by Bob Wonders
A new president, new committee and several new boats and crews tipped to be joining the action has the Australian Offshore Superboat Championships 2011 season poised to be one of the best yet staged.
Superboats put on stunning show for Geelong - Australian Offshore Superboat Championship 2010
Adam Gilbert has been elected president, taking over from Paul Gibbs, who stood down after successfully leading the championships to success over the past three-years.
Victorian veteran throttleman Simon Isherwood is the new vice-president with current race director Russell Embleton also assuming the vital secretary/treasurer roles.
The annual general meeting also confirmed state and class representatives for the 2011 season.
Antony DeFina (Victoria), John Amos (NSW) and Paul Fowlds (Queensland) have been appointed state representatives while class reps comprise Bill Barry-Cotter (Class 1), Bill Frier (Supercat 1050hp), Con Saloumidis (Supercat Outboard 600hp) and Graham Fraser (Supercat Outboard Lite 400hp).
The 2011 season will open in March with Victoria’s Williamstown the venue for the weekend of 12/13.
Two weeks later, the action moves to Geelong, long regarded by most crews as the best of Australia’s offshore race circuits.
Geelong is set for the weekend of March 26/27 and will comprise a two race format.
The only NSW event is set for Newcastle, April 30/May 1.
Like Williamstown, Newcastle will be a one-race format.
The offshore action then moves into Queensland where all three events have been listed in the two-race format.
Mackay is set for June 25/26, followed by Townsville, July 2/3 and finally Redcliffe over the weekend of September 17/18.
Although listed at this stage as being in the two-race format, this has yet to be confirmed for the Redcliffe venue.
The good news for the championships (and the spectators) is that all 2010 Class championships are backing up for another tilt.
Mick Walker and Gary Smith, who piloted Supercat Outboard Lite winner ‘FGI’ to a convincing championship, are currently working on a new boat in preparation to defend their crown.
And Adam Gilbert has a new boat on the way after having sold his previous rig, ‘Team 3.’
We believe the new owners of the former ‘Team 3’ are involved in re-painting and re-powering the boat for the new season.
At this early stage there has been no word on any return to the championships by the Qatar team, but the Maritimo team will be going full throttle to emulate its successful2010 season.
Tom Barry-Cotter, who with throttleman Pal Virik Nilsen won the 2010 Class 1 champio0nshiop with ‘Mustang’ for the third successive year, will again prove to be the ‘one to beat’ in the class.
He can expect some strong competition from his half-brother, Luke Durman, who will make a return to the circuit after missing most of the 2010 season due to the birth of his first child.
Durman will take the wheel aboard ‘Maritimo’ with either Maritimo crew chief Peter McGrath or colleague Ross Willaton on throttles.
Over the next few weeks we’ll be chasing up on the new boats and crews aimingf to make their mark in 2011.
If it’s offshore action, all the news will be right here, on the pages of Powerboat-World.