Roger Preston (Booth Ag)

Roger Preston (Booth Ag) recently competed in the NZ Jet Boat Marathon on the 6th to 12th October. Racing was held over an 800km course on the Lower Clutha, Waiau, Oreti, Matukituki, Upper Clutha and Dart Rivers. There were 21 starters competing for the podium honours. Amongst the boaters there were 4 entrants from Canada and 1 from USA all checking the rivers out for next year’s World Marathon being held here in New Zealand on the same rivers.

The gruelling marathon was a full-on week with reliability being the key factor for all aiming to win such an event.  Rogers’s boat is a Canadian built Eagle tunnel hull with a 600 cubic inch Chevy engine pushing out 900hp with a top speed of around 190kmph. Roger broke 2 rockers half-way through the marathon dropping down to 7 cylinders on 1 leg and 6 cylinders on another leg, but managed to keep going both times to finish each leg and post a time without incurring a DNF (Did not finish). A DNF on any leg means you are not eligible for an overall placing.

Roger finished 2nd overall which was a great result, behind John Derry of Blenheim driving an Eagle tunnel hull powered by a T58 turbine engine, which had a top speed of 210kmph with 1300hp. John was very fast on the longer straight rivers but Roger pulled him in on the shallower tighter rivers with the piston engine being more manoeuvrable with better throttle response than the turbine. Roger also was awarded the trophy for best turned out boat and crew and the Alan Baxter Memorial Trophy for fastest time on the Oreti River. He is currently first overall in the Interprovincial Series with one race left to compete in for the year.

Roger wishes to thank Southfuels very much for their great support and sponsorship towards the racing fuel for the yearly Inter-Provincial series and the NZ Marathon. Thank you also to Graeme Fraser for his support and driving the fuel tanker along with the rest of our team of Damian Pulley (navigator), Kirsty (wife and keen supporter), Jock McGilvray (mechanic), Fraser Guise (trailer driver), Meagan and Jack (food and beverage providers and general gophers).