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Warlord holds off Aussie Charge to take 11th NZ Bridge to Bridge Crown

Brad Dutton reports on the 2010 installment of the Rollo’s Marine Yamaha Bridge to Bridge Water Ski Classic. He said, “it was an eventful and exciting weekend for all involved”.

The weather played its part and there was some very competitive and tight racing throughout the weekend. The major interest was on 3 boats especially imported for the race. The teams of Filthy and Gotta Go from Australia and the Mother Jet turbine boat of John Derry’s who come up from Blenheim, South Island to have a crack at the powerboat sprints record.

Bad luck for the Australian teams started early when in practice on Thursday afternoon. Filthy absolutely blew there motor to bits, and without enough spares to repair it, they were out of the race. On Friday afternoon, Gotta Go also came to grief hitting the some old concrete bridge pylons in the river and swiped the bottom of the gearcase off their sterndrive leg. They worked until midnight and borrowed a new gearbox and were ready for the morning’s first race. In this Race they towed Rick Love out of Australia in the Masters category. Things were going fine but on the return leg Rick hit a log in the river and fell breaking his collarbone, a rid and had some internal bleeding. This put him out of the event (and in hospital) and he was replaced with one of Filthy’s skiers Bevan Turksma.

Masters was won by Kevin Vahtrik behind Warlord, Men’s Novice was taken out by Daniel Stoner behind Anti Cyclone, and Ladies Novice was Tania Beetson behind Screwed and Sub Juniors (Under 13) by Connor Strong behind his Dad’s Boat Just 4 SHO. Family and Social classes took place next with the largest field ever seen in the wakeboard class. Social was taken out by Bevan Turksma in a new record time. Family class was won by the Pickerill family.

In the afternoon the time trials for the race on Sunday took place. Lots of carnage took place with boats and skiers hitting logs but when it was all said and done B Jammin set the quickest time with Hoof it 2nd and Sleaze in 3rd.

Sunday Morning come around and all eyes were on the Mother turbine Jet Boat and whether it could break the record held by Mark Cromie and win the $6000 cash that Mark had put up as incentive. The time to beat was 13:44 and John Derry and his team gave it a good nudge but just fell short, recording a time of 14:10 for the 40km Sprint.

It was then time for the main event. Danny Cropper (one of Australia’s best ever river skiers) was flown out to ski behind Gotta Go as they lost their other ski Vaughan Hyde to a similar incident when he hit a log in the time trial. The majority of boats got away from Cambridge without any issues, all except last years winners – Force Fed, they had all kinds of issues when they burnt a rope on a hot exhaust and also had engine problems. When the boats got to the turn around point in Taupiri it was Warlord with a 47 second lead over Gotta Go. Both boats came home strong with Gotta Go winning the 2nd leg by 4 seconds, but it wasn’t enough to stop Warlord winning its 11th Bridge to Bridge title but the first for the new owner Simon Morrison and his team of Grant Plummer, Neil Rix and Kevin Vahtrik. 2nd was Gotta Go with Adrian Heffernan, Phil Mulcahy, Bevan Turksma and Danny Cropper. And 3rd was B Jammin – Stacey Mellow, Phil Eden, Rick Powell & Mark Priestly, who also won the MOC class.

Racing was very tight and no class more so than F2. There was a mere 14 seconds from 1st to 6th place and 2.1 seconds between the top 3 and half a second between 1st & 2nd. The Illusion team driven by organising committee chairperson Brendan Macpherson to F2 as well as SMOC out with Adelaide Cox & Jordan Bradley in 2nd in F2 also taking out the Ladies division in a new record. Another new record was set in the Under 19’s class where Matt Strong and Daniel Tuffin cleaned up behind Muscle Milk.

Overall it was a great event once again, with some of the biggest crowds we have seen on the banks of the mighty Waikato River.It would not be possible with the help of all the sponsors, organisers, volunteers and helpers. A special thanks to Rollo’s Marine & Yamaha for being the naming rights sponsors in 2010 for the 27th running of this prestigious event.

Planning for next years event is already underway and the organising committee are hoping to see more international teams come to our shores as the event follows the World Championships that are to be held in Queensland, Australia in September.

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