CONFIDENT: New Zealand Jetsprint Association president Paul Gaston is 95 per cent sure that Baypark will be chosen as one of the two venues for the world championships.PHOTO/FILE
The finals of next year’s World Jetsprint Championships look almost certain to be raced at Tauranga’s ASB Baypark Stadium.
New Zealand had won the rights to host the championships, with the New Zealand Jetsprint Association president Paul Gaston 95 per cent sure that Baypark would be chosen as one of the two venues.
“I would say that it will have the finals of the world championships for 2016,” he told the Bay of Plenty Times.
His comments followed another successful weekend’s racing at the world’s only jetsprint event to be held inside a stadium, pictured.
Crowds exceeded 6500 last Saturday for the PSP New Zealand Jetsprint Championship series, with at least 10,000 coming through the gates on Sunday to see the inaugural ENZED Stadium Jetsprints.
Tauranga Mayor Stuart Crosby saw a huge future for jetsprints at the stadium, saying it could be developed into a unique annual event attracting the cream of the world’s racers.
It meant that Tauranga would not have to wait until New Zealand hosted a round of the world championships to attract an international class field.
Mr Crosby said the uniqueness of the stadium opened up great opportunities for an annual event that would help market Tauranga and the rest of the Bay to international TV audiences.
Last weekend’s jetsprints were live streamed around the world with enthusiasts from the United States, Canada and Australia glued to their screens.
Mr Crosby said the city could be marketed in short video bites between races.
He spoke with Australia’s jetsprint representative and the sport’s New Zealand fraternity, with everyone agreeing that Baypark stadium was the best venue in the world.
“It is something to be proud of and a huge opportunity moving forward.”
Tweaking the course by making it a bit wider and more flowing had met with approval from the 50 crews and owners.
Event director Pip Minnell said there had been a lot of comment from the 500 people involved in the teams about how Tauranga was a fantastic hosting city, with people from overseas keen to see how the stadium was transformed into a jetsprint venue.
She said it was about bringing the sport to the people by making it accessible. People could go to the beach in the morning and the jetsprints in the afternoon.