Saturday, November 18, 2017
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Thundercats to roar in the Bay

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High-speed inflatable boats will roar across Bay waters this weekend as Thundercats return to the city, offering water-filled action as competitors jockey for position in the sport’s national series.

Tomorrow, the boats will race two laps around Matakana Island from 10.15am in what Thundercats’ vice president Brad Stark says is the series’ first endurance race of the season.

Click the image above to watch the video

More than 10 Thundercats will offer thrills and spills on Bay of Plenty waters this weekend in rounds three and four of the national championships. Video coutesy of The Flying Kiwi.

“Saturday’s King of the Island event is what we call a long-haul race where we race two laps from Sulphur Point to Matakana Island,” says Brad.

“Our starting point is on the sand, then we head out through Tauranga Harbour and turn left and head up the coast towards Bowentown at the northern end of Tauranga Harbour, over the bar there and finish back at Sulphur Point, after completing two laps.

“It’s just over 100km in distance travelled and depending on conditions it takes about 1.5 hours to complete.”

On Sunday the action heats up with beach folk able to watch the Thundercats clash against the waves out from Tay Street at Mount Maunganui.

Competitors complete five heat races, giving the opportunity to collect championship points, then race a final for the day.

“Where you start the final depends on how points you’ve collected,” adds Brad.

“Then total points of the day gives winners for first, second and third; and gives each competitor points towards the championship.”

Sunday’s races start 11am, with Brad saying it’s the best opportunity for onlookers.

“The sprints races are over in six or seven minutes and are very high-energy, high-action,” he says.

“It’s all in the surf-break area, so we’re hoping for easterly winds to make a lot of two-three foot waves come through regularly for us.”

Afterwards Brad says they’ll be offering demonstration rides to the public. “We just ask for a $10 donation for adults and $5 for children,” he says.

With 10 boats committed so far, Brad expects another three or four to join the pack.

But unfortunately no one from Tauranga will compete, including his own co-pilot Aaron Lang, who recently broke his ribs, ruling him out of the action.

“It’s a bit of a shame because this was going to be his home event, but he’ll be there on the day helping out,” says Brad, who is based in South Auckland and races for Franklin Long Roofing team.

“Most of us will be travelling from the upper North Island or Wellington for the event.”

With rounds three and four of the seven-round championship on Saturday and Sunday, Brad says upsets could happen.

“This weekend should help someone snatch the lead away or tighten up the field more,” he says.

“It’s going to be interesting to see how people go.”

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