by Bob Wonders
Steve Searle’s bright red 46’ Douglas Skater, ‘Acme Racing’, has scored a runaway win in round two of the Offshore Superboat Series in boisterous conditions off Surfers Paradise.
Acme wins on the Gold Coast
Its supercharged big block engines delivering 930hp each, the big ‘red terror’ was untroubled to lead throughout the race, covering 12 laps in 63min 51sec.
Andrew Searle throttled the boat superbly, with Steve’s son Christopher proving he had the right amount of skill at the wheel.
For Bill Barry-Cotter’s Maritimo team, which scored a resounding 1, 2 result in round one off Redcliffe, it was a case of from the penthouse to the cellar.
Both the team’s boats, ‘Maritimo’ and ‘Simrad’ registered the dreaded DNF, both boats failing due to what turned out to be minor electrical problems.
The Melbourne cat, ‘Impact Steel’ covered 10 laps to claim second place in Class I with ‘Global Racing’ (nine laps) coming home third.
Eleven boats, five in Class I, three in Supercat Outboard, two in Supercat Lite Outboard and one in Super Vee Lite, faced the starter in what could only be termed rough conditions, whipped up by strong north-to north-west winds.
The big Class I boats naturally handled the conditions reasonably well and all five battled fore the early lead.
‘Maritimo’ , Pal Virik Nilsen and Tom Barry-Cotter aboard, looked set to repeat its Redcliffe performance when it took the lead into the first lap.
It was not to be the Maritimo team’s day and with barely a lap completed the big catamaran withdrew from the race and made its own way, very slowly, back to the pit area.
‘Acme Racing’ was establishing a solid lead over ‘Simrad’ when it, too, sustained a minor electrical fault.
Maritimo crew chief, Peter ‘Muddy’ McGrath (throttles) and driver Luke Durman were unable to fix the fault and shut down both engines, the catamaran requiring a tow back to the pits.
The smaller boats it the fleet were performing well considering the conditions, and Mat Humphrey and Simon Isherwood (‘SUV Dodge Ram’) and Cameron Davis and Brett Lurhmann (‘Blade’ were engaged in an exciting tussle in Supercat Outboard, ‘SUV Dodge Ram’ finally claiming the chequered flag just five seconds ahead of ‘Blade’ after eight punishing laps.
‘Saracen’, Antony de Fina and Nigel Craven aboard, took third place, one lap down.
Supercat Outboard Lite was all about ‘HF Marine Racing’, Ian Harris and Graham Fraser in the boat, the only finisher covering five laps in 58min 48sec.
‘Elders’, the former ‘Hog’s Breath’, now campaigned by Mick Walker and Gary Smith, was a DNF.
If anyone deserves “a wrap” it is surely Peter Jack and Jamie Callan, the crew of Super Vee Lite boat ‘Grumpy Mongrel.’
The little boat appeared to take quite a ‘thumping’ in the wild conditions, but the boys hung in there and covered six gruelling laps to win the class.
Surprisingly, ‘Global Racing’, contesting Class 1 and ‘seriously underpowered’ compared to its rivals, now holds the point score lead for the AUS 1 Mark Lee Trophy with 600 points after two third places.
‘Global Racing’ sports dual 525hp MerCruisers against the almost 2000hp of the other Class I boats.
‘Maritimo’ and ‘Acme Racing’ share second spot with 550 points each
‘SUV Dodge Ram’ hangs on to third with 488 points.
“Global Racing’ also leads the points score in Class 1 for the AOPC Trophy, with ‘Acme Racing’ and ‘Maritimo’ (550 points) just behind.
‘Simrad’ and ‘Impact Steel’ bring up the rear on 450 points each.
‘Suv Dodge Ram’ (950 points) holds a commanding lead over ‘Saracen’ and ‘Blade’, (both on 375 points) in the Supercat Outboard class for the J R Gilbert Trophy.
The Shark Cat Trophy for the Supercat Outboard Lite sees a tie at the top, with ‘Elders’ and ‘HF Marine Racing’ each with 550 points.
“Grumpy Mongrel’ has a ‘stranglehold’ on the Gary Rowe Trophy with 950 points in Super Vee Lite.
The Offshore Superboat Series takes a break now until next year, with rounds three and four both scheduled for Victoria.
Racing is off Williamstown, over the weekend of February 28 – March 1 with Geelong the venue for round four the following weekend.
Round five sees the fleet return to NSW with the popular Newcastle venue and finally to Townsville on a date yet to be confirmed due to scheduled V8 Supercar races.