Harrison out to win tenth title
Victorian powerboat racer Grant Harrison with his GP1 hydroplane is desperate to win back one of the oldest trophies in the power boat racing sport when he takes on all-comers for the EC Griffith Cup this weekend.
Last year Harrison was unable to defend his title due to an engine break down resulting in Desperado winning in convincing fashion.
But Harrison is quietly confident he can take back and win his 10th coveted EC Griffith Cup in a town he likes to call his second home.
Harrison has spent months fine tuning and preparing his GP1 for the EC Griffith Cup and will bring two engines up to Yarrawonga to ensure there is not a repeat of last year.
“I love coming and racing in Yarrawonga. I love the water up in Yarrawonga and have spent 40 years holidaying there.
“It would be great to win my tenth (EC Griffith Cup) in Yarrawonga. It is bloody hard to get one but to win ten will be very special.”
If Harrison is victorious this weekend, he will equal Rob Saniga’s record of 10 cups which he won during a dominant era throughout the 1970s and 1980s in hydroplane boats Stampede and Miss Bud.
It’s a fine art of driving such big boats at high speeds of up to 280km/h. The aim is that the less time the hull spends in contact with the water, the less friction or drag it has to deal with and the faster the boat goes. The flipside is that there’s a very real risk the boat will lose contact altogether.
Complicating the scenario is that there are likely to be several other boats rushing around in very close proximity, all vying for the lead. Visibility is hampered by giant 50m high walls of water called ‘roostertails’ and waves and wakes can make life in the cockpit interesting, to say the least.
Harrison has had a few close calls over the years, but like most racers, the urge to compete keeps him coming back for more.
This year it appears he has come even more prepared than ever but is a realist and understands anything can still happen.
Harrison believes his biggest rival this weekend will be three-time EC Griffith Cup winner Warlord.
“I hope we are battling it out in the final, it will be a great spectacle for everyone.”
EC Griffith Cup goes way back to 1912, when Sydney boating identity, Charles Earnest Griffith donated the cup, beginning more than 100 years of trans-Tasman rivalry on the water. The winning country also has host rights and Australia has been in possession of the cup since 2012.
The Harrison family are somewhat of an institution in the sport and have dominated the sport with a boat that is equal to the best in the world.
Harrison’s father Keith, himself an accomplished powerboat champion, has managed to snatch it from the Kiwis once as a driver and five times as team owner. Grant Harrison also managed two world titles, being awarded the UIM World Grand Prix Hydroplane Championship.
Event ready to roar
Perfect weather is forecasted for the 2023 EC Griffith Cup Carnival this weekend which will see Lake Mulwala full of excitement and noise with a street parade of boats and race teams, the Yarrawonga Fair on the foreshore, an action-packed aerial show and a full schedule of races for a variety of boat classes over three big days.
Lake Mulwala has a long proud history with power boat racing and in 2010 hosted the World Grand Prix Hydroplane Championships. But on the foreshore Yarrawonga Mulwala Tourism and Business (YMTB) aims to create an atmosphere consistent with the Valley field event in Canada with a side show alley and thrill rides for kids of all ages, food vendors, bar facilities for 18+ and static displays all on offer.
Yarrawonga Mulwala Tourism and Business (YMTB) Executive Officer Noel Wright expects large crowds to again attend this free, threeday event.
“New inclusion, the aerial show will bring in some new interest as Matt Hall is the current Red Bull Air Race World Champion and a former Royal Australian Air Force top gun fighter pilot.
“Matt’s action-packed aerial show over Lake Mulwala will entertain the crowds at the event and offer the public the opportunity to experience the world’s most exhilarating joy flights from the Yarrawonga Aerodrome.”
Matt Hall will also perform aerial stunts including a special show at 12.45pm this Friday with GP1 Hydroplane. For joy flight bookings go to www.matthallracing.com
A unique way to also catch all the boat race action is on The Sienna Daisy cruise boat. It’s the ultimate VIP experience for the EC Griffith Cup Boat Races and there are only 80 tickets sold each day. For more information Stephen Scott on 0438 356 369. For more information on the event contact the Yarrawonga Mulwala Visitor Information Centre on 03 5744 1989.
Big sponsors important for big event
You don’t just see and hear it, you feel it! Thousands of people love the thrill of boat racing and travel from all over to witness it on magnificent Lake Mulwala.
But if it wasn’t for the major support of key sponsors this fantastic event would be elsewhere.
YMTB Executive Officer Noel Wright says the contribution from key sponsors such as the Mulwala Water Ski Club, Glanmire Park residential development, Yarrawonga Holiday Park, Excell Gray Bruni, Kaplan and Sundancer Homes and the Benson Group have played a big part to enable the event to take place. The VSBC have also had key support from the Mulwala Water Ski Club, Moira Shire Council, MSC Signs, Borris Boxer and APBA.