Tapanui pair topping jetsprint series

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A husband and wife team from Tapanui are taking the Altherm New Zealand Jetsprint series by storm.

Clayton and Mandy Tisdall sit first equal going into this weekend.

“Our goal for this season was to complete the whole series, so it has been a bonus to be sitting first equal, but I believe this has been due to excellent engine builder, fantastic boat builder Jet Speed, a real collaborative approach,” Mrs Tisdall said.

Mr Tisdall is a contractor in Tapanui and Mrs Tisdall is a teacher in Gore.

She said their jetsprinting career had been a story of persistence.

They began in 2013 and were managing to complete all rounds until the final in Wanaka.

“Our engine blew on our first run, we were then kindly offered by our opposition to double drive their boat, and we crashed it,” she said.

The Tisdalls rebuilt their engine for the 2014 season but had trouble with engine builders, and getting their headers properly made on time for race day.

Despite their struggles they did manage to race at the end of the season in Featherston and Wanaka. Then in the 2015-16 season they got a new Jet Speed hull and raced in Meremere and Wanganui.

“Sadly in the qualifying rounds our engine blew up and that was the end of our season,” she said.

“This was devastating and we decided that enough is enough and put our boat up for sale – until someone called and wanted to buy it, and we both decided no-one else was going to drive our boat, and we thought we’d give it one more shot at finishing a season.”

With the final of the New Zealand series in Wanaka on Easter Saturday, the duo were hoping all would run smoothly.

“This round under lights [in Wanganui] is going to be a real challenge for us as we have only raced under lights once and we crashed.

“Our plan is to go out and take it easy and see how it goes as we don’t want to bin it before the Wanaka round on Easter Saturday.”

Along with their experience in the series, Mrs Tisdall had travelled overseas to compete in the sport.

In 2014 she competed in the United States navigating in the world championship series which she won.

“For myself I like the challenge of the rotation and getting it right, plus of course the adrenaline.

“These boats can accelerate from standing start to over 120kmh in two seconds and pull around six Gs. That is more G-force than a Formula 1 racing car.”

Jetsprinting is a sport involving jetboats navigating a purpose-built track with a lot of corners.

Before each race the navigator and driver are given a list of about 30 numbers called the rotation. They are required to remember these as this is the direction they must go around the track. If they get it wrong they do not post a time.