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Whitianga Festival of Speed- We’re going boat racing – you’re invited

by Sail-World on 14 Feb 2010
2009 Whitianga Festival of Speed Whitianga Festival of Speed

New Zealand's biggest boat racing event is continuing to gather momentum.. The Whitianga Festival of Speed will take place again on April 10 & 11, 2010 at Whitianga on New Zealand’s Coromandel Peninsula - see for more information


Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the Festival is that public admission is FREE!


If it flies, floats or turns wheels and heads it is bound to be there
· Game fishing boat race with Le Mans style start and finish
· NZOPA offshore power boat series race
· Helicopter versus fastest offshore power boat race
· Thunder cat race
· Jet sprint races
· Jet Ski Race – featuring current World Champion – Sam Harvey.

If you love fast aircraft, fast boats, exotic cars and motorcycles, along with thrilling stunts the Whitianga Festival of speed will push all the right buttons as it combines the best of those activities in an adrenalin filled weekend of activity. As the posters say 'If it flies, floats or turns wheels and heads it is bound to be there.'

The inaugural Whitianga Festival of Speed was held in April 2009 and took many people by surprise. With limited media publicity and a small dedicated team led by the Hopper Development’s Whitianga Waterways’ team and a band of local business and community groups, they managed to stage an event which has tongues wagging all around the country.

People who had heard about it, and overlooked the opportunity to come, appear very disappointed and have vowed not to miss the next one.

The 2009 crowd was estimated to be around 15 / 20,000 but with so much follow up interest the organisers believe the number will balloon in 2010. If there was a complaint at all, it was 'there was too much to see.'

Most visitors could not get to see everything as there was a continual overlapping event schedule with three aerobatic teams performing constantly, helicopter flying skill demonstrations, offshore power boat races, car and motor cycle events and a number of novelty stunts which would do an un-named English Television motoring show proud.

Spectators were treated to races between a helicopter and a rally car, helicopter and off shore power boat, helicopters with bottle openers on their skids, hovering and opening rows of beer bottles and the 'Whopper Chopper Race' which was a team relay event involving axemen, helicopter pilots and motorcycles.

The skies were constantly busy with almost continuous aerobatics performed by the RNZAF’s Red Checkers, Warbirds and YAK pilots, not to mention fabulous flying displays by an immaculate WW2 Mustang and helicopters.

Big multi-million dollar Game fishing boats raced around the NZOPA circuit close to shore with a Le Mans Style finish where crew returned to shore in their inflatable dinghies and had to run up the beach in front of a 15,000+ cheering crowd to plant a flag on a sand hill.

Q. What made the Festival of Speed different?

A. The mix of codes and heart stopping stunts.

Sure, many have seen car races, boat races and air shows; but few have seen aircraft pitched head to head against fast cars of fast boats other than in the movies.

See for more information

Highlights from the 2009 Festival of speed included:

· Non stop aerobatics
· Helicopter race with rally car
· Helicopter race with Offshore Power boat
· Daring motorcycle stunts
· Exotic car and motorcycle displays
· Big Game Boat race

There was never a dull moment. If you would like to see what you missed, visit

In 2010 there is an even more impressive line-up of aircraft, fast boats, exotic car brands and motorcycles.

A number of events have grown and now include at National competition level, items such as Thunder Cats, Off road racers, Motocross, Jet Sprint boats, Jet Ski racers, NZ Helicopter open champs, NZ Offshore Power Boat Race series.

A street sprint circuit is planned where brands such as Lamborghini, Aston Martin, Ferrari and Maserati are scheduled to compete.

see for more information

Corporate hosting option:

For those seeking a higher level of experience, corporate hosting marquees with a high level of service including food and beverages for the weekend will be provided.

This service has been created largely to cater for sponsors and their guests and naturally comes at a price. Enquiries should be directed to

Transport: - Park and ride, cycle or walk

To minimize traffic congestion, public parking will be encouraged and managed by local service groups There will be a charge which will include use of public transport for the weekend.


Accommodation will be in demand and bookings should be made well in advance to avoid disappointment.

Whitianga offers a large selection of motels, tourist apartments, camp grounds, and private holiday homes for short term rental.

Additional motor home facilities will be made available for the Festival. Enquiries should be directed to the local i-site office

The atmosphere will again be electric as Whitianga turns it on. This is an event which consumes the town in a way that would not be possible in a major metropolitan centre.

Email enquiries to

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