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Wade on Worlds Round 1

Wade Bennett provides this full report of round one racing at Moreton Bay.

The Opening Ceremony and Welcoming to all competitors, sponsors and spectators, changed from its original route to the Settlement Cove Park Theatre, due to a heavy storm and was held in the VIP tents instead. All attending, were treated to speeches, music, athlete, judge & team introductions.

Jack Houston, the current and defending Junior World Champion, took the athletes oath on behalf of all competitors. Fran Hynes, who is the Chief Judge, took the Judges oath.

The event ended with IWWF Chairman Dusty Schulz announcing, ‘..I now declare the 17th World Waterski Racing Championships, open!’, to rapturous cheers and applause.

All teams would have been checking out the conditions on the water, with all of the wind that accompanied the storm. The next couple of days are due to be a bit chilly in the morning, clearing to sunny skies. Saturday is going to be the windy day of the two, and will prove to be a great way for leading athletes to stamp their determination and authority on their respective classes.

Blow out day one….

Day 1 re-run

The racing on the re-run was action packed after a long wait for Dolphins to be removed from their morning feed. The 8am start was to finally go ahead at around 11;30am.

First to hit the water was the Open & F2 Women. Getting off to a flying start, the Open Division Ladies were running neck and neck along the course. Rounding the top turn buoy and heading back for home, things got pretty messy whilst passing the Finish Buoy & Boat. The outer grid crews took the turn buoy to be that finish buoy and while pulling some big numbers speed wise leading up to it, all were now faced with this unexpected 90 degree turn. For some, that knew where to go, it took some quick reflexes and decision making to avert a potentially massive pile up of boats.

It looked incredibly close on the bank, so we can only imagine what the crews experienced. As the spray and boats, going in all directions settled, some had missed the turn buoy on the course and failed to return to pass it properly. Katelin Wendt, from the USA, behind Wendt Racing, took advantage of the situation unfolding behind her and went flying around the home turn buoy with a massive advantage, speed, distance and pole wise and moved into the front position. Chasing her closely was Erin Saunders, also from the USA, behind Prime Time and Lauryn Eagle, Australia’s number one ranked lady, behind Superman.

The battle to regain placings went on race long and the large crowd was treated to some awesome performances. In the Formula 2 Womens, Leanne Campbell went straight to the lead and played the ‘catch me if you can’ card. Leanne is looking fitter and more focussed than ever, on securing both the maximum points possible and World Title and really put in a fantastic performance.
She didn’t have it all her own way, with the super skilled Belgium skier Lena Feringa, behind Revolution Racing, Australia’s Trudi Stout and Tania Teelow, behind Still Kidn’ and With Envy respectively, Austria’s Katharina Hebenstre behind Stormy and the USA’s Dawn Wallace, behind Achillies, all trying to spoil her party.

The Open Women were settling back down and regaining their race plans and greeting the chequered flag, after some seriously world class skiing, was Katelin Wednt. 2nd place across the line came down to a drag to the line between Lauryn Eagle and Erin Saunders, with Team USA taking the points over Australia for the minor placings. Adelaide Cox came thru for a fantastic 4th placing, after the botched up kaos on the first lap. Skiing really well behind White Noiz Adelaide held off Kathrin Ortlieb behind the big twin rig Still Smercn.

The F2 women were really putting in some super quick lap times and Leanne Campbell was still holding onto an ever increasing lead, and took the first race of the 4 race World’s series.

Lena Feringa, skiing behind David MacMillan’s flying Revolution hull, came in to secure those valuable points in 2nd place and Trudi Stout put in some really consistent laps, behind Still Kidn’, and came in for 3rd place, one lap down. Stormy came in next, towing Katharina Hebenstrett, from Austria and securing them some valuable series points. Achillies, towing Dawn Wallace (USA) came home next, followed by With Envy, towing dual World Champion Tania Teelow.

The Junior Boys and Girls competitors were next to hit the water, with all eyes on this stellar line up of the best on the planet.
Jack Houston, the current and defending World Champion is out to try and create some history at these World Titles. He is aiming and focussed on, becoming the first dual, junior level skier to ever win 2 titles in the division. The first couple of laps, Jack definitely didn’t have things all his way though. Great Britain’s superstar junior Jake Frame, along with Australia’s Lloyd Woolman and a another talented skier, Trevor Wednt from Team USA, really pushed Jack to hang onto his lead.

Once he was set and warmed up and comfortable though, Kangaroo Jack took control of the race and continued race long to increase his lead. By race end, it was Jack with a ridiculous amount of space between him and 2nd placed Trevor Wendt. He had built up a massive 1 minute lead and looks on track to achieve his dream at this stage.

Coming home in 3rd position was Jake Frame, from the UK, behind 99 Psycho Clowns F1. The brand new Velocity hull was so full of ballast that the nose was only 2 feet above the breaking water in front of it. To see it here at the 17th World Championships, after seeing it on the highway , off it’s trailer, on the way to the Mercury Marine H120, is a credit to the 99PC Team.

Lloyd Woolman came in for 4th place behind Thundernuts, which is also a big, black Velocity hull and was also pushing a tonne of water to help belt down the waves for Lloyd. 5th went to New Zealand’s Mitchell Horan, and the boat Twenty Four, 6th to TuffNUp towing Great Britain’s Toby Duggan and 6th went to pint sized, but big hearted Deke Douty, competing in his first ever World Titles and gaining valuable insights and lessons from the other crews.

In the Junior Girls, the first lap was spectacular, once heading back towards the crowd, with all crews challenging and testing each other out. As the race progressed, Kelsey Feros, behind her Dad Nick, driving Prima Donna, took the initiative and started to build a healthy lead from Yolien Bormans from Belgium, who also has dreams of backing up her 2009 Junior World Title. Tayla Wright, behind Neville Freemans big Orange Force, ORSM, was also circulating well, as was Columbia Cox, from New Zealand, behind White Noiz.

By race end Kelsey came in for the race #1 win, only 10 seconds in front of Yolien. We are all looking forward to watching the battle for this title, as both girls really want it bad. In 3rd place was Australia’s Tayla Wright, another skier to never write off for something special. White Noiz towing Columbia Cox rounded out the results in this class.

The Open and F2 Men’s class, was an absolute cracker of a race, dominated by Chris Stout, behind Noel Griffin’s Burnin’, with Mick Kelly once again observing for Chris in these Worlds, after their great 3rd @ Belgium 2 years ago.

Try as they might, and after putting up challenge after challenge to Chris, Troy Hooker, from the USA, couldn’t find a way around a flying McStout and it was left to Peter Proctor to try and make up some time and points on Chris. Peter skied behind Marcus Cranny and Danny Cropper in Tru Blue, but try as he might the variations in distances between them were only 2 or 3 seconds made, but then lost again negotiating boats on the course.

Ben Gulley, as the race went on, really showed that his late call up into the Open Mens Team, after Jason Walmsley’s withdrawal, was a great move. He was nipping at the heels of Troy Hooker for most of the race, finally going around him in the later stages to secure the 3rd placing. So it was to finish, with Aussies one, two, three on the podiums. Christopher Stout won, Peter Procter was 2nd, just 20 seconds behind Stouty and Ben hung on for the 3rd placing.

The Formula 2 Mens Class is always action packed, with 12 competing boats flying high and taking tight lines taken to make up precious seconds for themselves. Daniel Cotton, behind Brent Wisemantel’s beautifully prepared Atomic Boats, really had this race in his grasp, to only be wiped from the top three in an instant, with a fall at the top end of the course. Until then the guys had had a relatively trouble and traffic free run, allowing them to make up time every lap on the field.

The fall suddenly threw the class completely open and crews like Team Weaver Racing & Target Racing, towing Aussie superstars Mark Weaver and Grant ‘Pidge’ Turner, could dare to dream about taking the race out… and pounced, as did others. But at the end of this exciting race, the results were, first place, Weaver Racing, 2nd place Target and 3rd place going to America’s Andy Anderson.

All and all, the racing and venue were well run, with the crowd being very understanding about the important environmental standards that much be adhered to, with the Dolphins in the morning, just accepted as an ‘obstacle’.

The inclement weather seems to have passed now and the lush Queensland Spring temperatures are on their way back. It is currently a full moon and the gamble there is that usually the weather is either still and perfect, or the complete opposite. It seems that we’ve seen the last of the dodgy wind and cold and can look forward to showing off the Redcliffe Region at it’s finest.

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