by Bob Wonders
The water conditions were more suitable to water ski competition than roaring offshore powerboats, but it was mechanical ‘gremlins’ and ‘no shows’ that caused most problems for the fifth round of the Offshore Superboat Championships (OSG).
Class 1 boat 'Maritimo' heads off Supercat Outboard Lite entry 'Civic Video'. - OSC Geelong
Geelong’s Corio Bay was a virtual ‘millpond’ for the racing, which still managed to attract strong attendance.
The result of the round, staged in the two-race format, has meant little change to the overall point score.
In Class 1, ‘Maritimo’, Luke Durman (driver) and Ross Willaton (throttles) cannot be beaten, and despite encountering mechanical problems in race one. Which led to a DNS in race two, the team already has enough points for a championship victory.
Defending champions, Tom Barry-Cotter (driver) and Pal Virik Nilsen (throttles) aboard, have been plagued with engine problems all year and again failed to finish race one and did not start in race two.
Another boat from the Maritimo Offshore Race Team, ‘Mainlube Express’, with Darren Nicholson on the wheel and crew chief Peter McGrath handling the throttles, claimed victory in both Class 1 races.
OSC president Adam Gilbert would have been well pleased with the results in Supercat Lite, his boat ‘Team 3’, Steve Nugent (driver) and Travis Thompson (throttles) in the cockpit, was first to greet the chequered flag in both races.
Overall class leader, ‘The Good Guys’, brothers Brendan and Christopher Frier on board, finished second in race one and third in race two.
After a DNF in race one, ‘Global Racing’, Mike Beil at the wheel and Steve Jellick on throttles, worked out the bugs and pushed ‘Team 3’ all the way to claim second in race two.
Proving yet again that consistency pays off, ‘B.B.C. Digital’ piloted by Graham Fraser and Scott Gehrman proved too good for their rivals in Supercat Outboard; they claimed two wins from two to add to their impressive tally this season, now showing five wins and four seconds from 10 starts.
Antony De Fina (driver) and Nigel Craven (throttles) brought ‘Saracen’ home second in both races.
‘Civic Video’, Mark Taylor and Paul Fowlds in the boat, also claimed a double wining both races in Supercat Outboard Lite with ‘Shaken Not Stirred’ claiming second spot in both.
The NSW Central Coast team includes the only female competitor at present in Brooke Ullrich, who handles the throttles aboard ‘Shaken Not Stirred’ for driver Brian Dale.
‘Hogs Breath’ and ‘F.G.I’, both battling for supremacy in Supercat Outboard Lite, were unable to make the trip down to Victoria, while ‘Australian Vehicle Wholesalers’ and ‘Kwozzy’ are both engaged in mechanical woes.
Adam Gilbert described the missing entries as 'frustrating', but race boats do tend to suffer mechanical problems and it’s something the sport has to live with.
The 2011 championships conclude next weekend in a one race event at Williamstown.
Class 1; ‘Maritimo’, 4100 points, ‘Mustang’, 2225, ‘Mainlube Express’, 1700, Jaeger Group, 75.
Supercat Lite; ‘The Good Guys’, 4275 points, ‘Team 3’, 3825, ‘Global Racing’, 2625, Australian Vehicle Wholesalers, 319, Mazlin Electrical, 150.
Supercat Outboard; ‘B.B.C Digital’, 4175 points, ‘Saracen’, 3525, ‘SUV Dodge Ram’, 2100, Kwozzy, 1000.
Supercat Outboard Lite; ‘F.G.I’, 3125 points, Hogs Breath, 2525, ‘It’s About Time’.
2600, ‘Shaken Not Stirred’, 1069, ‘Number 8’, 75.
Offshore Superboat Championships website