LAKE BOATS IN 'REVERSE'
By TED MADDEN
Tomorrow’s Victorian Speedboat Club meeting on Albert Park Lake opens the 1970-71 racing season, and a new era in the sport.
In Victoria, inboard powered boats have always raced right-handed. All races conducted in future under the auspices of the Australian Power Boat Association will be anti-clockwise.
I believe that the change will greatly improved the Albert Park Lake course, which, clock-wise, had a short finish from the final buoy.
Tomorrow’s meeting – the Len Owen Memorial Aggregate Trophy, which is traditionally decided on opening day – will mark the end of another era.
Keith Hooper’s skiff, Mandy, acknowledged queen of the Albert Park circuit, with Hooper’s retirement from racing, has been sold to New South Wales.
Who will succeed her as the Albert Park specialist?
My tip is John Lewis’ Vulture, the 1970 Griffith’s Cup runner-up, which recently broke three Australian and five Victorian records on Lake Glenmaggie.
The Australian Unlimited Service Runabout record which fell to Vulture’s 90.36 mph was set by Alan Fordhams Venus, which reigned supreme on Albert Park before Mandy.
Lewis will have some hot competition from Sporting Globe Medallist, Lloyd Willians, and perhaps later in the season, from 1969 Griffith Cup winner Trevor Mathews.
Willian’s Hoots Mon is a 300 cubic inch boat, and Mathew’s skiff, Assassin Too, is now also racing in the same class.
Both may corner better than Vulture, but, particularly with a longer finishing straight, Lewis should have too much up his sleeve.
Matthews hasn’t had a terribly happy run with Assassin Too, and may play a more decisive role among the displacement boats with the well-performed Mooneyes, which he acquired from Ken Smith’s disbanded Seymour stable, and which is being rebuilt.
Conversion to anti-clockwise means boats competing tomorrow will have to be set to turn anti-clockwise.
As it can take three or four races to get the trim of a boat exactly right, tomorrow there could be some wild and spectacular rides, and a spinout or two.