News - 2014 Prizegiving

Written by Neil Jones on .

NZJSA Prizegiving 2014 

The ASB BayPark Stadium was the setting for this season’s Prizegiving, on Saturday July 26th, and a great time was had by all.  Jason Granville and Cavie both scrubbed up pretty well for the occasion and took control of the microphone, assisted by Kathy Muir who completed her final season as JSA Secretary by making sure that everyone got the right trophy.

In fact, Kathy kicked off the proceedings with the Secretary’s trophies. These are awarded to the teams that make the Secretary’s job a little easier by getting their paperwork in on time.  This year Tim and Debbie Edhouse took the 400s trophy, while Blair Gibbard was the cream of the Group A crop.  Finding a winner from the Suzuki Superboats was a bit more difficult – obviously the drivers put all their efforts into being quick on the water rather than with their registrations.  “It’s not much of a challenge to top this list,” Kathy said, but Mark Newdick still looked pretty pleased that he took the top spot.

Paul Gaston took to the stage next, to present the trophies to the top 3 drivers and navigators in the 400s class.  Ollie Silverton and Geoff Sisterton (PSP racing) took third place, a huge achievement for a rookie team, while Warren Farr and Ben Thomas swapped their 3NZ for  2nd place this season.  The 2014 champion pairing in this class was Hayden Wilson and Chris Hausmann, which must have made Gerry Linklater proud as they were driving his 2013 championship-winning boat this season.
When it came to the PSP Group A awards, Kathy Muir made no attempt to hide her delight with the 3NZ trophy.  “It’s nice to be back on the podium again,” she commented as husband Bevin (Teng Tools) accepted the 3rd place driver’s award, “he’s been a bit slack recently!”  
In fact both the award-winning ladies in Group A seemed to give their drivers a bit of a hard time, with Louise Blythe pointing out to driver Paul Gaston that at least next season they could both have 2NZ on their side of the boat!  

Sam Newdick, a self-confessed recovered choke-aholic, was delighted to take the Number 1 spot in the PSP Group A championship, along with navigator Glenn Mason.  “This time last year I promised my sponsors (PSP) a championship,” he said, “and I’ve done it for them.”  He reflected on just how close the battle for first and second place had been, with some rounds seeing them ahead of Gaston by just 0.08 seconds.  “Last year, Paul, we said we’d move up a place,” he reminded Gaston. “Well we have, but let’s hold these places for a while.”

It seemed fitting that a PSP boat took the title in the PSP Group A Championship this season, as PSP representative Jess Sit pointed out when she was presented with a photographic canvas featuring their award-winning boat, in acknowledgement of their continued sponsorship of this class. “We’re looking forward to next season. We’ve had a lot of good exposure both on the track and on the backs of our team!”

Bevin Muir took to the stage once again to present the trophies for the Suzuki Superboat championship, saying “This is as close as I’m going to get to them, apparently.”
Leighton Minnell (Taranaki Hardcore) took third place in the drivers’ championship, but wife Kellie missed out after she surrendered her seat to Matt Minnell at Hastings.  That left a spot open for Kelsie Gill to take third place in the navigator’s championship.  Graeme Hill and Tracey Webster were awarded the 2nd place trophies which were collected on their behalf by Richard Burt bearing an uncanny resemblance to Hill thanks to a well-placed wig!  

The top spots in the Suzuki Superboat championships were once again filled by Peter Caughey and Karen Marshall.  Caughey commented “Winning the championship this year has given us lots of encouragement to push on to the World Champs (taking place in the USA next month).”  He also acknowledged the tremendous work done by the safety crew, with special thanks “because we needed you this season!”
Trophies were awarded from Round 2, held at the ASB BayPark Stadium in January, with the Two-A-Breast ladies, Donna Thomson and Monica Couper, being awarded the 4th place trophy in the 400s. Neil Marshall and Michelle Reid gained 3rd place, with Paul Tulloch and Paul Bass standing one spot above them on the podium. Hayden Wilson and Chris Hausmann took 1st place in this group and let everyone know that they were keen to come back to BayPark next year.

Russell Dodds  and Marty Stock shared an equal 4th place in Group A with Si Gibbon and Paul Thompson.  Paul Gaston had the audience in stitches as he described how his navigator, Louise Blythe, couldn’t utter a word during one run because she’d inhaled her balaclava. “I didn’t know she was choking,” he said, “but it was our first correct run of the day – and she never said a word!”  It clearly didn’t happen on the successive runs as they were awarded the 3rd place trophy.
Richard Murray and Kesty Manning took out 2nd place, while Sam Newdick and Glenn Mason received the 1st place trophies for that round.

The top Suzuki Superboat in Round 2 was Liquid Gold, driven by Graeme Hill with Tracey Webster in the silly seat.  They were followed by Dave Hopkins and David McDiarmid in 2nd place, with Australian husband-and-wife team Greg and Dorinda Mercier filling the 3rd place on the podium.
The trophy for the best Group A team went, once again, to Bevin Muir and Baden Gray (Teng Tools). 
Tristan Hynds was “stoked” to be named as the Rookie of the Year, saying “It’s a bit of an honour, really.”

The award for Engineering Excellence was accepted by Richard Burt on behalf of Graeme Hill, while the Best Presented Team award went to PSP racing.  Paul Gaston announced this award saying “Each time we go out we look more professional, but this team took it to a new level.”  It appears that they took the same pride in their appearance at Prizegiving, by sporting a team haircut as well! Ollie Silverton and Sam Newdick were generous in their victory, and it was decided that Mark Newdick could keep this trophy as the other two already had trophies of their own!

The final two awards of the evening were both to acknowledge people who go the extra mile for the sport.

The Don McCleod trophy is presented to someone who has given above and beyond the call of duty during the season.  As she presented it, Kathy Muir described the winner as somebody who “has done heaps for the sport and is passionate about the sport. He maybe a Kwaussie (an Aussie who wants to be a Kiwi) but he’s our Kwaussie and we love him!”  Paul Gaston was actually speechless for once as he came forward to accept the award.

“It’s not such an effort for me because I’ve got an awesome group of people behind me,” he said.  “I love the sport.  New Zealand is the world leader of jetsprinting and we’ll prove it again this year at the World Series.”

The recipient of the Dave White trophy was an easy choice.  One name came up again and again in the discussions, that of a person who is a volunteer, is loved by everyone and who makes a racer’s life so easy.  Robbie McNabb got “one heck of a surprise” when his name was called out and said he was “truly blown away” especially by the standing ovation he received on his way to the stage.  “The first thing I thought of was one of Cavie’s words,” Robbie said, “but I’m not going to use words like that!”

At the end of the Prizegiving, once all the trophies had been given out, Kathy Muir handed over the Secretary’s position to Pip Thompson who warned the drivers “I might be a bit more bossy about the timing of the Secretariat than Kathy, because I drive in the 400s and we’re on the ramp first at every meeting!”

The overwhelming feeling throughout the evening was one of optimism for the upcoming World Championships in America, where New Zealand will be represented by around 10 different boats (and by Robbie McNabb, enjoying his first trip to the States) and for the 2015 season.  “It’s been great this year,” Cavie finished, “and I know it’s going to get better and better.”

I can’t wait to find out!