The Australian Offshore Superboat Championships (OSC) resume this weekend with the racers converging on Mooloolaba, north of Brisbane on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.
It has been several years since offshore racing has been held at the venue and according to OSC president Adam Gilbert competing crews are 'excited at the prospect of returning to the site.'
Three powerboat classes will do battle, Supercat 1000, Supercat 600 and Supercat 400 and battle is the right word as crews fight for the ruin home and the chance to claim a National crown.
After contesting races off Newcastle, Mackay and Townsville, only one crew remains undefeated, that of Supercat 400 duo Mick Walker and Gary Smith aboard ‘Phantom’.
Nonetheless, with three rounds (including Mooloolaba) remaining for the 2012 championship, the titles are still ‘up for grabs’.
In Supercat 1000, ‘Maritimo’ and ‘Team 3’ are engaged in a neck and neck tussle, with only 269 points separating the two combatants.
‘Maritimo’ crew Darren Nicholson and Peter McGrath and ‘Team 3’ duo Steve Jellick and Travis Thompson are well aware they have a fight on their hands and have to do it with ‘The Good Guys’ (Brendan and Christopher Frier) hard on their transoms.
‘Global Racing’ (Mike Beil and Chris Hanley) has been reliable, finishing every race, but seems off the pace and would need everything to fall into place to gain on the leaders.
The remaining Supercat 1000 entries, ‘Mazlin Electrical’ and ‘Australian Vehicle Wholesalers’ can probably do little more than start planning for the 2013 season.
Supercat 600 looms as likely to go down to the proverbial wire.
Graham Fraser and Scott Gehrman in the reliable ‘B.B.C.Digital’ hold a narrow (175 point) lead over ‘Kwozzy 2’, with Paul Fowlds on throttles and either Jim Harris or Karl Wall at the wheel.
Mechanical problems at the last start forced a DNF on ‘Kwozzy 2’ and after a win, two seconds and a third, Fowlds remains confident of hunting for the lead.
‘Blade’, with Cameron Davis and Peter Lewis in the cockpit, is adrift of the leaders at this stage, but with two victories a second and a third remains on contention and will not ‘go away.’
Conn Saloumidis and Brett Luhrmann are still fine tuning their new boat, ‘SUV Dodge Ram’ and with three DNF results are probably looking to next season.
As stated earlier, it’s all ahead full in Supercat 400 where the only boat unbeaten, ‘Phantom’, will be under extreme pressure from second-placed ’88 Offshore Racing’ (Michael and Gryff Ethell).
’88 Offshore Racing’ has proven its reliability with four successive seconds and only for the unfortunate DNF at Newcastle would be even closer to the lad.
The Mooloolaba event will be staged in the two-race format with Pole Position Shootout scheduled for Saturday (August 11) afternoon with racing on the Sunday at 11am and 1pm.
Organisers believe the Mooloolaba racing offers excellent spectator viewing; fans can get a close up look at the boats from 1pm at the pit area at the public boat ramp, Parkyn Parade, The Spit, Mooloolaba.
by Bob Wonders
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10:49 AM Thu 9 Aug 2012GMT
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