Queenstown’s newest world champion says his win in last week’s World Championship Jetboat Marathon was a dream come true.
Mark Agnew’s CX class victory was also bitter-sweet, however, as Glenorchy’s Duayne Insley, himself a former world champion, died on the second day of racing.
Competing in the same class, Insley was navigating when he was struck by a log on Canterbury’s braided Waimakariri River.
His death “was in the back of my mind all the time”, Agnew says, as the marathon wended its way down the South Island, finishing last Saturday on Glenorchy’s Dart River.
The 39-year-old had comp-eted in the past three New Zealand-hosted worlds, finishing second in FX class in the last one, in 2013.
He thought he’d blown his chance last week when he and his navigator, Canterbury jetboat company owner Paul Vernel, had to push their boat after it got stuck on the Waimakariri.
Agnew says the secret to his seven-minute win was keeping his boat on the water. “In the last two days, I never made a mistake.”
He also finished sixth overall and picked up the ‘sportsman of the race’ title for helping another driver who was drifting towards willows, also on the Waimakariri.
“We had to stop for six minutes and help him, but we got a time credit.”
Agnew intends travelling to Monaco next year to pick up his world title.
Meanwhile, Queenstowner Regan Williamson, competing in unlimited class, finished second overall to Blenheim’s John Derry.