As I’ve wandered along the highway of life, I have survived two helicopter ‘crash landings’ one civilian, one military.
Fortunately, no one was seriously injured (especially me!) in either ‘bingle’, but after the second mishap I decided that’s it, I shall never give them (helicopters) a third chance at me.
So, what am I doing next Sunday morning?
Would you believe I’ll be spending an hour or so aboard a helicopter?
How I got talked into this, I’m not sure, but Rob Kothe from TetraMedia , AKA ‘The Boss’, must shoulder some of the blame, together with Maritimo Offshore Race Team manager Ann-Marie Cook.
The occasion, of course, if you have not already guessed, is the opening round of the 08/09 Australian Offshore Powerboat Racing season and I can take some comfort from the fact that I will probably get a better view of the action than anyone else.
I can only hope the pilot has little interest in the sight of powerboats screaming across Moreton Bay and keeps his eyes firmly ahead at all times.
The big race on Sunday (September 21) is called the Redcliffe 100 for the simple reasons that it has the full support of the City of Redcliffe and most of the competing boats will race over distances in the region of 100 and exceeding kilometres.
All five classes will be at the start line; Class I, Supercat Outboard, Supercat Outboard Lite, Super Vee and Production.
Adding to the race appeal is the fact that the reigning Australian champions in each class have committed and are ready to defend their crowns.
It’s probably fair to say the current champs will start favourite in their respective classes, but there’ll be no shortage of competitors prepared to spoil that favouritism if given a whiff of a chance.
Class I, the ‘big fellas’, should prove interesting to say the least.
The Maritimo team will start two boats, ‘Maritimo’, with dual 900hp Lamborghini engines, and ‘Simrad’ boasting similar horsepower courtesy of MerCruiser.
Tom Barry-Cotter (driver) and Pal Virik Nielsen (throttles) will crew ‘Maritimo’ with Luke Durman (driver) and Peter ‘Muddy’ McGrath aboard ‘Simrad’.
Acme Racing, with Steve and Andrew Searle, will provide tough competition as will the Melbourne entry ‘Impact ‘Steel’, with veteran Colin Craven at the wheel for the first time and experienced Steve Jellick on throttles.
Look for some ‘fireworks’ in Supercat Outboard Lite, with ‘Elders’, ex-‘Hog’s Breath’, now crewed by Mick Walker and Gary Smith, making every effort to ‘dethrone’ reigning titleholder ‘Ezy Does it’, with Graham Fraser and Ian Harris on board.
The four are great mates and take delight in racing (and winning!) against each other.
Spectators can obtain a first hand inspection of the awesome boats during scrutineering, scheduled for 11am through to 1pm at the Moreton Bay Boat Club on the Saturday prior to the race.
The competitors will be testing their boats over the Moreton Bay race course between 3.30 and 4.30.
Crews will launch their craft on the Sunday morning with all craft in the water by 11.30, followed by a ‘sighting lap’ over the actual race course.
The flag will drop to send the fleet on its way at 12.25pm.
For those who have ever thrilled to the sound of massive horsepower straining at the bit, Redcliffe next weekend is the only place to be.