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Wade on Worlds Round 4



Conditions for race #4 of the 17th World Titles, were once again, smooth as glass water with no wind at all. The temperature was to get to 27 degrees and things were warming up quickly.
The crowd numbers had grown a lot, with the ‘Celebrate Redcliffe’ Festival bringing a curious crowd to the shore to watch this extreme sport in action at its highest level.
The Moreton Bay Regional Council are the Major Sponsor of the World Championships and cannot be thanked enough for their support.

The first race of the day, with two World Championships still up for grabs, was the Open and Formula 2 Women.
Americans Katelin Wendt and Erin Saunders, Aussie Maddi Boyer, Kathrin Ortlieb from Austria and Adelaide Cox, from New Zealand, were all still capable of taking out the Open title, after dropping their lowest points race, should anyone else make a mistake on course, or in their timing at the finish line. Lauryn Eagle was not back to ski in a last ditch attempt to end her horror World Title bid, after her heavy round 3 fall and gutsy ski post fall.
In the Womens Formula 2 there were 3 different winners in the previous races, Leanne Campbell, Tania Teelow and Trudi Stout, all from Australia. They were up against Austria’s Katharina Hebenstreit and Sabine Ortlieb, Belgium super star Lena Feringa and American Lori Dunsmore Cheryl Ruston and Dawn Wallace, all able to either win, or place in today’s race, or overall on points. It was that close.
All boats lined up along the beach as crews anxiously awaited the hooter to announce 15 minutes until a start.
Channel 7, in live crosses to their morning show, ‘Sunrise’, had interviewer James Tobin try water skiing, as well as interviewing the round 3 crowned, Aussie Junior World Champions, Jack Houston and Kelsey Feros.
The live online feed was also active again, with the world class production beaming the World Titles out over 53 countries, live, to critical acclaim. By the worlds end the total was 27,479 total streams, with the Worlds website reporting 70,000 hits, on the first day alone. That does not include and the Ski Racing Australia website hits and streams too. All were running the stream. It was great to see the embracing of newer technology to way beyond tweets and end of day result sheets to find out details of what was going on. The dvd should be a cracker !
Back to the racing though, and all of the Womens crews were now lined up for the race of their lives.
Commentators Dave Bishop, Troy Kennedy and Tim Dubios were running thru the run lists and explain to new comers on the shore, how things were being calculated and what was at stake for each athlete and their crew.
5, 4, 3, 2, 1, Go ! was the call, as all Open Women skiers got off to a blinder of a start on the flat conditions.
Coming around for the first time it was Katelin, followed very closely by Erin, Maddi, Adelaide and Kylee Jones.
In the F2 Women, the first lap leaders were, Leanne and Trudi, with Trudi leading the 2nd wave, 30 seconds back.
Next lap Katelin had pulled out 2 rope lengths on Erin, knowing that a 3rd win would give her the title after 2 previous series wins.
Trudi Stout was now having a battle with Leanne Campbell, with both moving out huge amounts from Tania Teelow, in 3rd and the rest of the field. It was apparent that we were in for a real battle for each of the titles.
Over the next few laps the battle between Erin and Katelin was still underway, with Erin running alongside Katelin now. Maddi Boyer was still holding out 3rd place, but was starting to lose touch with these two super athletes, as was Kylee Jones, behind Merc Force.
Trudi and Still Kid’n were now only 4 seconds behind Leanne and Atomic Boats, needing to win by 40 seconds to take the title. Leanne knew this and was not giving her an inch without working her butt off to do it. They were absolutely flying in the now sloppy water conditions. Katharina Hebenstreit, behind Stormy, had now moved up to 3rd placing.
Erin now made a move on Katelin and was travelling quickly around the outside line, half a rope length up, then further and further until she was a whole rope length in front. Trudi made up another 2 seconds, then dropped 4.. would she run out of time or energy ?
Over the next few laps it was Erin Saunders, behind 99 Psycho Clowns F1 that had moved out 3 – 4 ropes lengths from Katelin, with Wendt Racing. Not able to lose touch with Erin, yet not pushing her to go faster, the Wendt’s only had a tiny window of time on points, that they could finish within.
Leanne and Trudi were now lapping at about 2 seconds a lap faster than the Open class ladies. Trudi was being forced to go around lots of boats on the corners, losing precious seconds that she needed.
With around 15 minutes left it was still Erin, Katelin, Kathrin Ortlieb was now up to 3rd, behind Still Smercn’, Maddi, then Kylee.
F2 was back to an all Aussie affair with Leanne leading a still fighting, but slower lapping, Trudi, followed by 2 time World Champ Tania Teelow, behind With Envy.
With about 2 minutes left in the race it was Erin Saunders leading by 9 seconds, needing 20 to win the title.
The Blue Flag was raised, signalling the last lap and Erin had increased that to 13 seconds.. she was going for it with about a 3 turn buoy lead !
In Formula 2 excitement was building for the Super-Mum of Aussie ski racing. One more lap with no dramas and it was hers. Trudi was now leading the day’s racing, but it would not be by enough.
Greeting the Chequered Flag was Erin Saunders, followed closely by Katelin Wendt. The American Team went nuts ! The World Title now belonged to Katelin Wendt, coming home just 10 seconds behind Erin, but winning on points overall. Both skiers won 2 races, but dropping her worst result it was Katelin by about 4 points. Kathrin Ortlieb, from Austria, came home third this super exciting race and also claimed the Bronze Medal overall on points.
In Formula 2 Women, the World Title went to Leanne Campbell, skiing behind Brent Wisemantel and Andrew Fyfe, in Atomic Boats.
Winning the day’s racing, but not the title was Trudi Stout, who really put in a huge performance trying to scrape back those precious seconds. Leanne finished just 12 seconds back, but 15 points up, securing the title, with Katharina Hebenstreit and the Stormy crew in 3rd place on the day and overall.
Leanne came thru with her Aussie flag held high, doing a drive past and the large crowd cheered loudly. Katelin received no less praise as she came back to shore, with cheers of ‘USA, USA, USA..’ booming from the bank. Both skiers had conquered the massive physical and mental battle that it takes to win a world title and had risen as the best in the world in Women’s water ski racing.

The Juniors race was next on the schedule, and although they both won their respective World Titles after clean sweeping the first 3 races, Kelsey Feros and Jack Houston, or ‘Back to Back Jack’ as the commentators were now labelling him, came to prove their dominance at the Titles and lined up once again to try for 4 from 4.
The minor placings for outright and all important team points were still on offer, so the racing was guaranteed to be at the same high standard as seen previously.
The Great Britain’s Jame Frame, Mitchell Horan from New Zealand, Trevor Wendt from the USA and Lloyd Woolman from Australia, were all still capable of gaining an overall placing. As was Tayla Wright from Australia, defending junior girls World Champ Yolien Bormans from Belgium and Columbia Cox from New Zealand in the Junior Girls.
Go! Was the call and the Junior Boys were off. All were away 30 seconds later in the Junior Girls. Almost everyone got away to a blinder and in an instant all crews were at top speed on the smooth water.
Coming around for the first time, with the race chopper overhead, it was WC Jack Houston and Team Stinga, leading by a rope length from Trevor Wendt behind 7, Thundernuts towing Lloyd Woolman and Jake Frame behind 99 Psycho Clowns F1.
Kelsey wasn’t having as easy a start as Jack, with Tayla Wright behind ORSM and Yolien Bormans behind Burnin’ on the outside of her around the turn buoy for the first time. Yolien gave a massive wave up and pulled alongside Tayla.
At around the 13 minute mark the placings were to look the same for the girls, Tayla really taking the challenge on to Kelsey, with Yolien dropping back about a rope length.
Jack was now leading the Junior Boys by a long way, as the battle raged between Lloyd Woolman and Trevor Wendt. 99 Psycho Clowns F1 had a short stop, with what looked like a motor issue, but were back into it later, a couple of laps down, with Jake Frame now out of the picture for outright placings, but still out to get some GB Team points .
The battle raged on in the Junior Girls class with all 3 top skiers still within a rope length of each other.
Jack Houston had moved so far into the lead in the Boys class that he was now overtaking the Girls and taking a lap from them. His dominance is remarkable in this class.
Trevor and Lloyd next caught the ladies, locked in their own battle. Lloyd had to beat Trevor by 55 seconds, so Trevor wasn’t letting him out of his sight.
Around 26 minutes into the race and Lloyd was now making up 7 seconds a lap on Trevor. By commentary calculations, he needed to keep this up until the last lap to win by just one second and take home the Silver Medal.
Tayla and Yoliens were still at it, and as the Blue Flag was raised there was just one rope length between them.
To greet the chequered Flag, to loud applause, was Jack Houston, the first skier to ever win back to back Junior World Championships, with a dominance of 8 World Titles races, for 8 wins all up. The crowd on the bank cheered loudly for him as he skied into history. Will he be our first Kelly Slater ?
But what of the race for the Silver and Bronze?
Over the line 44 seconds back, it was to be Lloyd Woolman and the Thundernuts crew, over a minute in front of Trevor Wendt. This gave the young Aussie from Victoria the Silver Medal, by just 12 points from Trevor overall.
Kelsey Feros also showed her complete dominance taking out her 4th race and a clean sweep of all races to add undisputed, to her World Title’s name.
Tayla and Yoliens were to finish 2nd and 3rd respectively in this race, but Tayla came home only 5 seconds in the lead. This meant that Yolien could add Silver to her Gold medal from Belgium’s 2009 Worlds. Tayla skied herself into the Bronze Medal position after the two of them really had some great racing over the 4 race series. It only came down to 5 points in the end.
Both teams did fly bys past an appreciative crowd, proudly holding their Aussie Flags up high and receiving the Aussie war cry back, ‘Aussie, Aussie, Aussie, Oi’ Oi’ Oi’!’

As the skiers were being interviewed on the main stage and podium area, the Open and Formula 2 Men all converged on the beach area for the last time.
Christopher Stout had already won the Open Mens Title the day before, with 3 from 3 wins, but still lined up to take on Aussie mate and rival Peter Procter, American Troy Hooker, and Great Britain’s Russell Cox and Dan Ellis.
The Formula 2 Men were the last class to be decided, with a World Title still up for grabs.
Aussies Grant Turner and Mark Weaver had absolutely dominated over the previous 3 rounds.
With only slight leads to Andy Anderson and Cameron King from the USA, Daniel Cotton from Oz, Marc Avella from Spain and Dave Vansteelant from Belgium, heaps of guys were still in the mix for outright medals.
The crews readied themselves to race and as they all took their grid positions in front of the starter, the massive crowd were on the edge of their seats.
Go! Was the call over the PA and the Open Men were away !
As they hit top speed, the F2 crews were also away and racing cleanly.
The first time around it was to be Chris Stout and Burnin’ by a rope length to Peter Procter and Tru Blue. Following closely in 3rd was Troy Hooker behind Merc Force.
The F2 men saw the start of the Turner vs Weaver battle for gold. Shooter vs Team Weaver respectively, with two of the best outboard drivers in the World, Peter Lewis and Brent Wisemantel at the wheel.
The spray was still settling on the other places but Marc Avella, behind Labsport Boats had the slightest lead from Daniel Cotton, behind Atomic Boats, boat 373 towing Andy Anderson, Dave Vansteelant, behind Still Kid’n, Dave Sewell and Bernico Boats and Cameron King, behind boat 73.
You could throw a blanket over them.
Around the 10 minute mark the Open Mens placings read Stout & Procter, with nothing in it, followed by Hooker, Cox and Ellis trying to hang onto the 2 flying Aussies.
In Formula 2 Team Weaver had pulled ahead from Shooter, with 373, Atomic, Labsport Boats, Still Kidn’ and Robertson Racing all still pushing hard behind them.
Mark Weaver knew that he had to beat Grant Turner by more than 20 seconds and this champion skier was not going to give in. He passed the crowd again and gave a massive wave up, screaming for more speed, building on his lead further.
Stout v Procter came screaming around the corner again and a huge collective gasp came over the crowd as Peter fell off.
He was ok and as quickly as possible the guys had him back in his ski and in the water. This was not before the mighty twin rig Tuff N Up tried to drive up the inside of the turn buoy that he was sitting at and choked the propellers in Peter’s rope. Luckily for Peter, they had a spare rope on board, but unlucky for Great Britain’s Russell Cox, who’s race was now effectively over, as the crew tried desperately to clear the tangled mess.
In F2 Grant Turner and the Shooter boys had caught back up to Mark Weaver, passing just as Peter took off in pursuit of Chris Stout and those valuable overall points.
They were now followed in 3rd place by Aussie Daniel Cotton and Atomic Boats, Andy Anderson, Marc Avella and Will Newland filling the next placings.
With 21 minutes left, Peter Procter was starting to make up a little ground on Chris Stout, but the fall meant that they were on the same straight as each other. He was now chasing Troy Hooker, trying to use his incredible fitness to make up ground.
Then, the unthinkable for Mark Weaver. His crew had a short, unscheduled stop at the far end of the course, virtually handing the title to Grant Turner.
It was only around 20-30 seconds, but enough to lose all that he’d built up in the race.
Grant took advantage of his good luck and the Shooter crew flew off into the spray and out of sight.
With the pressure off him, Chris Stout smartly went into safe mode and Grant, his river racing partner was going so nuts that he overtook him.
Peter Procter was lapping at about 5 seconds a lap quicker than Chris, desperately chasing Troy.
As the Blue Flag was raised, it was to be Chris Stout leading Open and great mate Grant Turner leading Formula 2.
This was to be how it ended too as they both skied past the Chequered Flag, to big cheers from the crowd.
Chris Stout, winner of all four races of the Worlds Series, became the first ever skier to win a Junior, Formula 2 and Open World Championship with his victory.
The 2nd and 3rd placings weren’t yet decided in the Open Mens and a quick finishing Peter Procter came home just behind Troy Hooker on corrected time, after receiving a 5% penalty from the Judges for on-course infringements.
The Silver Medal overall went to Peter Procter and the Tru Blue crew and Troy Hooker left the World Titles as a Bronze Medallist.
Grant ‘Pidge’ Turner and the Shooter guys were bursting with excitement when they hit the boat ramp as people swarmed to the ramp to congratulate both them and Stouty & the Burnin’ boys on their victories. It was great to see two Queensland Teams on the winner’s podium.
Also from Queensland, Mark Weaver finished 2nd in the race, even after Team Weaver’s stop, and 3rd place went to Marc Avella from Spain and Labsport Boats.
Overall Mark Weaver placed 2nd on points and took the Silver medal and Andy Anderson and the crew from 373 claimed the Bronze Medal for the Championships.

Thank you to everyone that competed, officiated, assisted, sponsored and brought you the 17th World Water Ski Racing Championships.

Special Thanks to Moreton Bay Regional Council and Mercury Australia, for being the Major Sponsors of the Titles.

Also to all of those that came and watched and displayed your goods, as well as the massive number of Volunteers that brought the Ski Racing Worlds to Queensland for the first time, for 10 glorious days of racing.

Thanks to all of the Commentary and Visual & Audio crews, for bringing the Worlds to the World, for those that couldn’t make it Down Under.

We hope that you took home a lifetime of good memories and had a little taste of Queensland & Australia. Please come back again soon!

Lastly, to all World Champions and Competitors, thank you for making this a World Titles to remember, with your sportsmanship, goodwill and dedication to your dreams.
It’s inspiring.

: ) Wade

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