by Bob Wonders
The powerful Australian Water Ski Racing Team has swept all before it as it posted an astonishing performance during the 2011 World championships staged on Queensland’s Moreton Bay.
Grant Turner on his way to a Men’s F2 championship, his tow boat ’Target’, Peter Lewis and David Stonely aboard, is at full throttle. - world water ski race titles
In addition to crowning five new individual World Champions from the six classes contested, the Australian team also dominated the team category with comprehensive victories in the Open, Formula 2 and Junior classes.
Three members of the team, Chris Stout (Open Men), Jack Houston (Junior Boys) and Kelsey Feros (Junior Girls) went through the entire meeting undefeated.
In peak condition from contesting such punishing events as the famous Bridge to Bridge on Sydney’s Hawkesbury River and the Grafton and Southern 80 races, the Australian team proved unbeatable.
The championships have been an incredible triumph for Men’s Open champion Chris Stout; skiing behind the 21’ Force ‘Burnin’, with Noel Griffin at the wheel and Mick Kelly observing, Stout proved unbeatable ‘cruising’ to four wins from four starts.
He becomes the first ski racer to win world championships in Junior Boys, Formula 2 and Men’s Open.
Team mate Peter Procter, up behind another 21’Force, ‘Tru Blue’, Marcus Cranny driving and Danny Cropper observing, took second spot in Open Men, just 56 points adrift of Stout.
USA’s Troy Hooker came home third behind the Australian boat ‘Merc Force’, Don Gulley and Jared Cooper aboard.
The Australians also snared gold and silver in Formula 2 Men, with Grant Turner up behind ‘Target’ claiming the chequered flag ahead of Mark Weaver skiing behind ‘TWR’.
Andy Anderson of the USA was third.
Chris Stout’s sister Trudi almost joined him as a world champion only for an unfortunate incident in race 2 during the Women’s Formula 2; her boat spun out and attracted a disqualification from the judges.
The brother and sister duo Chris and Trudi Stout, Men's Open champion and Woemn's F2 runner up. - world water ski race titles
That allowed team mate Leanne Campbell, skiing behind ‘Atomic Boats’, Brent Wisemantel and Andrew Fyfe aboard, to claim the world crown; Leanne totalled 2984.65 points to just shade Trudi on 2969.65.
Americans claimed gold and silver in Open Women, with Katelin Wendt amassing 2996.70 points to finish just ahead of her team mate Erin Saunders on 2992.35.
Kathrin Ortlieb, the experienced Austrian, was third home in Open Women.
Sadly, Australia’s chances in Open Women were dashed when Lauryn Eagle, a former Women’s F2 champion, sustained minor injuries in a spectacular, high speed fall.
She was taken to hospital, but fortunately made a quick recovery, but her title hopes were gone.
Australia’s junior skiers have proven that ski racing is indeed in very good hands.
In Junior Boys, Jack Houston, skiing well beyond his years, raced to four wins from four starts behind father Greg’s 21’ Force ‘Stinga’, with veteran Kevin Boylan observing.
Jack Houston, champion of the world in Junior Boys for the second time and looking pretty happy about it. - world water ski race titles
It was a title defence for the crack youngster, having won the previous Junior Boys world championship in Belgium.
Team mate Lloyd Woolman, behind ‘Thundernuts’, Cameron Cox and Brett Dominquez in the boat, took second place ahead of American Trevor Wendt.
Like her team mate Jack Houston, Kelsey Feros was unbeaten in Junior Girls, racing to four from four to take the crown; skiing behind ‘Prima Donna’, father Nick driving and Brett Armstrong observing, Kelsey claimed maximum points to defeat Belgium’s Yolien Bormans with Australia’s Tayla Wright third.
Often producing rough water, Moreton Bay was relatively well behaved following a forced postponement on opening day when strong winds blasted the course.
Generally speaking, organisers were quite content with the venue as were the majority of competitors.
Leanne Campbell looking fairly composed after wining Women's F2, but her boat crew, Brent Wisemantel and Andrew Fyfe were already planing a 'hot' celebration. - world ski race titles
While the Australian team had plenty of reasons to celebrate, it’s a safe bet that in Sydney, on the banks of the Hawkesbury River, boat builder Rod Bickerton woulkd have cause to ‘raise a glass.’
Bickerton is the man behind Force Boats and saw his creations take top honours with three wins, three seconds and a third in the six race classes.
Sydney's Kelsey Feros gives the thumbs up after winning the Junior Girls World championship. - world water ski race titles
Final Team Results, courtesy of www.skirace.net were:
Open: Australia (14,997.51 points), United States (9758.96), Great Britain (4428.08), Austria (3744.34) and New Zealand (1800.93).
Formula 2: Australia (15,869.94 points), United States (14,704.18), Great Britain (10,502.91), Austria (9789.77), Belgium (7350.99), New Zealand (4292.68), Spain (2834.51) and France (2101.39).
Juniors: Australia (15,784.89 points), New Zealand (7034.77), Great Britain (6266.02), United States (6177.17) and Belgium (3795.22).
Mark Weaver claiming victory in trace two, but he was beaten into second outright by team mate Grant Turner in Men's F2. - world ski race titles
The Aussie flag flies as ace youngster Jack Houston claims his second sucessive Junior Boys world championship. - world ski race titles
Chris Stout (centre), Men's Open World champion water ski racer with the crew of 'Burnin', Noel Griffin. driver (right) and Mick Kelly,observer. - world water ski race titles
For detailed ski racing news, check in with Robbie Llewellyn’s site, www.skirace.net