by Bob Wonders
Old timers with good memories will have noticed a rather familiar face at the wheel of the official start boat for the Unlimited Displacement classes at last weekend’s gala powerboat spectacular.
Alan Beale, 12-time Australian champion and former owner of Melbourne’s Psycho Marine, was the familiar face at the wheel of the official start boat during the Gold Coast powerboating spectacular.
It was none other than Alan Beale, ‘AB’ as he’s widely known, and the former Melbourne-based owner of race and ski race boat builder Psycho Marine.
‘AB’ was no mean hand at the wheel of his own boats, either, and can lay claim to 12 Australian championships in 4.2-litre, 6.0-litre, 8.0-litres and Unlimited Displacement classes. He also held several kilo speed records.
‘AB’ established Psycho Marine in 1980 and specialised in highly customised quick boats employing the Stephens designed hull.
All his boats were superbly custom built and intended for high performance, with custom engines ranging from 5.0-litre through to full blown, Unlimited Displacement.
His boats have won races Australia-wide, both boat races and ski races, including Sydney’s famous Bridge to Bridge.
I’ve known ‘AB’ for probably 25-years or so (knew him when he had hair!) and apart from a few years (and a few kilos) he hasn’t changed.
Psycho Marine was at its peak through the late 80s, early 90s, and at one stage ‘AB’ had six on staff.
He was a fixture at the Melbourne Boat Show for 25-years and also displayed his product at the Sydney International and Adelaide exhibitions.
‘AB’ sold Psycho Marine in 2001 and a couple of years later entered ‘semi’ retirement when he and wife Amanda moved to the Gold Coast.
In 2004, 'AB' was inducted into the APBA Hall of Fame for 'service and dedication to the sport of powerboat racing.'
A long time Harley-Davidson enthusiast (he owns two), ‘AB’ spends his time these days looking after his own and other people’s Harley-Davidsons.
His Paradise Point workshop is visited regularly by members of the Gold Coast HOG (Harley Owners Group) and other Harley-Davidson owners seeking work on their motorcycles (including me!).
In fact, ‘AB’s ‘better half’, Amanda, is virtually the social secretary of the Harley Owners Group and when not arranging group rides or other club functions works in administration at Maritimo where she is responsible for shipping and pre-delivery of the company’s luxury cruisers.
She was also a fair hand at the wheel of a race boat and not surprisingly it was powerboat racing that brought the two together.
‘AB’ does not get too many chances to drive race boats these days, so when he was asked to take the wheel of the start boat on the weekend there was no chance he’d knock it back.
'My only worry,' Amanda chipped in, 'was that he’d forget he was the start boat and take part in the race.'