The China Grand Prix is set to take place in Sanya, Hainan/China from 28th-30th March with Australia’s Ross Willaton who has received an eleventh-hour call-up to step in for Peter McGrath to partner countryman Darren Nicholson at the season-opener. Willaton will take over throttleman duties and says he has ‘big shoes to fill sitting in his [McGrath’s] cockpit’.
The Australian duo will run the same Victory hull powered by Victory V12 power-plants that Nicholson and McGrath acclimatised too quickly and made good use of in the final two races of 2012, with a podium apiece in Dubai and Abu Dhabi as well as a third place in qualifying in Abu Dhabi.
Willaton, who was born in Brisbane and now lives in Willowvale, Queensland, has worked his way up through the powerboat ranks from circuit racing to Offshore, running in Class 1 and 2 in the Australian Championships, picking up seven titles along the way.
Three titles came in the smaller ranks, two in circuit in 1977 and one in Class 3, 6 litre in 1995. He stepped up into Offshore in 1989 winning the Class 2 title in 2002, then moving up to Class 1 to win the title in 2007, 2009 and 2011.
In 2011 he finished second in the Supercat class in the American Championships in Key West, Florida, going one better to win it with McGrath last year. Class One website