Talk about good advertising.
A Queenstown jetboat firm co-owner and his teenage son finished second in the 2016 New Zealand Jet Boat Marathon.
KJet’s Shaun Kelly and navigator son Joseph, 17, raced their 860-horsepower boat against 23 others in the 16-stage event.
The week-long marathon along Canterbury and Central Otago rivers finished in Queenstown on Saturday – with 200kmh jetboats roaring up and down the Kawarau and Shotover Rivers.
Blenheim’s John Derry, race organiser, took the title with his navigator Brent Hefford.
But the Kellys, racing the unlimited class, finished second overall.
Shaun Kelly says: “Fantastic – we’re over the moon.
“We raced about 1000km. Great way to see the country but hard going.”
Kelly says the marathon was something of a war of attrition.
KJet mechanic Tony Turner and Wanaka’s Greg King nurtured the KJ-liveried 21ft (6.4-metre) Eagle hull and its big block piston engine through to the end.
“There was a lot of attrition. We started off ninth and got through to second.
“Joseph’s only 17 and did a fantastic job.”
Two-time defending champion Queenstowner Regan Williamson, who finished third in this year’s world jetboat marathon in the United States, missed out on a placing in his Eagle hull – powered by a helicopter turbine and good for 240kmh – after coming a cropper on Canterbury’s Waiau River.
Williamson says: “It was just an error – clipped a wee bit of the sand bar and it spun us out.
“We did a bit of damage to the boat. So we had a ‘did not score’ and that took us out of the marathon.
“But we came back for the last three days and won most of those legs. It’s disappointing but that’s motorsport though.”
Both the Kellys and Williamson and his navigator Blair Christmas are eyeing next year’s world jetboat marathon.
This will be held over the same course as the one they’ve just raced for the national title.
They took on eight rivers, starting on the tricky braided Canterbury rivers like the Waimakariri, Waiau and Rakaia, before Wanaka’s Matukituki and Cromwell’s Clutha.
The final stages were from Glenorchy Ramp to Beans Burn on the Dart River, and back again, and then from Queenstown Bay down the Kawarau River and then the Shotover, right up to Edith Cavell Bridge by the Shotover Jet base and back to Frankton Marina.
Shaun Kelly says: “We’re planning towards that now. “It’s the same route. Of course, everyone wants to win, but those turbine boats are fast.
“Endurance can get you there though, it’s about finishing every race.”