Lake Karapiro was roaring with excitement over last weekend as 1800 horsepower Grand Prix hydroplanes competed against each other for the Masport Cup and AE Baker Cup, as part of the Hydro Thunder Grand Prix Series.
Eight V8 Supercharged Grand Prix (GP) hydroplanes competed across the two main championships, reaching speeds of up to 300kmph with their ‘rooster tails’ throwing water 300m into the air.
2016 winner of the Masport Cup, Jack Lupton of Waverly, piloting the Penrite-Repco GP57, missed out on winning the 93rd Masport Cup after his cousin David Alexander took the win in the Steeler 777. He instead took second place, ahead of his third-placed brother Ken Lupton in Lucas Oils.
Son of world champion Warwick Lupton, Jack went on to win the 2018 AE Baker Australisian Hydroplane Championship, ahead of Alexander in second and Lupton’s good mate Chris Picard in third, piloting the Tiger.
The event also marked round two of the Hydro Thunder Grand Prix Series, with the final round set to take place over the first weekend of March at Blue Lakes, Rotorua. David Alexander currently sits at the top of the series points table with 2675 points, ahead of Jack and Ken Lupton tied with 2300 points. Otorohanga racer Scott Coker sits in third at 1488 points, followed by Cambridge’s Kevin Ireland with 1264.
A hydroplane racing veteran of 25 years, Ireland was racing in a new vessel this year, The Gambler GP21. He finished up fourth in the Masport Cup, missing out on second place due to a minor engine issue. “It was good racing this year, probably the biggest crowd we’ve had here in a few years,” he said.
“Overall it was the best weekend,” said Denise Preece, the main event organiser. “An excellent venue with great local support.”
The Cambridge BMX Club manned the gates during the event whilst the Cambridge Lions kept the crowds fed from their food truck. Old-school tractors also helped load the boats in and out of the water thanks to the Waikato Vintage Tractor and Machinery Club. Preece estimated the event attracted around 3000 spectators over the two days.