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Lake Karapiro becomes a racetrack every February as some of the world's fastest boats tear up the lake at speeds of more than 200kph.

The lake's size and surface conditions make it ideal for hydroplane racing and Karapiro has hosted some of the sport's most prestigious events since the first UIM World Grand Prix Hydroplane Championships were held there in 2000.

hydroplane cambridge-isiteKarapiro is included on the New Zealand Grand Prix circuit, attracting spectators enthralled by the prospect of watching drivers zoom through four laps of a 2,000 metre oval course in less than three minutes.

Conditions on the lake are conducive to speed and New Zealanders have set world speed records there.

Cambridge's Mike Southward set the World Grand Prix Hydroplane Water Speed record at Karapiro on August 24, 1991, when he recorded a speed of 179.01 mph/288.173kph in Shell True Blue Ladybug. His record remained intact more than two decades later, and despite a concerted effort by challenger Graeme Weller in November 2010.

Aucklander Heather Spurle broke the women's water speed record at Karapiro in April 1989, recording an average speed over two kilometres of 132mph/212kph. She soon lost the record but regained it a year later, registering an average speed of 168.76mph/271.53kph at Lake Ruataniwha. Twenty years later, her time remained the best in the world.

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