Powerboating New Zealand Around Australia by Margaret Butler
Due to many upsetting circumstances such as mail and aircraft strikes etc., at long last we can bring you more travel and speedboat news.

Saturday 13th October: Just before leaving Orange we met a very interesting personality. The great grandson of Ben Hall the renowned Australian Bushranger.
Mr Hall, his wife and two assistants are endeavoring to complete a trip right around Australia in a horse drawn Cobb & Co., Coach. The sign across the back of the coach reads.
Ben Hall Rides Again
Around Australia
In aid of the

Ben Hall Rides Again Around Australia In aid of the 41 Foundation

The Apex Club are sponsoring this trip and it is to raise money for the 41 Foundation which is a foundation set up to aid Birth Deformed Children.

Mr Hall said the trip should take 16 months to complete and we hope to meet up with them again around "The Alice" as they are going in the opposite direction to us. After we said our farewell to Ben, Molly and the girls, we set off in freezing cold wet weather to our next port of call.

Our initial destination was to be Wagga Wagga where the speedboat club there are holding the Husky Shield Interstate Championship on 20th and 21st October.

Our first stop on Saturday was Canberra where we stayed with the Northern Zone President, Len Bourke's parents.

Sunday saw us on the way Gundagai (where the Dog Sat on the Tucker Box) we heard they were needing asparagus pickers. Seeing we had a few days try our picking skill. One day was enough and Tuesday saw us well on the way to Wagga with very stiff legs and backs nicely sunburnt.

Wagga Wagga
(In Aboriginal means "Place of, many crows") A very nice city with a population of 30,000 built on the Murrumbidgee River. The boat club have their club-rooms situated right on the foreshore of Lake Albert (man made lake) approximately 4 miles from town. We contacted the Commodore Ian Measday and the Secretary/Manager Kevin Robinson who were very helpful in allowing us the use of power and conveniences, so we spent 4 lazy days lounging around on the lawns at the Club.

We did meet a couple of speedboat drivers before the Race Day, one was George Williams who has a 155 c.i. hydro powered with an Early Model Holden fuel injected. George said he had hopes of hitting the ton with this boat which he calls "Staccato". Later in the day we saw a very nice set up displacement boat (which we in New Zealand call Racing Runabouts) named "Tessa". The owner Denis O'Brien hopes also to hit the elusive 100 mph

It is powered with a basic 351 c.i. Ford using Frank Duggan fuel injection. Heads and ports polished, stock valves, is running a Ford crank modified and counter balanced. The cam has been done by Graeme Waggott using a Crane patterned cam 620 thou. lift at the valve, with Crane Roller Rockers, Isky Valve Springs, Running Jahns Pistons. Using a 22 per cent Step up Casale Box and a running a stelling prop. The motor was worked on and fitted by Denis O'Brien and Graham Barrow and looks real good.

The hull was built especially for this motor by Les Ramsay and is 17ft. long, black metal flaked.
Denis appears to have no qualms about reaching the 100 mph as approx 2 weeks ago a boat, similar type being a l7ft. Nan Kurvis owned by Frank Duggan and driven by John Dent did 92 mph

So it looks like "Tessa" with all the goodies in her just might make the ton.

Friday 19th: Quite a few of the competitors and supporters from N.S.W. and Victoria arrived. Amongst these was an extra supporter for us Kiwis. A well-known speedboatie from the Deep South, namely Neil Mills. A shame that the other Pig Islander "Sav" from Christchurch didn't make Wagga but the three of us kept up the good Kiwi name.

Saturday: Racing was mainly handicap events for local boat, of the hydros competed. Saturday evening the club put on a Prawn night and dance which was thoroughly enjoyed by all. The Kiwis won a Magnum of Champagne and had to drink it there and then as "Sparkin Larkin" our Australian Agent didn't have a candle holder (that's our excuse and we are sticking to it).

Sunday : "Husky Shield Championship" the morning dawned clear and fine which is more than could be said about a few heads.

The championship was ready to start at 11 a.m. and the Victorians were there with 8 boats. Hydromania - Rusco - Mortician - Peanuts - Banzai - Chinook - Frantic Two and Lotus, from N.S.W.

Wasp Too, Dyna, Wiowa, Tiki, Miss Alky, Bumble Foot, Alfa, Telstar, Mirage Naiad II, Taboo and Staccarto.

The championship rules are 9 boats per team plus reserves.
Three boats in each class being 100 c.i.-155 c.i.-Unlimited.

First heat started with the 100 c.i. boats. NSW winning this heat.
155 c.i. heat 2 won by Victoria.
Unlimited heat 3 won by Victoria.
100 c.i. heat 4 won by N.S.W.
155 c. i. heat 5 won by Victoria.
Unlimited heat 6 won by Victoria.
100 c.i. heat 7 won by N.S.W.
155 c.i. heat 8 won by N.S.W.
Unlimited heat 9 won by Victoria.

Up to the last heat it was a tie at 24 each, but the Victorians managed to come in 1st and 2nd in heat 9 thus giving them point of 29 against N.S.W. 25.
Victoria Speedboat Club: Winners, Husky Shield
It was a closely contested race and very exciting on occasions. A few casualties, motor wise both for the Victorians and N.S. Welshmen. The Husky Shield originated in 1970 and was first sponsored by McMurtries Footwear. This year Norm Johnstone from Sydney sponsored $100, and presented engraved pewters to each driver from the winning team.

Since it originated Victoria has won the Shield 3 times and N.S.W. 1. Next year Norm Johnstone says he hopes other states will compete. (Perhaps if N.Z. becomes the 6th state of Australia we may be able to show these boys some good boats!!).
With the racing and presentation over, most of the boaties left for there respective homes, but left some of the stayers playing up quite well Monday it was decided to have a roll call at one of the hotels in town. 10.30 a.m. was roll call time, by 2.30 p.m. telegrams were being sent furiously to Sydney (have never heard so many excuses, boy were they rare). A little disappointing to see one of the Kiwis let the side down, but of course, naturally coming from way down south I guess they are not seasoned drinkers like their superiors from the north (do you agree Neil). Midnight saw the Sydneysiders on the road with a 6-hour drive ahead of them.

Tuesday morning it was suggested by Mr M. that perhaps another roll call would be in order, but we backed out of that very fast and were on the road by 9 a.m. heading for Victoria looking for work. Tried for work at Cobram and Shepparton but no luck, so would you believe, yes Air New Zealand team here, we are at Bendigo, where we will stop for a while and follow the speedboat races from here. Went out to Lake Eppaloch Friday afternoon as most of the Victorian Speedboat Club members were coming up to get ready for a Working Bee next day in preparation for the "BP Unlimited Cup" on Sunday. This we thought was a very good idea until it started pouring with rain, and did it ever rain!

At about 10.30 p.m. we were wakened by a very wet member of the Stampede Team namely "Starter Motor" Dick Carnic" 'who reckons we were a welcome sight for sore eyes, he had slid off the road into a ditch and needed help to get out. SO Powerboating N.Z. to the rescue. We had seen a tractor earlier on parked at the gate, with Elaine driving and Dick and I riding shotgun we duly pulled him out of the mire much to his relief.

By the way N.Z. Stampede has not been touched since the accident and it has not been decided whether to repair or build another one-perhaps you had better think about sending boats over for the cup-food for thought.


Sunday dawned windy and chilly but fined up later in the day but towards the end of the racing we had quite a few heavy showers.

Approximately 30 boats arrived for the day's racing. About 12 hydroplanes and the rest made up of displacements. Some of these displacements are beautifully rigged out and some very fast and thrilling racing was witnessed during the day on real rough water.

The BP Cup Championship drew 4 starters for i the first heat Rascala displacement powered with a Holden. Ospray displacements powered with a Chev. Pitstop hydroplane powered with a Ford. Scorpio displacement powered with a Ford.

Winner of this heat was Scorpio, Ospray and Rascalla. Pitstop failed to finish due to the shaft sheering off at the Skeg bearing which was badly damaged, thus losing shaft and a $900 propellor.

Second heat saw 5 starters. Susan Dee displacement powered with a Ford. Klute displacement powered with a Holden. Psycho displacement powered with a Valiant. Red Line hydroplane powered with a Chev. Black Knight hydroplane powered with a Dodge. Exciter hydroplane powered with a Magnum Hemi Chrysler.

This proved to be a rather exciting heat as Tommy Watts in Exciter shot out into the lead and held his place throughout the race and actually managed to win this heat followed by Susan Dee and Red Line.

The finals proved to be very exciting also as Tommy Watts once again shot into the lead and held his place right through, thus winning the BP Cup followed by Red Line and Susan Dee.
For any reader who doesn't know Tommy Watts with Exciter, this is a great achievement for Tom to actually finish one heat let alone finish the finals and win as poor Tom usually blows up the motor or catches fire and very seldom even finishes. Exciter was going extremely well and was a real good race to watch but poor Tom just couldn't come to shore without doing something

Yes-he had to have a fire, but managed to get it out by filling his crash hat with water.

Tom drove a fantastic race in the bad water conditions and it was great to see him win, after all he has had a lot of bad luck. With the rough water conditions the handicap racing later on was very exciting with the displacements leaping around like mad things.

Victoria, or I should say most of Australia have had more than their quota of rain and to reach the starter stand you practically had to swim to it. The lake is up right around the stand and the concrete ramp was completely submerged.

It looks as though the lake should still be full for the Griffiths Cup in January.

There are quite a few meetings in Victoria between now and February and we hope to bring you more news about these in the February issue.

Until Then,
Your girls in the Outback.
Judges Stand surrounded  by water

Some of the Victorian boats at Wagga

The old and the new way around

Butler, M., 1973-74, ‘Powerboating New Zealand Around Australia,’ Powerboating New Zealand, Dec., Jan., 30, p., 8,9,10,11.