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Another NZ title for Mason

SIX and counting.

Gisborne’s Glenn Mason underlined his status as one of the most prolific navigators in New Zealand jetsprinting history as he clocked up another national crown in Featherston last weekend. On a technical track, battling sun strike and the country’s best exponents of this high-octane, edge-of-the-seat motorsport, Mason guided Hamilton driver Sam Newdick to their third consecutive Group A title.

The pair won the round — third place would have been good enough for series glory — with Gisborne couple Blake Briant and Kate Hoogerbrug second on the day. Briant and Hoogerbrug, who led the series up to the fifth round, also placed second overall, four points behind their rivals.

“It was a bloody good day’s racing . . . we were rapt,” said Mason, who has won four titles sitting next to Newdick to go with the two he collected alongside Gisborne driver Rex Briant. They did it in style on what was described as one of the most technical rotations experienced at the Featherston venue, a challenge heightened by late-afternoon sun strike, which severely hampered vision in one area of the track.

Fastest time of the dayNewdick and Mason overcame that and saved their best for last, winning the top-five run-off with the fastest time of the day (FTOD). Having been pipped by Briant and Hoogerbrug in the top-eight run-offs in an FTOD of 58.02 seconds, they were the second-last crew to go.

Newdick delivered what jetsprint commentators said was “a perfect lap” to set a new FTOD of 57.25s, sealing the Group A crown in the process.

Briant and Hoogerbrug not far behindBriant and Hoogerbrug had the chance to deny them the day’s honours and responded with an impressive 57.50s.

Mason felt for the Gisborne pair, who showed plenty of courage to come back from a horrific crash in Round 2 of the world champs. The pair walked away from that but faced the dual challenge of setting up another package for the resumption of the national series, and getting back in the game after such a harrowing experience.

They responded admirably and, but for a navigational error in Round 5 at Wanganui, could have been standing on top of the podium. Mason was fully expecting that, even well into the series.

He and Newdick were up against it from the start when they managed only fifth in Round 1 at Meremere due to jet unit issues.

“We thought she was pretty much a done deal after that,” said Mason, although he knows only too well that this sport has a habit of tossing spanners into works. Being the chasers rather than the chased helped their comeback cause, he said.

“It’s tough having a target on your back. We quite enjoyed chasing.”

Six national wins but international honour a goalA sixth national crown puts him into an elite group but he has space in the trophy cabinet for more, in particular, international honours.

While the pair have conquered their country, they have yet to rule the world. They came agonisingly close this year, finishing just one point behind Hamilton combo Ric Burke and Alf Kils in the two-round UIM world series.

That incentive is enough reason to continue his nearly-20-year involvement in the sport although there are several other factors that motivate and inspire him.

“The thrill of being in the boat, the thrill of the racing, the adrenaline you get with it, the anticipation . . .”

And he wouldn’t keep going back for more if it weren’t for the people involved: “The people in our team (PSP) are a fantastic bunch . . . like a second family.”

File photo of Newdick and Mason in action in January last year.