tasman region and beyond who flocked to Rotoiti for what organisers described as “a stunning weekend of racing”.

Club spokesman Joe Blakiston said the nine GP hydroplanes racing in the Hydro Thunder series were the stars of the show, although exciting racing was the order of the day across all classes.

Event organisers had a few surprises for the huge crowd with an aerial display at lunchtimes as well as a potentially record-setting Mexican Wave across the foreshore on Sunday, “surely a world first for a national park”, according to Blakiston.

Ken Lupton in the Lucas Oils 577 hydroplane continued his dominant season, edging brother Jack Lupton out in an exciting Arthur McCaa Memorial Trophy race which saw five GP hydroplanes racing towards the first turn buoy close to shore. Ken Lupton, from Waverly in the North Island, has been unbeaten in his last 10 starts, a remarkable achievement for a high-performance race boat.

Nelson  drivers Lee Merrion in his Formula 3 tunnel boat and Julian Stilwell in the Formula 1 class both took away silverware in the Railway Cup and Pelorus Jack Trophy .

Rotoiti club president Chris Dufeu thanked DOC and all volunteers for their efforts in staging such a well-supported event.

“It’s absolutely massive for Tasman and to see such a huge crowd was very satisfying,” he added.

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