OUTBOARDS or inboards? Open hulls or hydroplanes?
If that sounds like senseless motorboating jargon to you, then get down to Lake Wyangan on Sunday afternoon – and prepare to be amazed.
For the first time since 1993 – the year after the Australian Powerboat Association (APBA) combined national championships left Griffith – a true “King of the Lake” will be crowned in an invitational race that will pit the eight fastest boats of the weekend off against each other.
The quickest finishers in the numerous different classes at the three-day tournament will earn the right to line up in the showpiece race, which – while not a championship event – will arguably be the most sought-after title of the weekend.
APBA vice president of inboards Wayne Smith said the King of the Lake represents yet another benefit of the national titles’ return to Griffith, given the Lake Wyangan track can accommodate all makes of boat.
“It’s like a re-grouping – it’s getting all the categories of raceboat back together in the one event,” he said.
“A specator will come along and see every category there is to see in the one event, instead of them being split amongst six different venues and having to choose, as it was in the past.
“One weekend you can be at an Australian championships in Adelaide, the next in Tasmania, the next in Northern NSW – different categories of boat, of course, but from a spectator standpoint you can only afford to choose one or two. Not anymore.”
Smith said the King of the Lake will undoubtably be the race of the day.
“Because of the different advantages and disadvantages of each boat, you never quite know until the fat lady sings who will come on top,” he said.
“The advantage of the cornering speed with the outboards comes up against the advantage of the blown boats, which are capable of doing 150mph in a straight line.
“That’s pretty fast but they don’t turn so well. What you gain in speed, you lose in lap time because you have to slow down so much.
“In the middle is the 6L displacement boats, which probably run at 120mph and can still turn at 112mph. For sheer drivability I’d say one of those would take it out, but you really never know.”
Smith named multiple contenders who he suggested will be right in the running for King of the Lake honours, starting with Jeff Stunell, the current Australian 6L displacement champion and his boat, In Excess, who will have to fend off a strong challenge from Queenslander Craig Lewis on Image to defend his title.
The 6L hydroplane class is also tipped to be hotly-contested with three boats coming from Victoria - one driven by Darren Milgate, fresh off a win on the Hawkesbury River in the Sackpille to Windsor Top End Sprint last month.