Bert Bate, the VSBC’s old stalwart, was absent this year from the running of “his” cup. Struck down by a heart attack, Bert was in hospital as the event was run.

Before the race it was thought that the event was wrapped up for Don Preece’s rebuilt Pitstop, ex Assassin, ex Kangaroo Kid, ex Hydrophobia, as the only real opposition was Pat Hawthorn’s Black Knight. BK has proved she can beat the old Wickens hull on the right day.

Wrapped up the race may have been, but the alloy cladding on Pitstop’s bottom was not. It came off before the big event and the betting changed.

Harvey Gunn from Gunn’s Gulley in Gippsland hadn’t been told that hydros such as Black Knight, Vulture and Miss Coldstream were expected to win on a course designed for them. He took runabout Combine over the line first and blushed all the way to the prize-giving and the bank.

Les Ramsay repeated his Griffith Cup form in Cheetah, by beating Black Knight.

Among the notable DNF’s was that amazing jet setter Tom Watts. Tom went like a shell for a while and then, as usual, did not finish.

What can you say about a runabout that demolished all the good hydros — that puts the Griffith Cup right back in the melting pot?

Bert Brauman from Horsham, one of Victoria’s largest country cities, has bought one of the old Harborcraft hydros and has fitted a hemi to it. The hull is a twin to Black Knight and with all the bugs ironed out should be a real goer this season — or next.

Despite all the good hydros around, there doesn’t seem to be much that is going to upset the Kiwis and ANZ when they arrive.

Max Richardson is still trying to get the right prop for Kinetic. The Repco Brabham sounds beautiful but doesn’t go too well with no prop.

Big Ray Adams is having plug troubles with the blown 390 ci Ford in Miss Coldstream — when it does fire it sounds great — all he has to do is make sure it keeps firing. From the Dave Gill yard, this boat is strictly conventional in style.

Tony Pennington’s 155 hydro Mortician is getting the name of being the best-looking trailer boat around. It hardly ever gets wet. Tony, striving for perfection, rarely races unless the rig is right — when he does he often wins but his policy of nothing unless it’s okay is getting him lots of broadsides from the other 155 drivers.

OUTBOARDS were few and far between at the Commodore’s Cup but Jack Brown showed up with his tunnel. The inboarders were not willing to race against the tight turning tunnel, bearing in mind a previous accident caused by tunnels turning very quickly, and Jack had to race as a hydro in the 155 Open class — against boats like Screamin’ Eagle.

If the “Eagle” is not the best 2½ litre displacement hull in the world I’d like to see what is. She’s doing more than 90!

AQUACROSS will be given a full trial at Albert Park soon after a successful try-out in late October. Only three boats tried out but the results were very gratifying. The result
seemed to indicate that known slow boats should have a good chance against top liners.

As a guide, the following lap times were recorded around the Albert Park ¾-mile circuit: Ron Leaney in Lotus powered skiff Piranaha, 44.9 secs, Ron Loon in SK Candy, 48.25 and Ian Harvey in hydro Eagle, 41.5 seconds.

At this stage figures may not mean a lot but after the December 4 meeting the scheme will either have failed or succeeded.

If it is a success, the idea will be explained to all Australian clubs via the APBA and SEACRAFT.

Air New Zealand The challenger. Air New Zealand with Keith McGregor on trailer. Score so far: one bad defeat; one very good win at the Nationals — in light water almost a certainty: 348 ci Chev.
Miss Coldstream (Vic). Ray Adams. Very quick when going but consistently suffering from plug troubles: 390 ci Ford. Miss Coldstream
Aggressor Aggressor — the defender (Vic). Dave Tenny. Unlikely to run but if running, unlikely to be beaten: 2000 hp Rolls-Royce Merlin.
Pitstop, ex-Assassin (Vic). Don Preece. Completely rebuilt. Good smooth water boat. 426 ci hemi-Chrysler. Pitstop, ex-Assassin
Vulture Vulture (Vic). John Lewis. Untried — designed for rough water. 327 ci Corvette to be replaced by f.i. 350 Corvette.
Combine (Vic). Harvey (Jack the giant killer) Gunn. GRP disp hull with 350 ci Chev. Winner Commodore’s Cup — Dark Horse. Combine
Cheeta. Les Ramsay (Vic). Third in Cup last year — real danger to any boat on any course. Brabham Holden.

Hellyer, Rob, 1972, 'ROB HELLYER REPORTS,'
Seacraft Magazine
, December, p. 95 and 96