J Michael Kelly in New Zealand [2012]

J Michael Kelly goes for UIM World GP Championship and EC Griffith Cup in New Zealand

Some of the best GP Hydroplane drivers in the World lined up for the 2012 UIM World GP Hydroplane Championship and the 100th running of the EC Griffith Cup. The races were held on Lake Karapiro in New Zealand, Feb. 2-3 and March 3-4. Marty Wolfe’s Renegade came over from the USA and GP1 with Grant Harrison came from Australia. Also, one of New Zealand’s most successful raceboats, The Boss originally raced to victory by Peter Knight made an appearance, this year driven by American J. Michael Kelly who flew in for the event.

As the finals for the World Cup got underway, it was the Australian boat GP1 driven by Grant Harrison in pole position that hugged the buoy at the first corner. Followed closely by Marty Wolfe in his boat Renegade from the USA who had to take a wider line at the first turn, Harrison was able to hold on to the lead into the second turn and accelerated away to win the 2012 GP World Championship. With second place going to Wolfe, the kiwis were left fighting for third place which was taken by Fair Warning raced by Scott Coker over Kelly and The Boss.

In the Griffith Cup’s first heat, Harrison and Coker were disqualified for heading to shore without waiting for the yellow flag to be waved to clear the course. The Australian race referee disqualified them.

But Harrison and Coker protested and the decision was overturned by the race jury and race controller. When Harrison won the second heat from The Boss and Fair Warning, he took the Cup from Coker.

– Cathy Vercoe 02/06/12

[Reprinted from Thunderboat, March/April 2012]