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Caughey extends SuperBoat Lead Despite ENZED team dramas

Caughey extends SuperBoat Lead
Despite ENZED team dramas

A series of mishaps almost unseated defending champion Peter Caughey’s title defence at Meremere, near Auckland, on Saturday 24.

But when it came to the crunch, the professionalism of the Canterbury racer, his young navigator – Shama Puturanui – and his crew got him out on the water when it counted, and he finally took the chequered flag with the fastest time of the day.

But it so nearly didn’t happen.

“Flat trailer tyres, ring gears, push rods, grille bars, spark boxes, stuffed valve springs, sounds like a plot for a bad road movie and it sort of was, and we were in it.”

“But perseverance, grit, determination and a very good crew won the day for us. It could easily have gone the other way, it was a huge team effort to get the ENZED boat out there and racing, let alone keep it in contention.”

The crew made the strategic decision to miss qualifiers two and four to get the work done, and spent most of the lunch break making changes, and testing.

“The spares an inventory we’ve built up over the years we carry from one end of the world to the other,” Caughey says, “but today it paid off in spades, and we were very pleased to have quick access to it, without having to borrow anything.”

He was also rapt to have Phil and Michael from Tracksport along to help, “As soon as they got the call early this morning they were at the track within half an hour or so, and they stayed, and got it all sorted.”

“For a while there it felt like a never-ending battle, but thankfully the lap times were encouraging, and even in our second run of the day, in qualifier three, when the motor was only pulling 5000rpm we knocked out a 45.77-second run, which at that point was the fastest of the day, which was a real surprise, but it was encouraging.”

And when the ENZED team finally got the boat singing, it really belted it out, “Our Sprintec boat just got better and better and we got the win, and with the fastest time of the day.”

It helped that the weather was better than predicted – the few showers didn’t interrupt the event, and spectators who ignored the forecast saw some fantastic racing.

Meremere is one of the longest, fastest tracks of the season, with the insanely powerful, lightweight craft blitzing around 30 corners in under 45 seconds, and entering the speed bowl at 140kph – without brakes to stop them if it all turns pear-shaped.

“Three or four critical wakes influence the racing line, Caughey says, “ So the track became more technical than we’d initially envisaged, which tends to play to our boat strengths.

“Auckland can produce spectacular crashes but today – apart from Baden Gray popping his boat up on an island after his jet unit swallowed metres of track liner, there was no serious grief.”

“Blake Briant put in a good drive, he’s missed a couple of rounds of the champs and will be well pleased to have taken second place on the winner’s rostrum, and Richard Murray logged one of his best results since his recent move up to SuperBoats in the ex Hulk boat. He’ll be one happy farmer!”

But Rob Coley was unfortunate, given he came into the round second in the overall championship, as his new Nissan twin turbo blew a head gasket when they were warming it up before they hit the water. “The new rules prevent a boat swap during the day, but the event hadn’t started so he jumped into Kevin Roberts boat, which has similar power, and drove the strakes off it to keep his championship hopes alive — that was an astounding effort.”

But in the end it was the ENZED boat that had the goods. “By the end the ENZED boat was feeling pretty angry, it’s always a good sign when it’s feeling stroppy.”

“AND Shama did a good job navigating, it’s never easy when last-minute changes are being made around you, and you’ve had fewer runs to learn the track and its idiosyncrasies, but she kept her head and did an outstanding job of navigating today.”

It’s now just three weeks to the final of the Altherm Window Systems NZ Championship and the MouthFresh SuperBoat class, but first, Caughey says, “Everyone on our team will sleep well tonight!”

“We had a great result in the end but everyone worked blooming hard for it. Racing SuperBoats is hard work on a good day, on a bad day it’s something else. Huge ups to everyone in the ENZED team for digging it in, not giving in, keeping calm, getting on and doing what they could.”

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