The 2012 season of the NZ Offshore Powerboat Racing has got off to a rocky start with the cancellation of the first race following the disastrous breakup of the Rena, now scattering her debris far and wide. Not all is lost – we are on track for the traditional Auckland Anniversary weekend race on Lake Taupo - no fear of containers washing up there. A few new changes for the Konica Minolta team but thankfully not such a rocky start. This year we are back in the championship winning Force F19X powered by a brand new Evinrude E-TEC 200hp outboard to kick start the competition. The Konica Minolta boat is sporting an all new graphics package and looks great. Once again, we are competing in the 60 mile championship over 8 races around the North Island and this year have entered the sports restricted class - restricted to production outboards up to 200hp. “This is the class that will have the most boats competing so there should be some really close racing” says Greg “a few of the ex Formula Honda guys have repowered with 200hp engines so it looks like the class that will have the growth for future racing now that Formula Honda is coming to an end.” Some changes in the driving seat this year too - Greg has decided to give the young bucks a go this season. We are pleased to welcome Mike Smith to the team as principal driver for the 2012 season. At only 21, Mike has already achieved championship success winning the 2008 Formula Honda Championship and later that year the UK Honda F4S race at Liverpool. The Smith family with father Grant and sister Kelly are seasoned campaigners in offshore racing, winning championships in Superboat Lights. Last year’s crew chief and Fish City technician Adam Smale, will take up the co-driving & boat preparation responsibilities for this season. Of course Greg will remain an integral part, sharing his winning secrets, and will be behind the wheel for the sponsor rides prior to each race. “It’s great to have Mike & Adam onboard, and early testing in the boat has the boys excited about the championship and the challenges they face. I’m sure they will continue the Team Konica Minolta winning trend.” Konica Minolta continue as principal sponsor for the 2012 season, with Rustoleum Industrial Coatings, BRP (Evinrude) and new sponsor SLS Security Group as associated sponsors. Race starts at 1pm on the Taupo foreshore, Sunday 29 January. See you at the Konica Minolta marquee.