An action-packed weekend of racing is expected when the state’s best Inflatable Rescue Boat (IRB) racers descend on Bulli for Round 2 of the 2022 Sharkskin NSW IRB Premiership.
Caves Beach and Kiama Downs SLSCs showed they’ll be the teams to beat once again after finishing first and second in the points tally at Terrigal in Round 1, with just 15 points separating the pair, but positive results across the board for a number of teams means there is plenty to race for in the Illawarra.
Hoping to make the most of their local knowledge, the team from Helensburgh Stanwell Park – led by team manager, Anthony Ashley – is confident of building on what they’ve labelled their best weekend of racing since their first Premiership event four years ago.
“Terrigal was really good for us – it was probably one of the best results since we started in 2018,” Anthony said.
“It’s funny, being at Stanwell Park we can have big surf and whenever it’s too big we go down to Bulli to train, so it’s like our second home.
“We’re quite confident to throw it all to the wind and see how we go.”
A true testament to the value of the IRB Premiership, Anthony praised the series as the foundation for a rapidly developing Helensburgh Stanwell Park youth core.
“That first year when we had just the four, I was the youngest at about 39 then,” he laughed.
“The rest would have been late 40s, early 50s, but now we’ve got this team of juniors coming through and it’s going really strong.
“We have 16 and 17 year olds acting as patients pushing it along as well, wanting to progress.
“The other great thing – we do quite a lot of emergency call outs at our beach so part of starting up the team was to build the skill levels up, and it’s enhanced triple since we began.
“The confidence to go out in the surf in any conditions, the bi-product of racing, has been fantastic.
“The numbers just in the IRB area of our club have easily doubled since 2018. We’ve come on leaps and bounds.”
As the team continues to progress, heading into Round 2, there is a clear target for Helensburgh Stanwell Park.
“In the last few years it’s been about KD (Kiama Downs) and Caves (Beach), but you look at the middle bunch and the best of the rest is really up for grabs,” Anthony said.
“It’s our private target to give Coogee a bit of a nudge like we did last round – we do a lot of training together and I think they’re getting nervous.”
POINTS TALLY AHEAD OF ROUND 2:
Caves Beach 128
Kiama Downs 113
South Maroubra 32
Avalon Beach 30
North Cronulla 25
North Avoca 22
Helensburgh Stanwell Park 10
Bungan Beach 3
Ocean Beach 0
Wednesday 25 May 2022