Monday 27th April 2009 By Glen Laundy Photo's by MediaSPEC.
In a weekend marred by the wettest and coldest weather in South Australia so far this year, the Adelaide Speedboat Club and respective competitors have put on a show to remember for over a thousand dedicated fans.
The pits on Saturday, completely underwater
Absolute water frontage!
Pics by Ryan Stunell
After the Friday practice session chilled us to the bone and kept all but 1 boat on their trailers, and after the complete cancellation of the Cleveland Freight Lines Jeff Thompson Memorial, the 59th running of the Sprint Auto Parts Dorwin Gold Cup certainly lived up to expectations.
Brave racing in rough conditions by the Formula Future lads was complemented by equally brave competitors in the SuperSport category, giving the main competition the support it needed.
Spectacular 5.2 litre racing kept the crowd on their toes with Victorian Ian Hamilton in Prime Mover showing you don't need a blown alcohol engine to leap right out of the water. The black Everingham took the honors in all of its races against local teams Proformance and JAC Racing, together with the ever reliable Rasputin hydroplane.
The ever growing 6 litre carby category didn't get to complete all the races they would have liked to thanks to officials putting the preservation of marine wildlife at the top of the priority list. Race 1 was only moments from starting before a rather large school of dolphins entered the course, resulting in an immediate red flag and the cancellation of the race.
Actions speak louder than words- WA's All-Torq
Like father, like son
Once the 6 litre carby boys finally got their turn it was once again Terry Smith in Alcatraz showing what it takes to be the Australian Title Holder, taking care of some fierce competition in Western Australia's All-Torque. Bite Me and Balls 'n' All raced closely for 3rd place as always, Tom Barnhard looking neat and tidy in his Malcolm Everingham cell boat.
Matt Smith rounded out the field in his first solo campaign in 'Bout Time. Despite being at the rear of the field he can hold his head high considering he was running a stock engine taken out of a HQ Holden. I'm sure Matt will one day be racing much closer to his father at the head of the field. Terry was often seen looking to his left as they passed each other heading in opposite directions on the course.
Despite intermittent showers falling on the Port River the race program moved on. Crowds witnessed the finest 6 litre battle seen at Adelaide in years with Trojan Cup winner In Excess trading places with True Blue several times, eventually taking out the win by a nose. Both drivers were throwing their Everingham boats into the corners with aggression just meters apart and it was obvious Stunell and Harvey trust each others ability to hold their racing line.
"Dangerous Des" in the light green machine Leeder Racing (Number 66) was yet another 6 litre injected boat showing fantastic speed around the course and was closely followed by Image and local team Bondage. So strong was the Leeder machine that it very nearly qualified for a Dorwin Gold Cup finals berth.
The unlimited racing was purely sensational. The warm up racing saw a close battle at the back of the field between friends Kym Hankins (No Remorse) and Neil Laundy (Insanity) with Kym determined to finish in front of Neil for the first time. Another Evercraft in Agent Orange placed third and looked to be down on its usual pace. Tony Walsh was pushing as hard as ever in the green Racecraft and despite leading Craig Bailey for nearly 2 laps the formula 1 outfit took first place.
Tony Walsh leads the pack in Race 1. All boats pictured are from South Australia and illustrates the strength the sport has over here.
A three boat field in race 2 saw the battle of the titans begin. Brett Sheppard in Unleashed seemed the likely favorite although country boy Tim May had The Boss flying on the outside and kept the pressure on. Sheppard held on for the win whilst fellow Victorian Wayne Hodgson in Rythum retired early.
The tone was set for some spectacular qualifying races, and once again it was hometown hero Tim May stepping up to the occasion in heat 1. Despite Unleashed having the inside run in lane 1, The Boss was steered admirably and managed to outrun the white Childsplay on the final straight.
Trevor Stanley appeared to be having some difficulties with his replacement prop and nearly spun on the second turn, allowing Insanity to briefly move into third place.
After racing side by side for a lap Trevor was able to pull away from Laundy who very respectfully allowed plenty of room for the orange Evercraft in the turns. 6 litre entries True Blue and Craig Lewis' Image all the way from Queensland rounded out the field in some very rough conditions.
Heat 2 was another nail biter at the head of the field between racing greats Walsh and Bailey. In a repeat of the earlier race Don Morton Marine came in first not easily but comfortably, and after Walsh pushed as hard as he could The Real Thing's power plant unfortunately lunched itself just as it crossed the finish line.
Newcomer Wayne Hodgson in Rythum completed a respectful race time ahead of Des Leeder in Leeder racing while In Excess was an early retirement putting Stunell out of contention for another finals berth. Kym Hankins said after the race he was so fatigued he struggled to hold on to his 1500hp Evercraft while getting across the line in 5th.
The final of the Sprint Auto Parts Dorwin Gold Cup saw the inclusion of the black 21ft Childsplay (Rythum) due to the carnage on board The Real Thing. Conditions were the best they'd been all weekend, and the sun glare was minimal thanks to the cloud cover.
The start saw more side by side action between The Boss and Unleashed, however another heartbreaking moment for the South Australian farmer saw the The Boss' small block Chev stall at the Tekspec bridge end turn after being hosed down, causing a red flag. Obviously Tim May would be excluded from the restart, the second time in as many years at The Dorwin.
By the time the finalists re fueled the sun had moved between the horizon and the cloud cover resulting in possibly the worst sun glare seen in a Dorwin Gold Cup final.
Photo by Terry Smith.
A brave effort by Brett Sheppard had Unleashed in front for lap 1 but from there on it was all Craig Bailey on his way to his eighth Dorwin Gold Cup- more than any other competitor in the events history. Despite a strong performance Brett had to settle for second place.
Bailey on his way to victory. Photo by MediaSPEC.
A well deserved podium finish for Agent Orange saw the Stanley boys take home third, while veteran Neil Laundy crossed the line fourth in what could be the last appearance in a Dorwin for Insanity. Rythum was steered admirably in a clean drive for fifth, closely behind the near 30 year old Everingham.
Another Champagne moment- pictured above from left to right: Craig Bailey, Trevor Stanley, Brett Sheppard. Photography by MediaSPEC
So there you have it, outboards reign supreme for yet another year. Congratulations to Craig Bailey and his team who have continually raised the bar at this level of competition.
A special mention must be made to event organisers and competitors who despite some very testing conditions were able to put a great show on for the crowd who enjoyed some fantastic racing throughout the day.
The commitment of interstate competitors to tow their boats thousands of kilometers despite knowing the weather would have an impact on their weekend is truly admirable and a credit to themselves.
The corporate facility was yet again commendable to say the least. Race fans, drivers, special guests and sponsors alike mingled and enjoyed the best seat in the house complimented by some excellent hospitality.