Enzed Sponsored SuperBoat ace Peter Caughey hopes to take his 10th NZ SuperBoat title this season, and will open the first round of the Altherm Jetsprint Championship this weekend with a new boat, a new engine, and the sharp focus that has made him a jetsprint legend.
He’s taken 11 NZ titles in two classes so far, and has seven world championships under his belt – five of them in the blue-ribbon jetsprint class, piloting a 500kg, 1100hp methanol-guzzling thoroughbred.
“The great news this season is ENZED has signed on again as the team’s flagship sponsor for the MouthFresh SuperBoat class. Having a sponsor that gets so involved with the sport and with our team makes this doubly special,” Caughey says.
But with most rounds in the north island, the Canterbury racer is happy that today he just drives five hours to reach Wanaka, and the Oxbow Aquatrack, ready to put his new boat to the test in its first race.
Caughey runs Sprintec, a company which designs and crafts complete boats for other racers, and says it’s been five years since he built himself a new hull.
“We don’t want to use clients as guinea pigs, we test out new designs and performance packages on our own team, and Jeremy Madeley and Glen Walters have done an exceptional job of engineering and refining the new design concepts,” he says.
“We introduced our new 600 motor at the end of last season – a risk as we were racing for a tightly contested championship – but we’re in a better place now, and leading into the world championship, because we did.”
“The next stage was the long drawn out and detailed build of the new boat. We’re confident in the new boat and jet package, and we’re learning all the time what we need to do to get the best out of the new motor.”
“It’s fair to say it was a very angry machine to test on the pond yesterday, but what really matters is how it goes on the track. But I can tell you, it’s the fastest sprint boat I’ve ever driven!”
Caughey reckons his new package takes just 1.7 seconds to hit 120kph from rest, and he’ll need all that performance.
For among the 15 SuperBoats turning up to Wanaka, around half use turbo- or supercharging, and all will run on methanol fuel.
Glen Head, current world champion, is a surprising omission rumoured to be skipping the first half of the championship due to a recent operation, but Caughey will have an eye on the entire SuperBoat field given the upgrades and changes made by opposition teams during the off season.”
But especially Sam Newdick. “Last year was his first season in SuperBoats after winning multiple titles in Group A, and he finished second, racing one of our boats.”
“And he’ll be quicker this year – we lent him our boat for the Taranaki round, and he liked the extra power of our 575 motor so he bought it, and we spent the winter grafting it into his Sprintec hull and testing it. It’s a mighty fast boat, and he has plenty of talent and motivation – we expect to see him in most of the finals this season.
Even better, there’s a new format this season with an extra qualifying round taking the total to five, but eliminations starting with the fastest nine, not 16 as before.
“With quicker turnarounds, fewer gaps in racing, and a top nine, six and three elimination rounds, the last three hours of racing will be fast and furious and the guys who usually sit eighth or ninth will have to lay it on the line from the get-go. It’s going to be really intense, and even better for spectators!”
Caughey’s starting the season with a buzz, after spending the downtime prepping boats for clients.
Shama Puturanui is back in the navigator seat, and Jono Print has joined the mechanical side of the crew, alongside Ross Baynes and Jeremy Madely.