by Bob Wonders
The 2012 UIM Unlimited World Powerboat championships is set for May, next year, and for the first time ever Sydney ‘gets a guernsey.’
Ryan Hall drove ’’Solace’’ to a 6.0-litre victory at Gol Gol.
Two venues have been selected, Mildura, on the mighty Murray River and Sydney’s International Regatta Centre at Penrith.
Fastwater Promotions, which organised the highly-successful championships last year, has been in discussions with regatta officials for several months.
Official approval was only given last week.
Fastwater Promotions’s Tony Walsh, formerly an official with the Australian Power Boat Association, described the Penrith venue as ‘the most sought after powerboat race venue in Australia.’
'To say we are delighted would be an understatement,' he declared.
The two-race series to decide the UIM Unlimited Powerboat world champion is set for May 12-13 hosted by the Mildura Ski Club and May 19-20 at the Sydney International Regatta Centre.
Mr Walsh said the regatta centre won international acclaim when it played host to more than 800 athletes from 56 nations during the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games rowing, canoeing and kayaking events.
Although this will be the first time the centre has hosted the thundering Unlimited class, Formula 1 and Formula 2 events have been held there quite regularly.
F1 ace Craig Bailey is one fond of the course.
'I like racing there,' he said, 'it’s a good course and offers excellent spectator viewing.'
In addition to the Unlimited boats racing for the world crown, 6.0litre classes and Juniors will also be staged.
In addition to the UIM championships, 6.0-litre boats will also have the chance to show their wares.
Reigning UIM Unlimited World Champion, Gold Coast’s Troy Marland is expected to defend his crown with his state-of-the-art enclosed cell boat ‘Haier Madness.’
Marland has proven close to unbeatable in recent meetings, and in addition to the 2010 World Championship has also been crowned ‘King of the River’ at last year’s Bundy Thunder.
It was Tony Walsh who last year described Marland’s boat as ‘state-of-the-art.’
The 21’ (6.4-metre) Evercraft, built from a fibreglass/composite mix, is powered by a massive 500 cubic inch big block Chevrolet engine.
It delivers in excess of 2000 horsepower and gives ‘Haier Madness’ a top speed of about 160mph (258km/hr) at 7600rpm.
'Haier Madness' on its way to winning a world crown for Troy Marland. - UIM World champs
Mr Walsh expects many of the competitors who contested last year’s championships to back up again.
There will certainly be entries from the United States and New Zealand to give the series true international flavour.
'Interest has been very strong and at this early stage it’s impossible to say how many will turn out for the event, but it will be highly competitive, I know we can count on that,' he added.
Last year’s event was tipped to develop into a ‘shoot out’ between Australia, the US and NZ, but Aussie boats dominated, with the Kiwis sustaining severe mechanical problems and the top US entry, ‘K-69’, driven by Tony Scarlarta, flipping in the final.
American Tony Scarlarta remembers last year’s championships for the wrong reasons; his boat, ’K-69’, flipped and he ended up in hosptial. Fortunately he made a full recovery from relatively minor injuries.
Scarlarta was rushed to hospital, but his injuries were relatively light and he made a full recovery.
Tim May, who drove ‘The Boss’ into second place and Dean Borg, who piloted ‘Proformance’ into third place, are others likely to be hunting Troy Marland’s ‘scalp.’
Tim May drove ’The Boss’ into second place at last year’s championships and will be back for another attempt.
Troy Marland, reigning UIM Unlimited World champion, waves the chequered flag in triumph after winning the coveted crown at Gol Gol, near Mildura, last year.
For further information contact Fastwater Promotions, telephone 0418 673 458.