It may be a long weekend but there’ll be no time for relaxation for the state’s best Inflatable Rescue Boat (IRB) racers, with Broulee on the NSW Far South Coast playing host to Round 3 of the 2022 Sharkskin NSW IRB Premiership.
The two hottest teams in the state will put it all on the line in the fight for first place, with both Kiama Downs and Caves Beach hoping to head home with a leg up on the opposition heading into the final race round in a fortnight.
Nothing separates the Hunter and South Coast clubs after tense battles at both Terrigal and Bulli over the last month, with each having picked up an overall round win and a second place.
As things stand, the pair have earned 18 points and with a further 10 up for grabs for the round winner, anticipation is building for a blockbuster weekend of racing.
Bringing the pressure from behind will be Terrigal and Newport, who sit seven and eight points adrift respectively and will be hoping for a slip up from the big teams to keep things interesting heading into the final round.
While the prospect of a final regular season round with two teams duking it out at Ocean Beach in a fortnight is tantalising, Terrigal SLSC’s Bronte Bagala says the royal blue caps have their sights set on turning the competition on its head.
“Everyone has been training really hard because we want to come into this round and keep placing first in the events we do well, like our female team who is tying first with North Cronulla,” she said.
“We’d love to place first overall in that, it’s the first time ever we’ve been doing that, but we’re hoping to get a second this weekend in the overall points, obviously first as well would be nice, but we’d love to test them.”
Having fallen outside the top three in their home race at Terrigal, the team found themselves in more familiar water in the Illawarra where their strong performances saw them leapfrog Newport and kept them within shouting distance of an overall victory.
“We’ve been really focussing on our starts and our turns,” Bronte continued.
“I think the first round was challenging for everyone with the swell but we overcame that, the main thing we’re worried about this weekend is the cold.
“We haven’t been to Broulee – the furthest we’ve been is Batemans Bay a few years ago. It’s a six-hour drive and we’ve hired a bus which will be fun.”
Driving the team towards success is their camaraderie, which has developed quickly over a short time.
“The team is really well gelled, the way they’re acting as a team and working together has been so strong this year,” Bronte said.
“You have to be really connected with the people in the boat as it’s such a high-speed sport.”
POINTS TALLY AHEAD OF ROUND 3:
Caves Beach 18
Kiama Downs 18
South Maroubra 4
North Cronulla 4
Avalon Beach 2
North Avoca 0
Helensburgh Stanwell Park 0
Bungan Beach 0
Ocean Beach 0
Wednesday 8 June 2022