Superboats rev up for national titles
MOTOR racing fans were treated to a mix of horse power and high speed action on the Tweed Coast when the finals of the Continental Tyres Australian Superboat Championships were run and won at the Round Mountain Raceway yesterday.
The two-day race meeting , which saw crews go through qualifying rounds on Saturday and again yesterday for the elimination rounds, attracted Australia's best in three classes - 350hp, Group A (400hp) and the Superboats.
The demanding Round Mountain circuit, long regarded as one of the most demanding on drivers and navigators in the country, proved a worthy venue to hold the final round of the five-race series with both the 350 and 400 classes being determined yesterday.
Even though the Australian championship in the Superboats have been decided prior to this race meeting, the event proved an ideal opportunity for some crews to fine tune their boats prior to the World Championships later this year at Temora in NSW.
More than 40 crews tackled the Tweed Coast circuit and with fine weather, a good crowd was on hand yesterday to see crews vie for berths in the top 10 and then the top three.
Despite the challenging course, most of the drivers managed to stay upright, producing quick times.
In the 350 class, the Australian championship was a father-and-son battle between Noosa's Mark Garlick and his son Jake, both driving their boat, Grumpy.
With only seven points separating the two, it came down to the best run in the top three with the younger Garlick, Jake, upstaging his 'old man' to win both the day and the Australian title.
Jake's time of 46.49 was too good for father mark in 47.02 with Nathan Dickenson third in 47.53 in Witch Bank.
The Group A 400 class saw Wagga Wagga's Slade Stanley blast the field away to claim both the day and the national title in a time of 40.82 in Hazardous, ahead of Greg Mercer in 42.42 in Az-U-Do with Brooke Dixon in True Blue II third in a time of 42.57. The Superboats, the crowd favourites because of the enormous power they produce, gave a fine exhibition of performance with Curlwaa's Dean Finch in his new boat, Loose Cannon, claiming the honours on the day with a blistering time of 39.79 ahead of Tony Giustozzi in Excalibur in 40.19.
The Australian championship went to Daryl Hutton from Victoria, who drove Hooters.
The jet boat action from yesterday's race meeting will be televised on SBS during their Speedweek program next Sunday from 2pm and again on Fox/Austar's Inside Speed program next Wednesday.