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Procter wins, Mawer closes in on the title in race 5

IMG_80961-620x41326th January, 2013

Australia’s water ski racing elite has put on a spectacular display today as part of the Newcastle Maritime Festival.

Amid treacherous conditions in on Newcastle Harbour, skiers battled huge swells, strong winds and driving rain thrilling the thousands of spectators lining the foreshore.

Sydney’s Peter Procter shrugged off a boat change before this morning’s first heat, and a robust challenge from championship leader Wayne Mawer to win perhaps the toughest race of the season.

However, Mawer and his 99 Psycho Clowns Racing team have one hand on the championship after their second place – only needing to finish tomorrow’s race to wrap up the world’s richest ski racing championship.

The day didn’t start out well for Procter and Team Hell, with the team being forced to sideline its primary circuit racing boat, Tru Blue, with a technical problem – however its replacement, Hellbent, seemed ideally suited.

They still came out of the blocks fast, winning Heat 1 from Mawer and the Clowns in the best of the day’s conditions.

However, Heat 2 brought testing conditions, with heavy rain and winds causing havoc for crews – the race eventually being red-flagged one lap short – Mawer and team led Procter by just three seconds at that stage.

Procter’s pole position would prove decisive on the unique Newcastle Harbour course, which features the only right hand bend in the championship.

The Final would again bring tough conditions, with sideways rain hitting skiers in the face on the finish straight in front of the hardy spectators watching on.

This saw slower speeds as boats spectacularly leapt out of the water and high into the air. As they rounded the bottom turn and headed up around the sheltered side of the point at Stockton, boats ran flat around the right hander up to the top corner, nudging speeds of 190km/h.

Hellbent driver Mark Cranny held the preferred inside line all race, pushing 99 Psycho Clowns (driven by Daniel McMahon) wide every time it challenged.

Procter would eventually hold off Mawer to remain in the title hunt, with Mark Weaver and Burnin finishing a high-flying third place.

Young Jake Tegart had his best result of the championship season behind Merc Force, running consistently all day to record a fourth place finish. Daniel Graziano rounded out the top five behind Superman.

Procter said today’s conditions were the ultimate test for a ski racer.

“This is what it’s all about,” said Procter. “We’re here to find the best ski racers – we don’t want it to be easy.

“That had a bit of everything – it was fast up the back, and unbelievably rough down in front of the foreshore here.

“Today’s a tribute to our entire team – they all need to be totally on their game when it’s like that. Who knows what’s going to happen tomorrow!? We know what the situation is and we’ll be there giving it everything.”

The final day of the Nautilus Marine Australian Water Ski Racing Championship will see some of the world’s best ski racers throwing it all on the line tomorrow to try and claim their share of the $60,000 prize pool.

Racing runs from 9:30am to 4pm on Newcastle Harbour.

Results, Race 5 of 6:

1)      Peter Procter, Hellbent

2)      Wayne Mawer, 99 Psycho Clowns

3)      Mark Weaver, Burnin

4)      Jake Tegart, Merc Force

5)      Daniel Graziano, Superman

Standings after Race 5 of 6:

1)      Wayne Mawer, 99 Psycho Clowns, 119 points

2)      Peter Procter, Hellbent, 94 points

3)      Mark Weaver, Burnin, 94 points

4)      Daniel Graziano, Superman, 87 points

5)      Jake Tegart, Merc Force, 78 points



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