By ROBYN BRISTOW
A boyhood dream has come true for Ohoka’s Si Gibbon.
Gibbon is the 2020-2021 New Zealand International Group A Jetsprinting Champion.
It was the reward for his consistent performance in the series, having been runner-up over the previous three consecutive seasons in the tightly contested Group A class.
The last time a Jetsprinting Group A title was won by a South Islander was Gary Tomes, of Rangiora, in 2001.
Gibbon and navigator Donna Candish managed to accumulate 147 points to knock the four-time New Zealand and current World Group A champions, Ollie Silverton and Jess Sit, from Hamilton, into second place.
He gained three second placings and two first podium placings in all of the 2020-2021 jetsprint events.
Gibbon has owned and built pleasure jet boats for himself since he was 12. He puts in long hours and his perseverance and dedication paid off with his championship win.
Jetsprinting is more than a hobby for the owner and driver, who does most of the repairs, maintenance and development on the boat himself, while juggling family life with a national sales manager role for Pro Clima NZ Ltd.
Candish, from Whanganui, owns her own jetsprint boat, which she drove and competed in before stepping into the navigation seat for the Novus Glass jetsprinting team.
Donna and her husband, Nick, are instrumental in supporting the boat and team to perform on race day.
Novus Glass is the main sponsor of the jetsprint boat, supporting Gibbon from the time he entered the sport seven years ago. This year, Novus Glass was the naming rights sponsor of the Wanaka Jetsprint track, which is the only track in the South Island.
The event was held over Easter weekend, drawing nearly 8000 spectators.
jetsprinting events in the South Island, where the sport originated, and to have more South Island racers,” Gibbon says.
He plans to work on his 2021-2022 Group A jetsprint campaign over the winter. He realises that, to keep ahead, he needs to keep refining and developing his jetsprint boat hull, jet unit and engine in the ever-elusive pursuit of more speed.