LAKE Macquarie will come alive this weekend as the roaring sounds of offshore superboats entertain what is expected to be a crowd of thousands.
It is the first time the lake will set the scene for the Offshore Superboat Championships – a high-octane event that brings together some of the best boat drivers in the country.
Billed as the “perfect arena”, the course begins at Marmong Point before heading south to Bolton Point, and east to Warners Bay before turning north to Speers Point.
Each lap is about six kilometres long.
With the boats hitting a top speed of 160 km/h while on water, organiser Conn Saloumidis said the event was bound to turn heads.
The bigger super boats are up to 10 metres long, powered by an outboard V8 motor.
“It is really, really exciting,” Mr Saloumidis said of the atmosphere at a superboat race. “They just sound so sexy – it is the most exciting spectator sport.”
Mr Saloumidis became involved in the sport about 10 years ago after being fascinated by a friend’s racing career.
“I just fell in love with it,” he said on Friday.
This year, Mr Saloumidis will be racing with his daughter, who will use the throttle while he steers.
“We’re racing between Warners Bay shops and Marmong Point Marina, so there are some fairly large sweeping turns that will give plenty of great vantage points around the lake,” he said.
“There will be $12 million-plus racing boats, not to mention their rigs, which are just as impressive.
“You can expect us to create quite a spectacle.”
Mr Saloumidis said event organisers were proud to host the event in Lake Macquarie for the first time, after holding the championship in Newcastle Harbour in previous years.
He said it would be a tourism boon for the city.
“We’re glad to bring our event to the Hunter Region,” he said.
“With the event so close to Sydney, a huge crowd of fans will be travelling up to spend their weekend at Lake Macquarie. We hope to be able to bring much-needed good times to the traders.”
This year’s event will also raise funds for war veterans’ charity Soldier On.
- On Saturday, a pole position shootout will take place between 1pm and 2pm. On Sunday, race one begins at 11am, with race two to kick off at 1pm. Each race is 30 minutes long. The lake will close 15 minutes prior to each race. This is a free event. It can be streamed online via speedonthewater.com, or the Facebook page.