Sail-World.com : ‘Blazen’ was too aptly named
‘Blazen’ was too aptly named
Veteran ski racer Noel Griffin remains in a Melbourne hospital and is waiting skin grafts after is boat, ‘Blazen’ was engulfed in flames during the Southern 80 water ski race last weekend.
The 21’ Force with Noel driving, Bernie Simpson observing and skiers Chris Stout and Grant Turner ‘out the back’ had the previous day won the Baker’s Blitz and was a strong favourite to take out the main event on the Sunday.
‘Blazen’ was about 12 second ahead of ‘Hellrazor’ when, only about six minutes into the race, flames were seen to engulf the boat; observer Bernie Simpson was seen to leap over the side, but Noel was temporarily trapped by his steering wheel and took considerable longer to free himself and leave the burning boat.
He received severe burns to his arms and back, while Bernie escaped with less serious burns, mainly to one arm and hand.
'He was just a bit scalded,' team member Dennis Kelly told me.
Sadly, ‘Blazen’ is no more.
The boat and its big block, 1500hp, 540 cubic inch engine were virtually totally destroyed.
'It sure doesn’t look too pretty,' Dennis declared.
'The 6 leg and lower drive unit is about all we’ll be able to salvage.'
‘Hellrazor’, Mark Cranny (driver) and Damien Matthews (observer) aboard towed Jason Walmsley and Peter Proctor to their second successive Super Class victory in a time of 30 minutes 58 seconds, just outside their 30.32 race record set last year.
Grant Patterson and James Buser, behind ‘Top Gun’ came home second, just ahead of Michael Gunther and Christopher Taylor up behind ‘Blowncash’.
Fortunately for Chris Stout and Grant Turner, Noel Griffin (who will make a full recovery from his injuries) owns another boat.
We can only hope its name will not again come to the fore.
It is called ‘Burnin’ and with Gary Holzwart driving it will tow Chris and Grant in the Mildura 110 over the Easter weekend.
As is often the case, Super Class proved tough for man and machine with three of the 11 original entrants failing to finish and another three no making it to the start line.
The Southern 80 of course featured a multitude of classes, including various engine sizes and horsepower through the gender and age groups.
A full list of results can be found at the website, www.southern80.com.au
by Bob Wonders
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7:44 AM Wed 20 Apr 2011 GMT
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