Indeed it did at Geelong. So after the abandonment of racing on the Saturday, it seemed like all the spectators who missed out went home and got reinforcements for the Sunday, so as to literally force the weather gods to let the Geelong Round of the Offshore Superboat Championship get under way. It worked, for many seasoned racers commented on the record number of people who had taken up the many prime vantage points from Steampacket Gardens, all the way to the hill at Eastern Beach.
Ryan Coleman and Steve Jellick continue to make Superbad get faster and faster. In the first race of the day they seemed to find a way to remove the stops on the throttles on the Supercat Extreme, and came down the back straight literally attempting to catch the light right in front of them.
Yet the first time in Superboat history that would await them on return to the quay was when Ryan married Ciarne on board Superbad. Mr and Mrs Coleman and their many friends could not have been happier. Fellow competitors helped in the celebrations, and the gathering of boats around them all added to the spectacle.
Coleman said, “It was all Ciarne’s idea, believe it or not. It was something we threw together not too long ago. I proposed last year, but we were pretty busy finishing off our house that we built together. We weren’t going to do anything big, and then this was like a bit of an idea. It was something just a bit different. A bit of fun, and the boat ties in.”
Jason Kelly and Jesse King had another wonderful day with The Colonel in the Sport 85 Class. Normally, Kelly is on the throttles, but when Andy Taylor could not participate with AMT Racing on Supercat Outboard, it was Kelly who stepped up to race in all four races of the day. This highlights not only the camaraderie of the sport, but also the Kelly family’s commitment to it.
“We all want all of the boats on the water at all times. The more the merrier! There were no dramas. Just a little bit of water in between races, as I ran from boat to boat. I was a bit hungry by the end, however. The conditions were pretty calm, so you were not taking too much of a beating out there, and that helped”, said Kelly.
On swapping from throttles to steering, Kelly showed the focus they are renowned for. “Once you switch on, you switch on, and push through. I didn’t even think twice about it. It was good to be out there racing alongside Dad, which was a bonus.”
“It was unfortunate with the no racing yesterday, but the officials put a lot of work into getting four races away today, which was really good for the spectators.” Jesse King pilots The Colonel and said, “We almost missed our start for the second race, but Jason got on board just in time. Bring on Hervey Bay!”
The Sport 65 had their biggest fleet to date for the Round at Geelong, which is just tremendous. Going as close as you can to 65mph, but not over might sound easy, but it is really challenging given the constantly varying conditions. Mark and Liam Sutherland of Team Gigglin have given the proverbial Master class in this at both Wyndham Harbour, and now Geelong. Furthermore, they have also displayed the all hands on deck attitude to contributions ashore that get the event away in the first place, and then packed up at the end of it too. Hauling all the anchors from the marker buoys back to the race truck is just one example.
Andrew Pike and Shannon Porter from Slick 21 have been almost identical, doing so many administrative tasks, like distributing all the handheld radios. They only thing they will want to do better is climb over Gigglin and claim top spot in the class. So we wait patiently to see what occurs out on the water next. Like the entire fleet, this Class was particularly glad to see both Mark Swain and Laura Wilson from Risky come out unharmed after an on water accident. No doubt they will be well supported by the Offshore Superboat Championship family.
222 Racing have been the class act of the first two rounds. A well-prepared outfit, which is then piloted so well out on the water, has seen them make every single post a winner in each race to date. The inimitable Peter McGrath said afterwards, but very much looking forward, “Hervey Bay can be a side chop and quite lumpy. You have to have your wits about you, but yes it would be good to continue to do well.”
“The boat’s going extremely well. We’ve done a few little things to it, and it’s making us a lot happier now. It will be good to have all the others (in this class) back racing once more. There are some really, really good boats just sitting there at the moment, and some great competitors, too.”
“After COVID it’s engine parts that are really, really difficult to get, so I can understand their pain. I love Geelong. Always have, and so I was very happy to come down here this time. The crowd’s really close, and that’s what it’s all about.”
It has to be said that Karl Wall and Mike Ratcliffe from The Sting seemed to have their name on just about every trophy when it came to presentation time. This was deserved, for they have had quite the stellar start to the season in the bright yellow Supercat Outboard that seems to corner like it is on rails, and is powered by a pair of amazing, 20-year-old, two-stroke 300hp gems that simply don’t know how to say die.
Wall was very happy to be taking the prized Robert Weir Trophy back to Queensland for 12 months and thought some pictures of it on the back with a cocktail would help his Victorian comrades get over the shock. “We’ll keep it safe for 12 months”, said Wall.
Now the original plan was to go out and do just 40mph, which would have been enough to grab the points. However, their eyes narrowed once out on the water. “Our horns grew, and the plan went out the window. As soon as we see the back of their outboards, we’ve just got to get past them. It’s the rules. We’ve got to do it.”
“We were really lucky, especially in the first race. We were having trim issues and then it came back to us. We worked our way up from fourth to first, which was hard, but fun. The others weren’t backing off, it’s just that they have to skate around the corners with their wider tunnels, whereas we can turn on a dime, picking up, two or three seconds every corner. Yes. It was good for the spectators too, seeing us work our way back through the field. It makes it very, very interesting.”
Mayor Trent Sullivan had a run in the Saracen Supercat Outboard on Friday ahead of racing, and was totally thrilled to be given the opportunity to drive. “I am delighted to welcome some of the country’s best Superboat operators here to Geelong for this event,” Mayor Sullivan said.
“Council has provided support in the past three years to the Australian Offshore Powerboat Club via its Community Event grants program, and this promises to be a brilliant weekend for water sport enthusiasts.”
Commodore of the Australian Offshore Powerboat Club said, Antony de Fina said, “Despite the testing weather of the Saturday, you only have to look at the turnout for Sunday to see why the spectators and racers love our round at Geelong so much. By far it is one of, or perhaps the biggest crowd, we have ever had here. The amount of people on the wave attenuator and up on the hill was spectacular, and yes, we can see that from inside our Supercats.”
“We receive such fantastic support from the people of Geelong that come out and watch us, and the City of Geelong, as well, who really get behind this event. It simply wouldn’t happen without their gracious involvement.”
The Offshore Superboat Championship is very appreciative of the support provided by the City of Geelong, Brandon Hospitality Solutions for the Championship trophies, ODLS Overdimensional Lift and Shift who provided the dedicated crane services, and Razorcraft boats for their support of our Victorian rounds.
Race Director, Russell Embleton, highlighted the importance of key elements that go into making the racing happen. “There are a bunch of volunteers that have no ongoing or day-to-day interest as such in offshore powerboat racing, but they’re just good, decent boaties, and when they’re asked to pitch in, they do through friendships and associations with the people that do race. Every single one of our exclusion zone boats, and rescue craft are Mums, Dads and mates that have pitched in to male the weekend what it was, and done an awesome job.”
“Craig and Steve on the start boat are terrific, as too the divers, and medical officers, all of who think it through, and we are privileged to have them.”
So yes. Many thanks to all of the volunteers, live coverage team, officials and first responders for all that they do to make the event happen and come to life. Special thanks to Patrick Paczkowski and Brendan Mitchell for placing our media team exactly where required in the brilliant, brand new red Cootacraft.
Results, video, and information at superboat.com.au