Knight can pick battlefield

23:49, Feb 10 2013

Serious hydroplane racing is set to make a return to Lake Ruataniwha next year after Raymond Hart won the Masport Cup.

The former St Andrews farmer piloted "The Boss" to victory in a hard fought battle with Ken Lupton's "Cheetah", on Lake Karapiro. at the Water Festival of Speed Tour. The win means boat owner Peter Knight gets to pick where to defend the 88-year-old trophy and Lake Ruataniwha looks set to get the nod with Hart describing it as the "perfect place" to race.

Hart and Lupton ended up winning a heat each but Hart lifted the trophy on a countback of race times.

He got into the sport through his father-in-law, who built engines for Knight. "I first crewed for American J Michael Kelly and then got a drive two years ago in Cromwell after sitting my licence with the New Brighton Powerboat Club."

Kelly raced "The Boss" last year but struck engine problems so Hart said they brought it back and gave it a total rebuild.

"That's how I got my chance and it went perfectly.We had Timaru's Steve Malone as our main mechanic.The engine, which produces around 1900 horse power, gets a top speed of 165mph (265kph) on water," Hart said.

"That is burning a litre of methanol every 2 seconds."

The win was Knight's 14 victory in the Masport Cup, having taken his first victory in 1973 with "Road Runner".

"The Boss" first won the race 11 years ago and has proved it still has plenty of class a decade later.


The Timaru Herald