by Bob Wonders
Round two of the Australian Offshore Superboat Championships (OSC) on June 23/24weekend saw 35 knot winds and turbulent seas greet the offshore racers on Sunday, many spending time ‘in the air’ as they came off rolling swells.
BBC-Digital flies high off Mackay; crew Graham Fraser and Scott Gehrman came away with a win and a third placing for their efforts. - OSC championships
The conditions certainly gave the attendance, estimated in the 20 to 30,000 bracket, a race to remember.
For the crews of ‘Maritimo Mainlube’ and ‘Phantom’ Mackay will definitely remain memorable, as both boats, competing in the Supercat 1000 and Supercat 400 respectively, can still claim undefeated status with three wins from three starts.
Darren Nicholson (driver) and Peter ‘Muddy’ McGrath (throttles) skilfully piloted ‘Maritimo Mainlube’ to victory in both races in the two-race format staged off Mackay.
'Maritimo Mainlube' and 'The Good Guys; were set for a 'battle royal' in Supercat 1000, but a DNF in race two cost 'The Good Guys' dearly, leaving its rival to claim two wins and a convincing advantage on the leader board. - OSC championships
They easily completed the required eight laps of the turbulent course and now command a convincing lead in the battle for championship honours with 2025 points.
‘The Good Guys’, arguably their closest rival, which finished just three seconds adrift of the winner, sadly sustained a broken power steering bracket in race two forcing a withdrawal for the local crew, brothers Christopher and Brendan Frier.
Mick Walker and Gary Smith aboard ‘Phantom’ had no such problems and cruised to victory in both races leaving ’88 Offshore Racing’ in its wake.
There was some close and spectacular racing for the minor positions in Supercat 1000, with ‘Team 3’ (Steve Jellick and Travis Thompson) taking third behind ‘The Good Guys’ in race one and second behind ‘Maritimo Mainlube’ in race two.
‘Global Racing’ (Mike Beil and Chris Hanley) claimed a third and a fourth.
In Supercat 600, ‘Blade’ (Cameron Davis and Peter Lewis) led the field home to record a fairly convincing victory in the opening race, but could not back it up only managing third place in race two.
Paul Fowlds and Karl Wall, aboard ‘Kwozzy’’ are gradually getting their new rig up to pace and came away with a pair of second placings.
BBC-Digital (Graham Fraser and Scott Gehrman) was a clear-cut victor in the first race, but had to settle for third in the second.
Conn Saloumidis and Brett Luhrmann apparently still have some fine tuning for their new boat ‘SUV Dodge Ram’, coming home in last place in race one and being forced out when their gear selector mechanism for the dual 300hp Evinrude outboards failed.
'SUV Dodage Ram' is a new boat and Conn Saloumidis and Brett Luhrmann still have some work to do after a disappointing visit to Mackay. - OSC championships
‘Phantom’ it would seem has ‘the wood’ on ‘88 Offshore Racing’ (Michael and Gryff Ethell), with victory in both races going to ‘The Ghost who Walks’.
It proved to a superb component to what was the Mackay Marine Festival, which organisers said injected a healthy influx of dollars into the local community.
With so many supporting events taking place, including a National Rugby League match (Melbourne Storm versus Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs) at a sold out Mackay stadium, it showed what a drawcard offshore racing can be.
Teams now are set to move north to Townsville, hailed as ‘the capital’ of North Queensland for the next round of the OSC championships.
Mick Walker and Gary Smith have 'Phantom' truly humming and have shot to th top of the leader board for the Supercat 400 class after three wins from three starts. - OSC championships