Takapuna Teen Takes on National Championship
He may be too young for a driver’s license, but that hasn’t prevented 16 year old Chris Haeger from preparing to take on race teams nationwide in the New Zealand Offshore Powerboat Series this coming summer.
The Takapuna Grammar student has taken on the role as driver in the 150 horsepower class, for New Zealand Home Loans Offshore Race Team. An exciting step-up from his role as co-driver in the previous season, and has firmly established Chris as the youngest driver in the competition to date.
“It’s definitely a bit intimidating being the youngest, all the other guys are a lot bigger, but everybody helps me out. I do think a lot of them underestimate me at times though” Chris says.
In a sport where youth is often associated with inexperience, Chris has shown he is no amateur when it comes to powerboats. Having spent many hours gaining experience in the workshop of Westhaven’s ‘Marineworkz’, Chris knows his powerboats inside and out, quite literally. Chris has just completed the rebuild of this season’s powerboat.
“This year we’ve put on a different engine, which means it has better handling and is a lot easier to drive,” he said.
It was in the Marineworkz workshop that Chris was mentored by his now co-driver, Jono “Rockstar” Hanley, a force to be reckoned with on the water. “The guys from Marineworkz are awesome, they’ve taught me heaps. Jono has heaps of experience, so he helps me out a lot”, he adds.
Chris is keen to follow in Jono’s footsteps, and pursue a career in Marine engineering and working with boats when he leaves college. Until then, he will just have to settle for racing them.
With the New Zealand Home Loan Race Team experiencing success in previous seasons, the team has expanded to include North Shore locals Mike Urquhart and James Downs who will take part in the 200 horsepower class.
Chris’s father, Brett Haeger, from New Zealand Home Loans in Takapuna has been the driving force behind the teams. “We’re really excited to sink our teeth into this season. Especially with the expansion to include another boat in the competition, we’re looking forward to getting on that podium again.”
With the New Zealand Home Loans slogan being “Debt Free Faster”, the father-son duo seems to share a few interests in common.
See Chris and The New Zealand Home Loans Race Team take part in the Offshore Powerboat Competition, in Auckland Harbour on the 6th of April 2014.