Whanganui's Shelter View track will host round one of the 2013 New Zealand jetsprint championship next Thursday.
Current national and world Suzuki Superboat champions Leighton and Kellie Minnell of Whanganui are aiming for their third consecutive New Zealand title.
While the 540-cubic-inch smallblock in their boat has been freshened up, the level of competition in the class will make repeating last season's clean sweep of all six rounds a very hard task.
Other local competitors include Steve Bron, who finished runner-up in 2012 in his rookie season, Rob Coley, Pat Dillon in his supercharged Ford, and Peter Huijs, who will again be running his turbocharged quad-rotor rotary.
Former multiple New Zealand and world superboat champion Peter Caughey hasn't raced the full national championship since 2007, when he won his fourth title. He is back in a brand new 570-cubic-inch smallblock-powered machine.
Graeme Hill has given his twin turbocharged quad-cam Nissan V8 engine a radical shake-up.
In the hotly contested PSP Group A class, Shelter View track owner Richard Murray, who drives the only Ford-powered boat in the class, finished third in 2012 and is determined to go higher this season. Title favourite will be last season's runner-up Sam Newdick, from Hamilton, who only missed out on the 2012 championship in a countback.
Other top contenders will be Baden Gray and Bevin Muir, sharing their familiar Teng Tools boat, Aussie Paul Gaston, who has moved up from the 400 class, and Waitotara's Duncan Wilson.
Whanganui's Gerry Linklater is determined to change the 3NZ on his boat to 1NZ in the entry-level JetPro 400 class (formerly known as Lites).
Top contenders are Brett and Ray Thompson (sharing their familiar TNT boat), and Tim Edhouse. The all-girl "Two-A-Breast" crew of sisters Donna and Tracy Thomson will be out to keep the boys honest.
The Shelter View track is in Upokongaro, 12km north of Whanganui, on SH4. Gates open at 11am.
- The Manawatu Standard
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