Third generation Nelson Powerboat racer Julian Stillwell took out top prize at the Lake Rotoiti Powerboat championship on the weekend putting him in second place for the New Zealand champs.
Julian’s boat is a USA built formula one powered by a 320 horsepower mercury V6
He says a lot of the boaties invest a lot of money in the sport but the races are designed to be a fair judgement on skill.
“There would be eight guys at least that have good gear to run a race but it’s not crucial. We have a rev limit and a weight limit and a couple of other engine restrictions to keep it not so much about money.”
One of the difficulties of Lake Rotoiti is the altitude. Julian says this means he has to do a lot of fine tuning on the engine.
“You can never make as much horsepower at altitude as you can at sea level. it’s quite difficult to get maximum power out of the engine.”
He says the water at Rotoiti is less buoyant than the other lakes he has competed at.
“You get thrown around a lot more. It seems really hard.”
Julian is part of the Rotoiti powerboat club which currently has around 30 smaller clubman boats. He says they are a good way to get into the sport as they are easy to learn and cheap to run.
“It gives kids an opportunity to get into the sport and it’s a class we really want to foster.”
Julian faces two more competitions before a New Zealand champion is claimed. Currently he sits only two points behind the first place leader. He will be competing at Lake Kaniere in Hokitika at Easter and Cromwell on ANZAC weekend.