Powerboats to converge on Grafton
SOME of Australia’s fastest powerboats will turn the Clarence River into a racetrack next month.
Grafton will host the second round of the Australian Formula Powerboat Grand Prix on February 5-7, with organisers promising plenty of action to thrill local spectators.
Up to 40 boats are expected to thunder along the river on a course to be set up near the end of Prince Street.
Craig Truslove, president of the organising body for the six-round grand prix series that will also see racing in Geelong, Port Macquarie, Townsville and Penrith, said drivers would be fully tested on the Grafton course.
“It will be a six-buoy course, with two buoys at each end and a buoy creating a dog-leg along each of the two straights,” he said.
“The top boats can do speeds about 240km/h-250km/h so we put the dog-legs in to slow them down and make the race more exciting and the turns safer.
“It also increases the level of skill needed by the drivers; it is not just a race for the fastest boats.
“In Grafton it will be about who can set up their boat to best handle the turns and dog-legs, and who can steer their craft the best.”
The high speeds the powerboats can reach means safety is a major concern for organisers.
Drivers sit in a safety cell and have an air supply to last up to five minutes in case they crash and overturn.
Boats will race in three formula divisions and a junior division for racers up to 15 years.
“It will be a great free day for the family,” Mr Truslove said. “In Grafton you can sit on the river bank and never be far from the action.”