Craig Truslove’s Formula One powerboat in action last year.
Craig Truslove’s Formula One powerboat in action last year.

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.”



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