1997 CLUB MARINE SOUTHERN 80. – Media release after the event.
After the 1996 Southern 80, in which Gotta be Crazy took the glory and beat the previous record by five seconds, there were some high expectations for the 1997 race. Unfortunately, Gotta be Crazy wasn’t going to make the journey down from Queensland to defend their title, due to the increasing costs of running a Super Class boat.
This threw the race wide open, although 1995 winner God’s Gift was installed as the early favourite. Argo, Showdown and Mr. Walker all had their supporters, whilst Supershot, Rampage and Cyclone Racing were amongst the dark horses.
As usual, 25 boats assembled at the five mile boat ramp to contest Saturday’s Bakers’ Blitz, with the Ted Hurley Memorial Trophy plus $1000 cash up for offer to the team that records the best time over the 20km course.
The winner of the 1997 Bakers’ Blitz was Sniper, a 21 foot Racecraft powered by a twin-turbocharged big block Chev. Skiers were Tim Driver and Rob Polites, whilst John Polites was the driver. The team, allocated number 25 and starting last in the Blitz, arrived at the Victoria Park boat ramp in 7.17 to surprise everyone and collect the cash.
Showdown came in for second place in the Blitz, finishing in 7.19; only two seconds behind Sniper. Ian Tricker and Steve Cotton sat side by side in the boat, whilst Daniel Cotton teamed up with Jason Walmsly behind the boat.
Third place in the Bakers’ Blitz was taken out by Argo, another 21 foot Racecraft with twin-turbo’s. The skiers were Danny Cropper and Brandon Calder; Joe Kaal was the observer while Phil Kaal drove the boat home in a time of 7.20.
Only one second behind was the Top Shot team, who finished in 7.21. Alex Ross and David Turner were the team’s quick young skiers, whilst Anthony McLeod was behind the wheel of the twin-turbocharged Racecraft.
Fifth home in the Blitz was the Rampage team, towing Tim Campbell and Gavin Arnott. Steve Thompson piloted the twin-rig Bullet down the river in 7.23, followed closely by Supershot in 7.27. Driven by Reg Astill, the beautiful Racecraft towed the ever-reliable Joanne Hamilton and Leanne Brown into sixth place.
Only eight seconds separated the next four boats, with seventh place going to Mr. Walker in 7.32. Crazy Horse was close behind them in eighth, followed by Harv’s in ninth place and then it was The Axe in tenth place, the big black Supercharged Connelly finishing in a time of 7.39.
Their were nine retirements from the Blitz, including race favourite God’s Gift, former winners Moonshot and Thundernuts, dark horses Mirage and The Thing and Queensland contender, Cyclone Racing.
Sunday’s Super Class event was expected to be closer than ever, as only six seconds had separated the fastest five boats in yesterday’s Bakers’ Blitz. Sniper surprised nearly everyone by stealing a last minute victory in the Blitz, but many expected Showdown, Argo, Top Shot and Rampage to fight out Sunday’s race.
Sniper was first away, leaving Torrumbarry Weir at exactly 12.30. However, it wasn’t long before they were rounded up first by Showdown, and then by Argo, and the team failed to make an impact on the outright positions after Saturday’s promising results.
Showdown, having blasted past Sniper, now had first position and clean water, but trouble struck and the team retired from the 1997 Southern 80. That let the Argo team take the lead, and from then on they didn’t look back, racing to first place outright in a time of 32 minutes and 42 seconds.
Driven by Phil Kaal, with brother Joe Kaal observing, it was just reward for a team who first tackled the race in 1995. It was the first outright Southern 80 victory for the two skiers, Danny Cropper and Brandon Calder, although both had been very close before.
Second outright was Mirage, the beautiful grey and white 21 foot Connelly overcoming troubles in Saturday’s Blitz, as well as their 23rd starting position, to finish in 32.59. The skiers were Steve Rowe and Brett Lehmann, and they were being watched carefully by observer Tim Whetstone. The driver and owner was Brad Gallard, the son of former Southern 80 winner and Aquaholic driver, Trevor Gallard.
The 21 foot Connelly Mr. Walker came in for third outright, it’s three Mercury motors powering the boat down the river in 33.29. Trying to guide the beast down the river was expert outboard driver, Stan Najar, while the two skiers were Dean Hanckel and Stephen Robertson, and the observer was Dale Haw.
Fourth overall went to Crazy Horse, the big red and black 21 foot Everingham coming down the course in 33 minutes and 54 seconds. The two skiers were Jamie Graziano and former world champion, Paul Robertson.
Coming home in fifth place was The Thing, a red and white 20 foot Everingham driven by Jim Mock. The motor was a 498 c.i inch fuel injected, twin-turbocharged Chevrolet, whilst the two skiers were Daniel Campbell and Terry Hughes.
Sixth outright went to The Axe, who finished in a time of 34.36 after troubles in the Bakers Blitz. Following them home was the ever consistent Harv’s, finishing four seconds behind in 34.40. Race favourite God’s Gift struggled home for eighth place, coming home in 35 minutes and six seconds after being relegated back to the 27th starting position.
Retirements included Showdown, who started from second position, as well as Top Shot, who was entered in the Under 19’s class, and Supershot, who was entered in Open Women’s. Moonshot, Thundernuts, Precision and Noizworks were also amongst the retiree’s.
Super Class results were identical to the outright results, with Argo winning in 32.42, Mirage placing second in 32.59 and Mr. Walker in third place in 33.39. Crazy Horse was fourth in 33.54, The Thing fifth in 34.23, and God’s Gift sixth in 35.06. Cyclone Racing 2, Corruption, Rampage, Moonlight and Filthy followed, while Moonshot, Thundernuts, On Edge and Showdown all failed to finish.
In the Unlimited Inboard / Outboard class, Harv’s towing Ian Delmenico and Jason Dyball came home in 34.40 to claim first place. Sniper, towing Tim Driver and Robert Polites, was second in a time of 36.06. The Brat, towing veterans Peter Gasgard and Graeme Watts, came home in 36.37 to take out third place.
The Mover, towing Rob Vereyken and Simon Mitchell, took out the MOC Outboard class, winning in 40.38. Second went to Still No Dramas in 40.50, towing Adrian McGlynn and Jason Hartley. Contagious was a very close third, towing Brett Armstrong and John Sloan accross the line in 40.52.
In the SMOC Outboard class, Short Cut took thirty seconds off their own record from last year, with Adam Carne and Glynn Thompson winning in 40.49. Second went to Stokin Racing in 41.33, with Travis Oliver and Matt Campbell doing the skiing. B. L Marine, towing Lee Hicks and TBA, finished in 42.33 to take out third place.
Stress, with Jason Cartledge and Brian Gebing in tow, blitzed their 8 Litre Inboard rivals, winning in a time of 36.27, which was twenty seconds outside Shadrack’s record from 1991. Second place went to Back in Town in 38.48, with Shannon Gray and Scott Cleaver doing the skiing. Spontaneous took out third place in 39.19, with Rachael Howe and Wayne Duggan skiing.
With most of the 6 Litre Inboard favourites failing to finish, Bounty Hunter took a suprise victory, with Scott Poulton and Gavin Birrell crossing the line in 41.58. Insane claimed second place in 42.24, with Justin and Paul Grey doing the skiing. Third went to Simple Minds in 42.28, with Mal Campbell and Steven Young skiing.
The Real McCoy set a new record in the Stock 6 Litre class, their skiers Victor Hycenko and Jason Cartledge winning in 40.08. Hazy, towing Grant Hayes and Peter Hunter, finished second in 40.49. Jagged Edge came in for third place with a time of 42.55, towing Scott Pierce and Dean Scarce.
In the 5.2 Litre and 6 Cyclinder Inboard class, Rattler II, towing Johnny and Leslie Tomada, took the honours with a time of 42.10. Second place went to Little Agro in 44.07, towing John Baumgurtel and Sue Taylor. Smokin N Strokin came in for third place, towing John Hannaford and Chris Jennings accross the line in 47.50.
Johnson Outboards just broke the 175 Hp. Outboard record, their skiers Cherie Williams and Troy Worsley finishing in 43.48, three seconds under Touche’s record from 1989. Second place went to Aussie Digger in 45.40, towing Nick Hore and Darren Laub. Pure Spirit, towing Brad Chesser and Mal Apps, finished third in 46.01.
North Coast Boating, towing Teresa Schulin and Karen Hamilton, were surprise winners of the Open Women’s class, finishing in 44.37. Second place went to Massey Machine in 45.16, towing Shelly Obst and Kimberley Hoskins. Airborne, towing Nessie Hicks and Claire Graziano, took out third place in 47.28. Class favourite Super Shot failed to finish, after placing sixth in Saturday’s Blitz.
In the Under 19 Boys, The Axe, towing James Buser and Greg Arrow, stormed to victory in 34.36, placing them sixth outright. Ring of Fire took out second place in 36.50, towing Ben Barker and Malcolm Cash. Third place went to E Coli UTI, towing Damien Nye and Paul Young home in 51.29.
Sledgehammer, towing Emma Carson and Bernadette Patterson, set a new record in the Under 19 Girls, winning comfortably in 38.29. Second was E.coli in 45.13, towing Kristy Medwell and Taryn Langdon. Runnin Riot finished in 1.22.24 to get third place, towing Alicia Turner and Sarah Pledger.
Under 16 Boys was taken out by Smoke, finishing in 40.33 towing Scott Brown and James Minchin. Not far behing in second place was Rebel, towing Charlie Hunt and Phillip Arnott accross the line in 40.51. Jus Walkin, towing Daniel Shipp and Matt Smith, finished third in a time of 52.42.
Victory in the Under 16 Girls went to Sub Zero in 43.31, towing Danielle Galvin and Carinne Handley. Second place went to Bushranger, towing Bridie Anderson and Rebecca Nicholds home in 46.59. Third place went to The Hamma in 47.06, towing Amanda and Leanne Hills.
The Force, towing Matthew Wastle and Bryson Lloyd, set a new record in the Under 13 Boys, finsihing in 42.57. Grey Ghost, towing Jason Penny and Nathan Hoskins, was second in 51.52, while Hitman, towing Ashley Smith and Kyle Galvin, finished in 1.09.29 to take third.
The only entry in Under 13 Girls was No Dramas, towing Chelsea Nicholds and Karen Edwards. However, the two girls didn’t take it easy, finishing in 52.33, less than a minute away from the class record.
Illusion was once agian the winner of Super Social, their skiers Wayne Stackpoole and Darryn Williams finishing in 37.57. Spontaneous, towing Paul Beck and Mark Sutherland, finished in 39.12 to take out second place. MOC boat, The Mover, finished in 39.50 to take out third, towing Rod Vereyken and Simon Mitchell.
8 Litre Inboard Social was taken out by Little Loose, with Grant Turner and Michael Kelly winning in 41.58. Satans Pet, towing Josef Killian and Nathan Brieschke, took out second place in 42.59. Sonic, towing John Clancy and Jamie Jones, finished in 44.12 to take out third place.
Tom Buzza’s Insanity, towing Todd and Dave Buzza, won the 6 Litre Social class, finishing in 42.03. Missile, towing Andrew King and Jason Sim, was second in 42.34. Revolution, with David Edwards and Paul Hosie in tow, was third in 42.50.
Kazz Attack, towing Brian Gebing and Gary Arnfield, broke Sky Lab’s 1992 SMOC Social record, winning in 42.52. B.L Marine, towing Graeme Lightbody and David Perry, was second in 43.09, while third place went to Slylubrious in 44.34, towing Troy Wilkinson and Chris Butterworth.
Stock 6 Litre Social went to Sumtoy, towing Colin Marks and Mark Trembath home in 44.09. Migrane, towing Todd Newman and Brett Alymer, came in for second place in 45.58. Third place went to Jagged Edge in 45.59, towing Heath Henry and Dean Scarce.
In the 5.2 Litre and 175 Hp. Outboard class, Hammer, towing Nick Groves and Anthony O’Reilly, took the win in 45.02. No Dramas, towing Peter McDonald and Lyal Marshall, finished in 46.17 to claim second place. Third went to Warlock, towing Alister Rogerson and Kaine Millard home in 46.41, milli-seconds ahead of Cheers.
Gambler, towing Nicole Mitchell and Emma Carson, sliced nearly four minutes off their own Open Women’s record from 1995, winning in 4.09. Second place went to Short Cut in 44.25, towing Chantelle Witherden and TBA. Stokin Racing took out third place in exactly 46 minutes, towing Lisa Carne and Sharryn Hyett.
In the 6 Litre and 6 Cylinder Midmount / 140 Hp. Outboard class, MyGrain took the win, towing Darren Laub and Robert Bertram home in 48.24. Second place went to Psyclone, towing Jasone Heaney and TBA home in 51.34. The little outboard Commodore X, towing Craig Dow and Paul Mitchener, was third in 53.24.
The Force, towing Grant Wastle, was the winner of the Under 10 Tadpoles class, finishing in 10.15. Shan Boyer, skiing behind The Joker, was second in a time of 11.45. Close behind in third place was The Mover, towing Megan Fuller home in 12.00.
Agrovation, towing Peter Gasgard and Graeme Watts, set a new record in the Veterans class, winning in a time of 8.24. The Real McCoy was second, towing John Chesser and Noel Cartledge accross the line in 9.10. Third place went to Roulette in 9.24, towing John Pudney and John Baumgurtel.
In the Under 16 Social class, Cold as Ice, towing Glenn Hewitt and Andrew Morgan, were the winners in 10.02. Second place went to Lucky in 10.21, towing Guy Campbell and Matthew Long. Gropa, towing Justin Way and Bradley Else, was third in 10.38.
HPM Frontline broke their own record in the Under 13 Social class, with Michael Long and Michael Gunther finishing in 11.18, twenty-nine seconds under their record from ‘94. Volatile, towing Billy Anderson and Matthew Brooks, was second in 11.56, while Aggression came in for third place in 18.09, towing Ashley Campbell and Stacey Boyer.
Bushy Brown was again victorious in the Disabled class, winning in 9.57 behind E. coli. Second place went to Duncan Waddell in 15.54, skiing behind Rip Off. Strongbrew, towing Ewen Whelan, came in for third place in 19.59, while Puff towing Debbie Stevenson was fourth in 22.02.