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April 4 , 2008

SPRINT AUTO PARTS DORWIN GOLD CUP

By Glen Laundy. Photo's courtesy Dale Attwood.

The Real Thing had the 'big motor' on board with Tony Walsh and certainly looked light on the water

South Australia's premier boat racing event was once again a most entertaining spectacle. Competitors from various parts of Australia rolled in to Adelaide toward the end of the week prior to to the spectacular which also involved the runnig of the Jeff Thompson memorial trophy on Saturday.

Among the interstate teams were Brett Shepherd and his 18ft 6 Childsplay 'Unleashed' (VIC) accompanied by engine builder Brett Nidree (BNR Engines), together with Bruce Sanders (NSW), also with an 18ft 6 Childsplay called 'Red Bellies'. This boat would certainly take the prize for highest terminal speed if there was such an award, however both driver and boat are relatively new to the blown alcohol scene and failed to put in consistent laps. We look forward to seeing 'Red Bellies' back at the Dorwin next April.

On the podium

'Unleashed' was another story, quite easily taking care of competition having only 'The Real Thing' nipping at his heels, driven by past winner Tony Walsh who came out of a 7 year retirement period since his terrible accident at the Berri Spectacular in 2000. Tony looked as though he'd never left the sport, as do many of the senior competitors with so much experience. Other front runners included 'The Boss' driven by Tim May, plus Formula 1 faithfuls Richard Cox and Craig Bailey.

The support classes certainly turned it on for the crowds with some very close racing throughout the day. The fastest out of the bunch was local 6 litre boat 'In Excess' driven by Jeff Stunell. Mal McCol (NSW) in 'The Chase' collided with Dean Borg in 'Proformance' putting both teams out for the day. Fortunately there were no injuries.

Early retirements seemed to be the theme for the day, resulting in races of atrition and a survival of the fittest. Even world circuit racing hero Craig Bailey managed to cook a couple of motors. The final race saw not only 'Unleashed' suffer terminal engine damage, but also 'The Boss' had yet another minor failure resulting in May being stranded on the course. The red flag came out due to this and hence Tim was dissallowed to compete in the restart, most unfortunate for the team.

The restart saw the field reduced to 4, Tony Walsh in 'The Real Thing' now a certain favourite. Past back to back winner Neil Laundy in 'Insanity' was set to again closely compete for third place with Jeff Stunell in 'In Excess'. Atrition played a further role with the retirement of 'The Real Thing' on just the second lap, allowing the rest of the field to move up another position. Richard Cox representing the outboard class moved in to first place, a common sight at the Dorwin. The only remaining B.A.D boat 'Insanity' moved up to second, the first time in the final since Neil last drove the boat at the Dorwin 7 years ago. Some close racing at the back of the field saw Stunell cop several sprays of thick water while attempting to out-corner Laundy on the outside, and 'In Excess' was down on power for the remainder of the race, limping home for the bronze cup.

Congratulations Drivers
Certainly a champagne moment

Congratulations to Richard, Neil and Jeff, most deserved podium finishers on the day. We all look forward to an even bigger field of boats at next years event.

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