Anger at race smash
Lucky escape for powerboat pair
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 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.
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.
Ross Willaton and Tom Barry-Cotter were involved in a horrific powerboat crash in the UAE.