2011 NZ Nationals
Following the Christchurch earthquakes, there was a rushed change of venue for this years Nationals and the AJSA volunteered to run the 2 day event from Rotorua.
The two day event at the Blue Lakes in Rotorua recently was a successful achievement of organisers and riders coming together to create the annual jet ski racing finale that was to be cancelled only a matter of weeks ago when the earthquake struck Christchurch - this years original planned Nationals hosting city.
After the initial shock that rippled throughout the country, the Auckland Jet Sport Association picked up the pieces, booked the Blue Lakes venue and begun the massive task of 'moving' the event to the North Island - without some of the normal 'trimmings'. The result seemed almost better than normal and numbers of riders (including some of the South Islanders) were very healthy - even resulting in a woman's pole ski class, not seen in many years.
Both days gave spectators and team crew fantastic racing, and the double split course design was outstanding, giving riders more tactical options for flat water opportunities. The mechanical gods were smiling on this event and the close racing allowed for many exciting moments. We were privileged to have Dawn Dawson from the USA running the commentary, and her faultless skills also helped keep the day running smoothly. Dawn commentates for the World Finals at Lake Havasu and her voice is very familiar from the multitude of video footage from some of the best racing in the world.
The range of models and craft were widespread - unlike the Australian Champs recently - we saw an even blend of Kawasaki, Seadoo, Yamaha and HSR. The latest Kawasaki 300X had barely touched down in NZ before they were pushed into the lake over the weekend to run in the Stock classes - showing they will be a dominant contender for first placings with the 300HP configuration. Yamaha NZ was littering the shore in numbers with their FZR and SuperJet taking multiple podium titles. And the 'icing on the cake' was the performances of Sam Harvey and Brad Clarke showing how its done on their specially modified Seadoo craft - some of the best racing in any motor sport.
Our special mention goes to Paula Power who put her hand up to ride our SXR800 we offered out for the Nationals. After just 1 day to practice on the SXR (she rides a SJ normally) we plonked her in the water and told her to 'do her best'. We weren't expecting that numbers would be so high in pole ski's that there was a woman's class as well - making a total of ten races for this novice - and up against Dawn Dawson (World Class rider) in the women's race. Paula rocked the race course and came 3rd in Novice Stock and 2nd in Women's!!! Well done Paula, you are an inspiration to us all to 'have a go'.
Huge thanks to all the crew in the AJSA, NZJSBA and the Harvey's for a weekend that probably wouldn't have happened without them. And although the South Islanders will be driving home with horrendous hangovers after prize giving celebrations (apparently) we are sure everyone had a fantastic time and hopefully we will get back to Christchurch for hosting next year.
A selection of photos are loaded on the Photos page.