12th July 2012
Offshore racers bound for Mooloolaba
A successful two-race format for round three of the Australian Offshore Superboat Championships (OSC) off Townsville now has the crews working towards the Mooloolaba round on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, scheduled for 11-12 August.
With five races now completed in the three rounds (Newcastle was a single race format) only one boat remains undefeated, the Supercat 400 entry ‘Phantom’, with Mick Walker (driver) and Gary Smith (throttles) in the cockpit.
‘Phantom’ has enjoyed some spectacular racing with arch-rival ’88 Offshore Racing’, crewed by Michael and Gryff Ethell, but after a DNF at Newcastle, the ‘88’ boat has had to settle for four second placings.
There was a surprise in Supercat 1000 when class leader ‘Maritimo Mainlube’, which had raced to three consecutive and convincing victories, appeared to strike problems, managing only a third and eighth place.
Throttleman and crew chief Peter ‘Muddy’ McGrath said he tried a different set up with changes to gear ratios and propellers that simply put, 'didn’t work.'
'Darren Nicholson (driver) and I knew we had gone to wrong way in that first race, so for the second we went back to square one and returned to our original set up,': he explained.
'However, a computer malfunction warned us that not all was good and now being fully aware of the problem we decided not to risk engine damage by going too hard.'
‘Maritimo Mainlube’ remains at the top of the Supercat 1000 leader board, but is now under extreme pressure from ‘Team 3’ (Steve Jellick and Travis Thompson) which came 'out of the blue' to win both races at Townsville, relegating ‘The Good Guys’ to third.
The ‘Team 3’ performance has lifted the team to second place on the leader board, just 553 points adrift of Maritimo Mainlube’.
Brothers Brendan and Christopher Frier (‘The Good Guys’) who had previously notched four second places (and a DNF) behind ‘Maritimo Mainlube’ now sit further back in third place, 125 points behind ‘Team 3.’
Relatively flat water off Townsville made for some great racing, with OSC president Adam Gilbert delighted with the attendance and the overall performance of the racing.
The consistent ‘BBC-Digital’, with the experienced Graham Fraser (driver) and Scott Gehrman (throttles) aboard leads the Supercat 600 field having claimed a second and a win off Townsville to go with their previous podium finishes, a victory and a third.
Conn Saloumidis’ new rig, ‘SUV Dodge Ram’ with Brett Luhrmann on throttles, is still working its way to peak performance after being hit with the dreaded ‘gremlins’ on several occasions.
The 2012 season winds up with races following Mooloolaba at Redcliffe (September 15-16) and Hervey Bay September 22-23).