Do you remember your first time? The sleepless night before, the nerves as you got dressed, the butterflies in your stomach as you get in the car, the sweaty palms as you paid your money, and the excitement as you put your helmet on? This is what 20 of our local riders went through on the weekend lining up for their first race. It was so good to see so many new faces at last weekend’s QPWC Tropical Heat Tour event at Redcliffe in Queensland.
It was a big turnout for the first club round of the year. A record attendance of 63 entries turned up on Sunday to go into battle. With the weather looking a bit ominous, I was surprised at how many people actually showed up. But the weather cleared just long enough for us to get some good races in.
So the weekend’s event format ranged from Beginners Runabout and Vintage Ski to combined Stand Up (a mix of Stock and Open), Spark and Stock/Open Runabout. Starting with Vintage Ski, these beautifully turned out old 550s are hard to get your eyes off. With their awesome paint jobs and fluorescent ride gear, it takes me back to a day when Kawasaki was king.
Tim Ryan has been involved in jet skiing since back then and turns out some awesome retro 550’s. The skis are like new, which is hard to do with parts so hard to come by. Not only does he build the skis but he also races them. And when he’s not racing 550s, Tim’s on his SuperJet freeriding on the Gold Coast or helping Marshall free ride events.
It takes a lot of people to get events off the ground in Australia; the powers that be make it rather difficult. Everything from permits for the carparks to permits for the beach, even marine life has to be taken into account (as well as other beach goers). Not to forget all the sponsors that have to be organized and represented – without them none of these events could happen would happen. So many people spend their free time, not just at the event but preparation for the event. So make sure next time you’re down there, let them know you appreciate it.
Now getting back to the racing. The day started off with the ski classes, a mixture of Stock and Lites. With rough conditions on the Bay it was a bumpy ol’ ride. Guy Greenland took the lead on the second lap and it was a game of stamina for the six laps of the course. On his Stock Ski he did well to hold off the other Lites to finish first.
With a massive effort, he jumped from his SuperJet straight onto his FZR, which was being held at the start, lined up against Mitch Wyat from Yamaha and Frank Waite from JSW Racing. The boys had a great race in tough conditions, but Yamahas came out on top for the first round with Guy taking back-to-back motos. A close second from Wayt, who had mechanical issues all day, and third went to Waite his 300hp Sea-Doo.
A great field of Sparks (the biggest Spark Class to date with ten entries) attended the event showing this class has a great future. Matt Daley looked the part with his beautifully turned out WSM Spark. Plenty of action was out out the water in the chop, with the lightweight skis bouncing around like the old ‘Blaster days.
Always a crowd-pleaser is the Open Runabout class. Those things are awesome. The sound, speed and spectacle keeps the crowd on their feet. One boat to watch was the #23 RXT-X of Brendan Boyd, “the Hulk” with consistent fastest lap times, he would be hard to beat. Also Matt Brunt seemed to have his ski sorted out after a unlucky last season. Hopefully, he can make it a regular thing this year, as he took out third place overall for the weekend. Just in front was Brendan Boyd. But the man of the day was Brett Douglas with a spot on the podium in each race gave him enough points to take out the day.
It was great to see a record 19 first-time racers show up for the Beginner Class, being split into two heats and to let the boys get some confidence on the course. I had a chat with Tim O’Neill, the event organizer to get his thoughts on the weekend: “The focus for the QPWC is on attracting entry level riders so the Beginners were heavily catered for with additional site laps, on-the-beach tuition and more than a few trips to the Race Director. Beginner RA was split into two separate races (A and B) to lower the numbers on the line for added safety.
“Although the large runabouts made up the bulk of the classes, the Sport/Spark class is one of the fastest growing classes as it is affordable fun and safe. Stand-up numbers also continue to grow. Obviously, Guy Greenland made a strong showing and almost would have won everything he entered if lack of fuel in the Enduro didn’t cause him to pull out after leading all but the last three laps.
“Open Runabout was hotly contested with Brett Douglas, the relative newcomer beating Brendon Boyd the incumbent QPWC RA Open champion, on the day. With the two rounds results combined for the overall it sets up a close battle at the final round with two points separating first and second places.
“In almost identical circumstances in the second Premier class, 2 points are all the separates the current Australian champion Mitch Wayt and Guy Greenland in Pro RA Stock Spec which will also lead to a battle at the final round in April.”
QPWC Tropical Heat Tour, Round 1
Stand Up: 1 Jordi Okeeffe, 2 Guy Greenland, 3 Thaine Okeeffe, 4 Jason Barrett, 5 Clyde Grant, 6 Brandon Harwood, 7 Rob White, 8 Warrick Brant; Open R/A: 1 Brett Douglas, 2 Brendon Boyd, 3 Matt Brunt, 4 Dan Fox, 5 Mitch Wayt; Sport/Spark: 1 Joel Batt, 2 Matt Daley, 3 Luke Hudson, 4 Parenga Haenga, 5 Brenden Mandzij, 6 Joshua Berry, 7 Bailey Cunningham, 8 Joshua Leckie; Beginner R/A B Class: 1 Paul Rubach, 2 Ryan Sponsellor, 3 Jason Ivins, 4 Paul Bazely; Enduro: 1 Brett Douglas, 2 Mitch Casey, 3 Daryl Bone, 4 Guy Greenland, 5 Paul Rubach, 6 Nick Pilgrim; Pro R/A Stock Spec: 1 Guy Greenland, 2 Mitch Wayt, 3 Frank Waite, 4 John Hollett; Expert R/A Stock Spec: 1 Nicholas Pilgrim, 2 James Rice, 3 David Knott, 4 Sam Barratt, 5 Corey Styles, 6 Darryl Bone; Beginner R/A A Class: 1 Sebastian Birch, 2 Bailey Cunningham, 3 Mitchel Casey, 4 John Raboud, 5 Mitch Pullen, 6 Brett Whittaker, 7 Anthony Batron