||Maritimo leads Smorgan Steel and Acme past the Newcastle
Round three of the series, staged on the Derwent
River in Hobart was problem plagued for series leader, Bill Barry-Cotter
and Peter McGrath in Maritimo Offshore. After discovering
a leak in the fuel tank, Maritimo Offshore made a last
minute switch from their ‘Aussie’ boat to the Lamborghini ‘European’ Maritimo.
The Searle brothers arrived in Hobart confident
that their boat was running faster after completing work on the
induction system to squeeze more power from the engines. Similarly,
Tony Low and Simon Isherwood in Smorgan Steel changed
the rotation in the props to make their rig faster and give it
But it wasn’t enough to outclass Bill Barry-Cotter
and Peter McGrath who held on despite losing all telemetry in the
cockpit to take out the round. With electrical malfunctions lighting
Maritimo’s dash like a Christmas tree, the defining moment
arrived when the oil pressure light came on. “That’s
a $160,000 rebuild when you lose oil pressure in a Lamborghini,” said
Peter. “Bill looked at the light and chose to ignore it.
That shows to me that he’s a true racer!”
Acme went into the race with suspect pistons.
When the engine went off song, the crew knew their race was over
but continued to round the course to pick up valuable points.
Smorgan Steel had worse luck, dropping
valves in one engine and posting a DNF (did not finish) result.
The Class 3 Shifty crew of Paul Gibbs and Paul Fowlds
completed their seven laps before the Class 1 boats completed their
regulation 13 laps and finished two minutes ahead of the runner-up
in Class 2, Spirit of the Mountain, driven by Mike Biel
and Steve Jellick. Colonel Racing (Steve and Matt Kelly) came home
Class 2 was dominated by Damien Palisi and Stuart
Adam in Splits Fibreglass. According to throttleman Stuart
Adam, the triple-rig cat hull formerly raced as Rumler Racing was
running at its best ever.
Second in the class was Revetec Racing (Jason
Boyd and Andrew Rudd) barely a minute astern. Global Racing (Mark
Gilbert and Leigh Trevaskis) finished third.
National A competitors Simon Thomas and Anthony
DeFina in Thycon enjoyed a superb run to again take line
honours ahead of Slick (Craig Purton and David Strucelj). Eye
of the Tiger (Nigel and Douglas Craven) was third.
Round four of the series in Newcastle came to a
dramatic end when Class 2 entry Revetec, flipped, throwing
Jason Boyd and Andrew Rudd into the water.
Fortunately neither were injured but their boat was
not as lucky. It sustained a moderate amount of damage with the
cowls torn from both engines and the hull finishing upside down
floating bow high.
With rescue boats and other competitors quickly
stopping to assist, the red flags were hoisted to bring the race
to a premature end.
While the Revetec crew were being hauled
out of the water, National A competitor Piranha, found
a bad patch of water flinging driver Murray Brown out of the cockpit
and Piranha into the sea. Passenger Rory Brown stayed
on board with the hull remaining right side up only to emerge wet,
while Murray sustained a broken arm and rib.
The end came too soon for Acme who finished
just 30 seconds behind Maritimo after just five laps.
Steve Searle’s plan to stay within striking distance of Maritimo until
the last three laps went awry when Revetec brought the
event to an early close.
Running a new boat in Class 1, Simon Isherwood and
Tony Low in Smorgan Steel finished third, while the Splits
Fibreglass team continued their winning form, jumping out
to an early lead to hold on throughout the event.
In Class 3 it was a battle between Shifty and Spirit
of the Mountain. Shifty made a passing move to
edge ahead, shortly before the race was stopped.
The three-way battle in National A saw Slick take
the points ahead of Thycon and the Craven’s in Eye
of the Tiger. With three laps completed, Slick finished
two minutes ahead of Thycon, and Eye of the Tiger one-and-a-half
minutes further astern. For the record, Revetec was in
second place when the boat flipped, with new entries XXX Racing and Red
Bellies filling fourth and fifth positions respectively. Victory
Marine continued their bad run, losing an engine cowling and retiring
Any lingering hopes of beating the formidable Bill
Barry-Cotter and Peter McGrath duo were laid to rest at the conclusion
of round five in Botany Bay. The Searle brothers refusing to accept
second place, installed new props to mount a serious challenge,
but were unable to match the dual Lamborghini engines.
Likewise, Tony Low and Simon Isherwood continued
to make significant improvements to Smorgan Steel’s performance.
At Botany Bay the hull was some 300kgs lighter than the previous
weekend, thanks to a pair of alloy drive housings and a heap of
internal weight cut out of the hull. They placed third.
Despite winning every round of the series and with
just two rounds remaining after Botany Bay, a single DNF result
from the Maritimo team would put Acme on level
In Class 2, Global Racing enjoyed their
best run of the series taking victory ahead of Splits Fibreglass. Global
Racing’s owner and regular driver, Mark Gilbert was
forced to sit out the race due to illness, the boat was run by
Leigh Trevaskis with Ross Willarton behind the wheel. Jason Boyd
and Andrew Rudd from Revetec finished third.
Red Bellies got to the start line after
the team made a gearcase swap earlier that morning to help the
handling of the boat. The hull was riding better, although still
lacking the speed to join the front runners. Chris Rosch’s
run of bad luck continued with CSR Investments losing
a flywheel on the centre engine after the boat led the class for
the first six laps.
In Class 3, the tussle between Shifty and Spirit
of the Mountain continued. The calm seas better suited Shifty,
who led the class home. Likewise, National A saw a close match
between Slick and eventual winner Thycon.
Queensland offshore racer, Chris Rosch stormed home
to an impressive victory onboard the diesel-powered Maritimo
Offshore at Mooloolaba. For Chris, this round was the first
race he had contested in. Normally taking to the start line in
his Victory Marine Class 2 boat, Chris and throttleman
Ross Willarton seized the opportunity to step up to race with the
big boys when Maritimo boss Bill Barry-Cotter decided to enter
both Maritimo rigs for the remaining two rounds of the series.
A record four Class 1 boats lined up the sixth round
of the series. Bill Barry-Cotter and Peter McGrath were in the
blue-hulled Lamborghini Maritimo Offshore with Steve and
Andrew Searle in Acme Racing still looking to take their
first outright victory for the season. Tony Low and Simon Isherwood
looked strong in Smorgan Steel with fresh engines delivering
a better performance.
With the blue-hulled Maritimo running hard
into the first turn and Acme right alongside, it seemed
the familiar pattern was set to repeat, until Maritimo slowed
and pulled out after completing just three laps. This left Acme
Racing in the lead ahead of Chris Rosch and Ross Willarton
in the white-hulled Maritimo Offshore, followed by Smorgan
“When Bill offered me the drive in his second
string Class 1 boat, I felt that the diesel-powered Maritimo was
actually a faster boat,” said Chris. “As it turned
out we never got to challenge Bill in a gunwale to gunwale dice,
but the race sheets show that the fastest lap of the race was recorded
by Ross and I. We saw 220km/h (137mph) on the GPS and that was
quite fast enough in the conditions.”
As it turned out Bill Barry-Cotter had blown one
of his fresh, factory-supplied Lamborghini engines.
Having chased the rooster tail of Barry-Cotter all
season, this looked to be an opportunity for the Searle brothers
to finally take the chequered flag. But a mechanical failure forced
them to limp across the line with one engine shut down completely
and the other at idle after 10 laps.
Smorgan Steel finished third after oil
pressure problems forced them to come home on one engine after
eight laps. The hotly-contested Class 2 once again saw Splits
Fibreglass hold a comfortable edge to win almost five minutes
ahead of XXX Racing.
After some 84 minutes of hard fought racing, Shifty crossed
the line 14 seconds ahead of Spirit of the Mountain in
Class 3. Paul Gibbs acknowledging that it had been a very tough
day at the office.
It was a similar story in the National A Class.
Throughout the long duel between Slick and Thycon the
lead changed several times. While Slick eventually took
out victory, Thycon came home at the end of a tow rope,
having run out of fuel within a kilometre of the finish line. This
allowed Eye of the Tiger to move up into second position.
The final round of the 2004 Club Marine Powerboat Series was set
at the glamorous Gold Coast under overcast skies with a two-metre
The drama began well before the starters flag went
out when Bill Barry-Cotter and Peter McGrath couldn’t get Maritimo
Offshore onto the plane as they motored away and out onto
the course. They rushed back to the pit for a change of props.
But by the time they had lifted the boat from the water and changed
the props, Acme had already completed two laps of the
course. Enjoying the conditions, the Searle brothers were out in
front and doing it easily. Despite having a two lap lead on Maritimo,
Steve kept the power on all the way through, leading the race from
start to finish.
Smorgan Steel also had a great run in their
aluminium cat hull. A fresh engine had been fitted following the
Mooloolaba round. But disaster struck just 500 metres from the
finish line and running in second place, the escape hatch in Tony
Low’s cockpit imploded. The boat began to fill with water
immediately and while a tow line was attached, the five-tonne boat
flooded with water and proved too big a load for the tow boat.
Smorgan Steel sank with a marker buoy attached
for recovery the following day by salvage experts.
Amid all the drama, the Australian Class 1 title
for 2004 was being decided. With Acme first, Smorgan
Steel second and Maritimo third in the Gold Coast
race, the season point score saw Maritimo and Acme tied
on equal points. The title eventually going to Maritimo on
In Class 2, Splits Fibreglass renewed their
battle with the Victory Marine team of Chris Rosch and
Karl Wall racing hard. Splits held the inside line to
cross the finish line first, to win Class 2 and the Australian
Global Racing’s Mark Gilbert was
first to withdraw from the race when one of his Mercury outboards
took a dunking.
The Class 3 battle with Shifty and Spirit
of the Mountain again proved to be tight. The tough conditions
suiting the heavier Spirit of the Mountain initially,
before the hull delaminated on the front port sponson.
In National A Class, victory went to the Melbourne-based Slick team
who also took out the Australian National A Title. The conditions
proved ideal for the Eye of the Tiger team with Thycon coming
The Craven boys revelled in the rough stuff. However,
the going was so rugged on the Gold Coast that the aft quarter
of the 22-year-old hull delaminated and looks to be pensioned-off.
Look out for a new ‘Eye’ in 2005.