Anger at race smash

Lucky es­cape for power­boat pair

Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin - - NEWS - RYAN KEEN AND AMANDA ROBBEMOND

A GOLD Coast boat­ing in­dus­try iden­tity has ver­bally at­tacked or­gan­is­ers of a global power­boat se­ries af­ter a scary “un­nec­es­sary” race smash in­volv­ing his son.

Bill Barry-Cot­ter, the founder of boat build­ing gi­ant Mar­itimo and vet­eran backer of power­boat rac­ing, is fu­ri­ous about the ac­ci­dent which knocked his son Tom Bar­ryCot­ter and co-pi­lot Ross Wil­la­ton un­con­scious.

The Gold Coast pair were com­pet­ing in a UIM XCAT World Cham­pi­onship se­ries event in Fu­jairah, United Arab Emi­rates, when their Mar­itimo Rac­ing power­boat col­lided with Team Aus­tralia on Thurs­day.

Mr Wil­la­ton ended up with wa­ter on his lungs af­ter be­com­ing tan­gled in a manda­tory har­ness – and Bill Barry-Cot­ter said he was lucky he didn’t drown.

Tom Barry-Cot­ter suf­fered a badly bruised spleen, his fa­ther told the Bul­letin last night.

It

IT IS A REAL IS­SUE. IF YOU LOOK AT THE SPORT, IT COULD BE AS GOOD AS FOR­MULA ONE BUT IT ISN’T. THE IN­MATES ARE RUN­NING THE ASY­LUM.

BILL BARRY-COT­TER

is un­der­stood Team Aus­tralia col­lided with Mar­itimo Rac­ing on the first turn of the first lap of the Fu­jairah Grand Prix.

“It is frus­trat­ing be­cause it was so un­nec­es­sary. The trou­ble is the sport is world­wide now but be­ing run by am­a­teurs,” a fu­ri­uos Bill Barry-Cot­ter al­leged.

“It is a real is­sue. If you look at the sport, it could be as good as For­mula One but it isn’t. The in­mates are run­ning the asy­lum.”

Bill-Barry Cot­ter said he strongly dis­agreed with a re­quire­ment for rac­ers to wear har­nesses and it took two divers mul­ti­ple sep­a­rate at­tempts to free Mr Wil­la­ton who was tan­gled in it.

“Rosco was up­side down in the boat in the wa­ter, un­con­scious and Tom was try­ing to get him out. Tom had to move to give a diver room to get in and the first one couldn’t free him.

“An­other diver went in through the cock­pit and man­aged to get him out.

“Or­gan­is­ers have in­sisted on wear­ing har­nesses but it’s the most dan­ger­ous thing you can do,” Bill Barry-Cot­ter claimed, adding last night Mr Wil­la­ton re­mained in hos­pi­tal.

Tom Barry-Cot­ter is a top de­signer at Mar­itimo and power­boat racer while Mr Wil­la­ton is a com­pany vet­eran who over­sees com­pany serv­ing and war­ranties.

Mar­itimo CEO Garth Cor­bitt said it was ex­tremely for­tu­nate the pair did not sus­tain more se­ri­ous in­juries.

“Com­pet­ing at this level on the in­ter­na­tional stage is not for the faint hearted and we are just very grate­ful that Tom and Rossco are both okay,” he said.

In 2012, Mar­itimo won the World Off­shore Power­boat Cham­pi­onships in Key West. The XCAT boats are ca­pa­ble of reach­ing speeds of around 200km/h.

Pic­ture: GLENN HAMP­SON

Ross Wil­la­ton and Tom Barry-Cot­ter were in­volved in a hor­rific power­boat crash in the UAE.

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