Monthly Archives: October 2017

Thinking of buying your first jetski?

Jetskis have been around since the mid 60s when an Australian called Clayton Jacobsen II (who lived in Byron Bay) was looking for a sports activity as fun as his (then) sport of motocross, but with less chance of getting hurt when you fell off. He based his original design on smaller personal water craft developed in the UK and Germany which were then called ‘water scooters’.

jetski

The big difference between a regular boat and a jetski is that it is powered by an internal water jet motor as opposed to the more conventional outboard. The motor sucks water through an inlet on the bottom of the jetski using an impeller, and this water is then jetted out the back to propel the jetski forward. The jetski is manoeuvred from left to right using the handlebars which move the nozzle of the water jet from side to side.

As quite a lot of water has to be forced through the internal tube, jetskis required quite powerful engines – a larger jetski will often have an engine of a similar size to one in a small car – around 1.5l capacity.

Technically speaking, the term ‘Jetski’ is in fact owned by the Kawasaki brand and only (legally) describes their bits of kit, however, much like the word ‘hoover’ the term has become a generic term for all ‘personal water craft’ (or PWC’s).

As you’d expect for such a water-loving nation, Australia has more than its fair share of jetskis – in Queensland alone there are over 20,000 jetskis registered, with registrations increasing all the time. Around three quarters of these are based in South East Queensland.

Which jetski will be the best choice for you will depend on what you’re planning to use it for*. If it’s just for yourself and for having some fun on the water, a solo stand-up jetski may be the best option, although sit down solo jetskis are also available, they are a bit bigger and more expensive. If you’re looking for something that can accommodate more than one person, there are models that can take up to four people.

Much like surfboards, some jetskis are really only for experienced riders – the shorter and narrower models are much faster and more manoeuvrable, but not the best to learn on. It’s best to start out with a more stable jetski design, which in practice means a wider and slower, less manoeuvrable model.

Although jetskis are mostly associated with recreational activity, they are also used for an array of other water-based activities – they are increasingly used by the surf lifesavers as rescue craft, and are used for water-based law enforcement around the world, and the US Navy actually uses them as remote controlled surface targets.

In the seaside town of Bournemouth in the UK they are even used by food delivery service Deliveroo to deliver food to customers on the beach. It’s a lot quicker than driving, apparently.

*also bear in mind that, in Australia, you will need to have a valid marine licence to operate a jetski, if it has an engine with more than 4.5kW of power (pretty much all jetskis have more powerful engines than this)

Bathurst will be different next year

This year marks the end of an era for supercar racing in Australia – it’s not that the Bathurst 1000 (also known as the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000) is finishing – it’s not, and plans are already underway for the 2018 race.

bathurst

No, it’s more to do with the cars that will be racing. As of 2018 the traditional Ford and Holden V8’s will firstly no longer be based on Australian manufactured production vehicles (since Ford have already stopped production here and Holden will shortly), and secondly the V8 engine format will not continue, at least for Holden, who next year will be competing in a car not only designed but manufactured in Europe rather than Australia, in either a four cylinder turbo or V6 all wheel drive format.

So, sadly, gone are the days of the Ford and Holden V8’s battling it out for dominance on Mount Panorama.

Bathurst has been home to motorsport since 1963 when the Armstrong 500 race, previously held at Phillip Island, relocated there. The original race was – as the name implied – over a 500 mile circuit, which doubled up at Bathurst to the current 1000 mile race.

Over the years many different classes of cars – from production saloon cars to various classes of touring cars – have raced in the Bathurst 1000, but as of 1999 the race swapped to the supercar category and since then has been one of the venues for this championship.

You might be forgiven for thinking that it’s only about the two (former) local manufacturers – Ford and Holden – but that’s not strictly the case. Other marques do take part, such as BMW, Nissan and Volvo, but given the main attraction of the event has been the Holden vs Ford battle, other marques were completely excluded from the race from 1999 until 2012. They were allowed back in in 2013, but only Nissan has had any success on the track since then.

As things stand, Holden is ahead of Ford with 32 wins against Ford’s 20.

Many famous drivers have competed over the years, including Bob Jane (as in Bob Jane T Marts) and Jacky Ickx (who went on to F1), but the undisputed ‘King of the Mountain’ is the late Peter Brock, who won the race nine times beween 1972 and 1987, two wins ahead of his nearest rival Jim Richards.

What makes the Bathurst track different to most other racing tracks around Australia, or even the world, is the height variation – the highest point is vertically 174m above the lowest point (hence the name ‘Mount Panorama’) and the resultant unique driving experience which makes watching Bathurst very different from other motorsport races.

It’s also technically on public roads (although you’d be hard pressed to see the difference on the TV when the race is on) – it’s only closed off to general traffic during racing events and in fact some properties can only be accessed from roads that form part of the track, which must make it interesting when the races are on. Anybody wanting to ‘give the track a go’ should be aware that the local police rigourously enforce the normal 60 km/h speed limit.

It will be interesting to see what happens at the race next year without the deafening roar of the V8’s – a specially built ‘Sandman’ Holden was driven around the circuit, powered by the new twin turbo V6 which (as explained above) will replace the current V8 engine. The driver – Greg Murphy – liked it, but some of the spectators were disappointed it was so quiet compared to the V8’s. Comes to something when people complain a car is too quiet.

Image credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Benchill