Tension, drama on finals day

Rob and Ange Coley overcame an onboard fire earlier in the event but were grounded after hitting...
Rob and Ange Coley overcame an onboard fire earlier in the event but were grounded after hitting the bank in their superboat at the New Zealand jetsprint championship final in Wanaka on Saturday. Photos: Stephen Jaquiery
Often in sport the difference between the sweet taste of victory and the bitter taste of defeat is nothing more than a cat's whisker.

And so it was at the New Zealand jetsprint championship final in Wanaka on Saturday.

Going into the day's racing, Taumaranui's's Tim Edhouse was tied at the top of the group B championship standings with Wanganui's Hayden Wilson.

As the day progressed, both men were neck and neck through the elimination rounds until the final race to decide not just the winners of the Wanaka event, but the championship overall.

Driving last, Edhouse watched Wilson set a quick time of 55.87sec, then whizzed across the finish line 0.3sec faster than his rival.

It was a significant moment for Edhouse.

The Coleys wave after walking away from the crash.
The Coleys wave after walking away from the crash.
"It's been a long time coming. We've been at it for eight years, so we're pretty happy.

"I haven't had a beer since the last round. I've been on a diet - trying really hard to get things right. None of it's been easy."

He described the pressure as "huge", especially once the elimination rounds started.

"It's a great track but it's not easy. You've got to be on top of your game to do well."

Long-time jetsprint commentator Tim Barrot was among the first to congratulate Edhouse after the race.

But the day was not so great for everyone.

In a similar situation to Edhouse going into the superboat final was Whanganui driver Robert Coley.

Having never won a championship title, all he had to do was beat championship leader Glen Head and it was his.

However, as he said afterwards, it just was not his day.

In qualifying a blown filter seal mid-race, caused the boat to catch alight and singe his jumpsuit and gloves before being put out.

Then things ended abruptly in the elimination rounds, when he took a corner too early and somersaulted out of the water and on to a bank.

He escaped without injury, and despite the result, was all smiles afterwards.

"Unfortunately, today was just one of those days, and to finish it off, it looks like the boat's in a bit of a mess."

However, the result "totally" motivated him to come back stronger next year.

Overall championship winners: Glen Head (superboats), Ollie Silverton (group A) and Tim Edhouse (group B).

 

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