This weekend, April 14-15, the teams and drivers of the XLR8 Home Loans Australian F1 Superboat Series will return to Toukley’s Lake Budgewoi for Round Two of the 2007 Championship.
The F1 powerboats easily exceed the speed of 107 kn in the straights and keep up 86-97 kn in the narrowest turns around the buoy.
The acceleration from standstill allows them to reach 53 kn in 3.5 seconds because of the amazing weight/power ratio closing on a horse power per kilogram.
These power catamarans have a minimum weight of 859 lbs, are 19.68 ft. long, 8.2 ft. wide and are propelled by Mercury 2,500 cc engines, tuned to reach 350 HP on around 9,000 r.p.m.
At these speeds there is a narrow margin between a fast win and a fast crash.
Over the last decade there has been increasing emphasis on safety with fully enclosed cockpits, stronger crashboxes protecting the driver and better safety harnesses.
During the 2006 Toukley series, Matt Garner had a spectacular flip. Apart from some bumps and bruises, some eye socket swelling from the water pressure and a headache, he was unharmed. There was only minimal damage to the boat. The engine needed to be dried out and the front pickle (sacrificial nose cone) had to be replaced.
Rhys Coles, the defending champion, wrapped up the 2006 series at Penrith in December but will have his hands full in this round.
The opposition includes Bob and David Trask’s two boats; they are also running a World Championship campaign in Europe so are right on the pace. 2005 Champion Panarottis Shane Vella, Sea Motorsport’s Sean Ellery, and the Jet Worx Marine entry with new driver Todd Boaer are expected to make strong challenges in the upcoming rounds.
XLR8 Home Loan’s Gold Craig Truslove will be campaigning XLR8 Home Loan’s with a brand new boat and engine package. Toukley local Mick Beasley, in Slightly Twisted will be keen to do well in front of his home crowd and is looking for a better season after more than his share of crashes in 2006, as is Anthony McEnnally in his Watersports Marine entry.
Kirk Tsaccounis from the F1 Superboat organisation reports that Media coverage for the 2007 series will be bigger than ever. There will be a NBN (television) half hour program, a SBS (television) program and a Fox Sports (television) "Inside Speed" program.
The Beachcomber Hotel will again be the centre of entertainment and activity over this weekend. It is an ideal location housing all the teams, crew and spectators and its picturesque waterfront position attracts many thousands of spectators that are close to the action.
Local support of the event is strong and thanks go to VB, Wyong Shire Council, Greater Toukley Vision, Pearce Cranes, Star FM and NBN Television.
The program will include the F3 Superboats and Monos, along with the debut of the F2000 Superboats. Qualifying will be on the Saturday afternoon (14th April), before the boats hit Lake Budgewoi for some spectacular racing on Sunday the 15th.