Offshore Superboat Championships: Race 1 Round 3 at Hervey Bay – Day 1 wrap
by Australian Offshore Powerboat Club 24 Jun 22:21 PDT
24-25 June 2023
Offshore Superboat Championships 2023 © John Curnow
It comes down to this. Amongst the many, there were two little children on the side of the road enthusiastically waving their ‘Welcome Offshore Superboats’ sign as the armada of vessels and hot rods completed their lap of Hervey Bay’s streets immediately after the racing on Saturday. Their smiles were visible for all, and they literally erupted when the horn blasts from the truck towing 222 Offshore Racing’s Supercat Extreme acknowledged their spectacular efforts. Special moment right there. Full of spirit, and not lost anyone in the general proximity of the occasion. Well-done kids.
Next, take into consideration the greater clan from Bear Necessity. Wayne and (son) Joel Ruddell race the boat, daughter Tessa Walton could not wait to turn 17 and now races with Mark Pecherzewski on Special Edition, and it’s Kate Walton’s job to keep them all organised, and somehow manage to barrack for everyone too.
Next, bring in daughter Gemma Ruddell who flies in from Perth, for every round she can, whether that’s in Victoria, NSW or Queensland. Nice effort. Like wow. Great stuff. Now making her third appearance is Wayne and Kate’s niece, one Amy Walton. She first popped up at Wyndham Harbour, backed it up with her hometown of Geelong, and then it was her turn to jump on the kerosene canary, for here she is at Hervey Bay.
That’s certainly exemplifying spirit. Asked what it is all about Amy says, “I have no idea, to be honest. Until this year I didn’t even know that Superboat racing was a thing. I’d never even heard of it. So yeah, it’s just because Tessa and Wayne do it. So I thought I’d come along to Wyndham Harbour and, and see what it was all about. It was just so cool that I’d just kept coming back.”
As to whether it is family or fun, Amy added, “It is like a big family. Everybody is just in to help each other and it makes everyone feel welcome. Doesn’t matter what size boat people are racing, everyone feels welcome.” Does this mean she’ll be at Lake Macquarie then? “Maybe.”
So clearly everyone is a winner, but in terms of on the day, Sports 65, Sports 85, Supercat Outboard, and Supercat Extreme winners were Nut Case, The Colonel, Saracen, and 222 Offshore Racing.
Hary Bakkr with Shane Paton on the Razorcraft, Nut Case were certainly smiling, and as always, having a good time.”The boat handled the conditions well. I couldn’t have asked for better. The water was a little bit funny, but the boat was really, really consistent. We just did what we had to do, and kept that pace. Got scared a bit a few times with Gigglin Racing and Slick 21 coming up behind us as well, and thought, oh, we better just try to speed up a bit, but we didn’t want to break out (exceed their class limit of 65 mph), so we just kept it at that, and got there.”
“I was airborne a few times, but it was good.” As for preparation for the last race – “I’m going to fill my stomach up. Eat like a pig, and then crash, ready to do it all again. Nothing to do on the boat, so it is happy days.”
Jason Kelly and Jesse King took The Colonel to the win in the Sports 85 class. “It was all systems go at the start with all the other competitors around, that’s for sure. We managed to catch a break and get away from them as the laps went by. We ran at 84.5mph and thought Supernova might take us early on, I can tell you!”
“We’ve spent a fair bit of time developing a few different bits and pieces to the boat over in between the rounds as well, trying to get it to settle down a bit, and stop the porpoising. It’s looks like it’s paid off. So more of the same for last race too please.”
Antony de Fina races with Matt Kelly on Saracen, and commented, “It was hard work, particularly that back straight where the water was really hard to read. It was a bit flighty down there, but the boat ran well. We made a lot of changes since the last round, and in the three or four weeks everything seems to have come together. So we’re very happy.”
“It ran a treat with good overall speed and great corner speed too. No changes for the next race. All we need to do is put some fuel in. The Sting pushed us the whole way, so it’ll be on again for the last race. They knew they had targets on their backs, and obviously the ones on the back of their race jackets worked for us.”
Now it certainly was great weather and great water on the day, but as Darren Nicholson of 222 Racing commented, “It doesn’t take much to get these things airborne. The boat was bouncing around. It was a good race for the Superbad guys. Really good. Probably the best race we’ve had for a long, long, long time. Add in mixing it up with the outboard boats, and I think everybody had a very enjoyable day.”
If you were out on the water you certainly could see people beaming through the cockpit glass. “If you go faster on the straights, then you go slower out the corners. Superbad were a little bit slippery down the straight, but just a little bit slower out the corner, and when we ducked in under them at the top, well this was proof of that theory.”
It’s hard to turn that tight. Takes a fair bit of practice and experience. All credit Ryan, he’s got a new rudder on it and the boat was way better. “There’s nothing cheap about boats. Definitely not. Actually the joke over in America is they say you have to be a millionaire to race theses things, and by the time you finish you’re a thousandaire.”
This year, Nicholson has done very well in both Europe and the USA, as well as here in Australia where he races with Peter McGrath. Looking forward to more racing, Nicholson also commented that his class is more competitive now than it has been for a long time. Clearly they are set for the challenge that awaits them.
The Hervey Bay Round of the 2023 Offshore Superboat Championship is supported by the Fraser Coast Council, Hervey Bay Boat Club who provide support boats and the host the annual meet and greet event, Pier Caravan Park and the Gilbert family, also Wide Bay Cranes, who have been with us for all 12 years that we have been coming to Hervey Bay.
On Sunday, racing commences at 1140 with the second race for the Sports 65 and Sports 85 classes is conducted, then at 1230 it is the Supercats once more, before presentation of trophies back at the pit area at 230pm.
Further information at superboat.com.au.