by Bob Wonders
The final race has been run and won, and Australia’s Offshore Superboats Championships (OSC) has wound up a highly-successful season at Hervey Bay, on the Queensland central coast.
'Maritimo' and 'The Good Guys' (wearing a Navy logo for this race) do battle off Hervey Bay; "The Good Guys' proved too good and went on to take championship honours. - OSC championships conclude
With a slightly-revamped format, Class 1 having been deleted due to a lack of competitors, only three classes have been contested through the 2012 season, Supercat 1000, Supercat 600 and Supercat 400.
Close and competitive racing was a feature in all three classes.
Supercat 1000 and Supercat 600 in particular delivered some exciting battles as crews fought for the Australian title.
In Supercat 1000, Mackay-based brothers, Brendan and Christopher Frier came from behind to pilot ‘The Good Guys’ to a well-earned championship when they relegated ‘Maritimo’ (Darren Nicholson and Peter McGrath) to second.
Only 56 points separated the two in what was the closest margin recorded.
‘Team 3’, with Travis Thompson and Steve Jellick aboard, claimed third place, just 250 points adrift of ‘Maritimo’.
'Team 3' claimed a second and a fourth off Hervey Bay to finish third overall n the 2012 championship. - OSC championships conclude
As they faced the starter for the final round, ‘The Good Guys’ was back in third place, a scant 25 points behind ‘Team 3’ with ‘Maritimo’ leading the class 194 points ahead of second-placed ‘Team 3.’
However, two victories from two starts gave ‘The Good Guys’ eventual victory and championship honours when ‘Maritimo’ could only grab a third and a second place, and ‘Team 3’ a second and a fourth.
Paul Fowlds and Jim Harris, aboard ‘Kwozzy 2’ were able to claim a convincing championship in Supercat 600 when arch-rival ‘BBC-Digital; (Graham Fraser and Scott Gehrman) was unable to overcome mechanical problem and filed to start the final round.
'Kwozzy 2'[ on its way to the 2012 Supercat 600 championship. Paul Fowlds and Jim Harris took second in race one, but a DNF was registered in race two when the rig was "hosed down" by passing wash that stopped one engine. However, the crew had staked on enough points to win the title. - OSC championships conclude
‘SUV Dodge Ram’, Conn Saloumidis and Brett Luhrmann in the cockpit, had a tough year with their new boat, and luck was certainly not a passenger at Hervey Bay when the rig broke a prop shaft during the pole position shootout.
‘Saracen’, Antony DeFina and Nigel Craven aboard, showed what may have been, when they convincingly won both races to continue their comeback with four wins from four starts.
'Saracen' on its way to a pair of victories off Hervey Bay. It was four wins from four starts for Antony De Fna and Nigel Craven after missing the seven races. - OSC championships conclude
In Supercat 400, no one was going to beat ‘Phantom’ – Mick Walker and Gary Smith had their catamaran running superbly throughout the season and for much of the year remained the only undefeated entry.
In fact, only a pod of dolphins off Redcliffe prevented an undefeated season; one of the Redcliffe races was abandoned when the dolphins strayed onto the course when ‘Phantom’ was in second place and looking to overtake ‘The Loaner’ (Daniel Fritsch and Karl Wall).
Prior commitments prevented ‘Phantom’ from starting at Hervey Bay, but with eight wins and a second from its nine starts, ‘Phantom’ accrued enough points to register a convincing Supercat 400 championship.
‘The Loaner’ confirmed second place with third going to ’88 Offshore Racing’ (Michael and Gryff Ethell).
OSC directors are already working on a 2013 calendar and have expressed confidence in looking forward to another spectacular season.
Winners are grinners - brothers Brendan (left) and Christopher Frier, OSC Supercat 1000 Australian champions. - OSC championships conclude