It may seem that here at Link Engine Management, we provide expert technology predominantly for enhancing the power of cars. In reality however, our Link G4+ ECU’s are popular in all forms of motorsport, ranging from off-road trucks to boats, and more.

Two of our sponsored vehicles run in the New Zealand Jetsprint Championship. Utilising up to 1000 horsepower engines powered by Link G4+ Xtreme ECU’s, these boats take a lot of skill to tune and drive. We caught up with David and Pippa from the Napier, who pilot these exhilarating jet sprints, to find out more ahead of the first round of the 2017/18 season.

Boat 1 – Blue Flame – is driven by David Simmons. 

Nav: John Verry

Crew: Alan Williams

  • Tell us a little about your boat? Who’s idea was it, who has built it and when?

She’s stinger hull, 9” hydropump jet unit, 6.2 Litre LSA with a vortech centrifugal supercharger running straight methanol. Somewhere in the neighbourhood of 1000 hp. We used to do a lot of river boating & wanted to try our hand at racing, so Jetsprint was a natural progression for us. We started out racing in the B class in 2013 with an L98 engine. 2014 I went to superboats with John Verry as Nav, & Pip stayed in the B Class for couple of years. We’ve been through a few hulls & constantly trying to improve the engine packages – with the massive helping hand of Tim Patterson from Wanganui Engine rebuilders. We work on the boats from our shed at home, & sometimes at my workplace (Industrial Manufacturing Services). Many people chip in & help with the building & running on race days. We have a large family group that camps at the tracks with us. This year we have also got our 2 sons (Jakeb Simmons & Ollie Burder) racing for the first time in B class – using the L98 motor we started with. My father (Derek) will be crew for them.

  • A little more about the team of people around the boat?

John Verry – Nav. Johnno is an owner of a CNC machining business in Onekawa Napier.

Alan Williams – Mechanic from Waipukurau Honda. Al has been involved in boat racing for many years & crews for us on race days. Also spend many weekends in our shed working on the boats.

David Simmons – Draughtsman at Industrial Manufacturing services – Napier.

  • What championships / records have you won?

Our best season was 2015/2016. We managed consistent results thru the season which ended in Johnno being 3NZ for Navs in the supers (some other Navs had to withdraw from injury etc). I think I ended up 5th that season overall – highest place for a national round was 3rd at Featherston. The world series was being held in NZ that season as well – & a highlight of ours was finishing second at the Baypark round (in the stadium). Unfortunately we had an engine issue at the Meremere round so our placing overall was not too high, however, we are still pleased with our result at the Baypark round that year.

  • What are you aims for this season?

Ultimately, we aim to be at the top. If we can get some top 6 finishes, we will be in the hunt. Race format is some qualifying rounds (3 minimum) which is then cut to a top 9, then 6, then 3.

  • What do you love about Link ECU? Who does the Link tuning?

We like the “customability“ & the user friendly software. Also the tech support (including Simon & the team in Chch) is awesome. We do our own tuning.

  • Which ECU model have you used?

Both boats are using G4+ extremes.

  • How long have you been racing jetsprints?

Since 2013

  • What do you love about jetsprints?

The racing, getting something we’ve put together to perform. Also the Jetsprint community is like a big family – we have some good times.

  • You’re boat has a ton of power… It must be a real thrill to race?

It’s hard to describe how the boats feel, they accelerate quick (somewhere around 0-130kph in 2 seconds) & cornering produces a number of G’s. The trick is keeping traction & therefore speed through the corners.

Follow Dave & John’s results throughout the season here:

Pips Boat – Link ECU Boat No. 20 – is driven by Pippa Thompson. 

  • Tell us a little about your race boat; who’s idea was it, who has built it, and when?

It’s much the same as Davids boat – she’s a stinger hull, Scott 8.5”, 6.2L LSA vortech centrifugally supercharger, running straight methanol. Somewhere round 800 hp.

  • Who is your co-driver?

I have had the same navigator the whole time I have been driving – Megan Brodie ( Poppy) – She is cool , calm and collected but isn’t afraid to kick my butt if I do something wrong. Exactly what is required in a nav. I should also mention that we have Jess who crews for us – backing us in, fueling up etc. so are an all female crew.

  • What championships / records have you won together?

Our best result was in B class with a 3rd at Wanganui – 5th for the championship and Most Improved Team trophy for Group B

  • What are you aims for this season?

We will be aiming to make the elimination rounds & from there – anything can happen

  • What do you love about Link ECU?

The data logging is real helpful for us – David does the tuning and retrieves all the data.

  • Which ECU model do you use?

G4+ extreme

  • How long have you been racing jetsprints?

Since 2013 as a Nav, 2014 as a driver.

  • What do you love about your sport?

When your boat is going well there is nothing more exhilarating than going out each round and pushing yourself to the limit each round. Split second decisions can cost you the race and you need to be mentally on top of your game to succeed. We all experience highs and lows depending on the day has gone but Jet Sprinters are a great bunch of people and at the end of each race meeting we all pull together to have a great wind down.

  • Tell us a bit more about what’s it is like to race these powerful boats…

I have jumped from the Group B development class (520hb) , where I had my foot flat each round –  to the Super Boat class(800hp)  , so am hugely excited to get out this season and try her out. I am the only female driver in the Super Boat class and I am looking forward to really pushing my limits and seeing how I go against the rest of the field. Expect a lot of competition between the two Link Boats.

You can follow all of Pip & Megan’s season here:

The team at Link ECU wishes David, Pip, and all the team members great success over the coming season, starting in Wanaka on the 4th & 5th November!

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