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World First Jetsprinting Triple Crown

Hamilton-based jetsprinter Ollie Silverton has created history by becoming the first driver to hold New Zealand, Australian and World titles at the same time. (Photo credit: Pure Art Creative Images)

Hamilton-based jetsprinter Ollie Silverton has created history by becoming the first driver to hold New Zealand, Australian and world titles at the same time.

Earlier this month, the 41-year-old added the Group A championship in the 2023/24 Penrite Australian V8 Superboats to his NZ Jetsprint Group A and UIM Jetsprint titles.

With the 2023/24 Australian and NZ Jetsprint seasons competing at the same time, having a different boat in each country presented many challenges. “We couldn’t do any engine work or testing between rounds which made it hard to get the most of the new boat we took over the Tasman. We ran short of time in preseason to do the research and development that we wanted to. The engine came off the dyno on a Saturday, we tested at Meremere on the Sunday and the boat went into the shipping container on the Wednesday. We often referred to the Aussie campaign as suitcase racing as there were multiple suitcases of race gear and spares that were transported across the ditch and back each round.”

Ollie with Aus Trophy (Photo Credit:Pure Art Creative Images)
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Having held the world title since 2018, the prospect of the first-ever triple crown looked promising from the opening round in Temora, New South Wales. Racing there for the first time, with the final taking place under lights, Silverton was runner-up by .01s.

“Racing under lights is not something we have done in New Zealand for a long time so to get that result on an unfamiliar track showed the Aussies we were there to give it a good nudge.”

Round two of the Australian series was held at Keith in South Australia, where Silverton had earned his world title years prior. After topping the leaderboard right through qualifying, the Australians came back in the elimination rounds which saw Silverton head home with another second place.

“Getting well beaten in the final at Keith was a real jaw dropper after leading most of the day.”

With the Australian series taking a break over summer, Silverton opened the New Zealand championship with three straight wins at Featherston, Whanganui and Wanaka.

The next round in Australia was a return to Temora for a third consecutive second placing, again under lights. A week later, Silverton won the last-ever round at his Meremere home track, a poignant moment in what was to become an unforgettable season.

Next up in the Australian series was in Griffith, New South Wales, where Silverton finally took the top prize. “Griffith is a track notoriously known as a boat wrecker. There’d been a lot of head scratching to find out what we needed to do to crack the top step. We took a punt on some development work the day before this round and it paid off. It was a real turning point in the season for us and ultimately set us up for the championship.”

The final round of the NZ series in Whanganui saw an uncharacteristic rotational error relegating Silverton and long-time navigator Jess Sit to fifth place. Despite ruining an unbeaten NZ season, Silverton and Sit still walked away with the NZ1 honours and their sights firmly on the two remaining Australian rounds.

The penultimate round was back in Keith where Silverton piled on the pressure with a back-to-back victory, setting up a must-win situation in the final race at Cabarita on the Gold Coast.

Held over two days, Silverton was the only driver to post a sub-40s lap on day one and went on to earn his second championship of the season and the historic triple honours.

Silverton’s PSP team was also awarded the Race Director Trophy for the Australian season, given to the crew that showed the best professionalism and sportsmanship across all of the rounds.

“That was a special award because we can’t get the boat in the water let alone win without a huge group of amazing people behind us. We had some fierce competition but also great support from the Australian teams, especially fellow driver Justin Roylance and his family who not only drove tens of thousands of kilometres towing our boat between each event but also organised fuel, oil and spare parts for us.”

Now Silverton is looking forward to the 2025 World UIM Jetsprint Championship which is being held in New Zealand. Round one is being held in Wanaka 25th/26th January 2025 – Round two in Wanganui 1st/2nd February 2025.

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