Mal McColl wins 2018 Dargle Winter Spectacular King of the River, Gold Cup titles

MAL McColl emerged winner of both the Dargle Gold Cup and King of the River Invitation at the Dargle Winter Spectacular at the weekend, edging out some rivals who were hot on his heels.

Mal McColl in 'The Chase' races against Brent Lewis in 'Decision' on Saturday. Picture: Geoff Jones

Mal McColl in 'The Chase' races against Brent Lewis in 'Decision' on Saturday. Picture: Geoff Jones

Drivers came from across the state and country to participate in one of the Hawkesbury’s biggest boat racing events.

As much as the weather tried to put a dampener on it, it didn’t, with light showers on and off throughout the day on Saturday it wasn’t enough to stop the racing and Sunday was a better day.

Both days of racing started off with the Formula Futures who put on a great display of racing and showed everyone why they are the future of the sport.

Following the young drivers, it was into the senior classes. The 550cc, Superstock 105 and the Mono classes all had close races which kept the robust winter crowd entertained.

There were some new names added to the major trophies this year, with some of the favourites encountering mechanical issues. There were were some very happy drivers and teams ready to take their place.

Paul Vella from Laughtondale in his ‘Impatient’ hydro had to drive his way around the tough competition to win the Chiquita Cup 5.2ltr Open race.

Vella also won the Hyper 5 series round. It was the last round of the Hyper 5 series, and he finished second overall in the series, which was won by Neil Ryan from Taree in ‘Untamed Lady’. Third in the series was Ebenezer resident Brian Sherry in ‘Rapt’ who had an excellent weekend and along with Brian’s son, Hayden, who he shared the boat with. They provided some of the best on water entertainment of the weekend pushing the KT to its limits as did East Kurrajong resident Dylan Greentree who had his KT ‘Tunnel Vision back on the water after a long hiatus.

Adam Wood in ‘Trouble’ won the much sought after ‘John Rocky Allen Trophy’. Wood also made Paul Vella work hard to win his Chiquita Cup as Wood was only inches behind Vella and Justin Frankham in ‘Quiver was 3rd in both the Chiquita Cup and the John Rocky Allen.

The Casenails 6ltr Open Trophy was a hotly contested trophy run over point score over the two days. Mikey Johnson from Victoria, who has come of age in ‘Too Addicted’, won the Casenails and had a cracking drive to finish second in the combined Dargle Gold Cup and King of the River races. Craig Lewis in Image from Queensland finished second in the Casenails and a third the Dargle Gold Cup and King of the river race.

The inaugural Queen of the Creek race for the non-qualifiers of the Dargle Gold Cup saw a great field of tunnel boats up against the lone Unlimited boat of ‘Bulldog’ with Jamie McCutcheon at the wheel. McCutcheon had to work for his win, with Sackville resident Matt Peck in ‘Octane Racing’ and DVBC member Simon Troy in ‘888 Racing’ close behind.

Mal McColl won both the King of the River and the Dargle Gold Cup at the weekend. Picture: Geoff Jones

Mal McColl won both the King of the River and the Dargle Gold Cup at the weekend. Picture: Geoff Jones

The Stuart Doyle NSW Unlimited Displacement Trophy was won by Tate Ramsey from Victoria driving his inform ‘Zenith’ to a much deserved win, ahead of Jamie McCutcheon in ‘Bulldog’ and young Jayden Mayfield from Maraylya driving LM Racewear for his Grandfather in a fine third.

Chris Pugsley in Shananigans was fastest qualifier for the race but had a rare glitch and spun in the first corner and Dean Barry in the ‘She’s the Culprit’ also had issues in the race and didn’t finish - but the crowd was on its feet for the whole race as Ramsey went on for his well deserved win.

The Jack Howarth NSW Unlimited Outboard Championship and the Arch Spooner Australian Unlimited Outboard Championship saw some very fast times in the elimination heats from Tasmanian Todd Leary in King Trailers and Greg Banks in Greg Banks Racing, along with McDonald Valley resident Rhys Coles in Rhys Coles Racing.

Coles electrical issues and the hot field of boats was coming for him. Greg Banks put in a perfect four laps and won the Jack Howarth from Rhys and Todd Leary whose new boat with plenty of testing behind it showed it was all worth it and came third and then went on to a very popular win in the Arch Spooner from Tahlia Wellham in Speed and Leisure and Rhys Coles in third.

The Dargle Gold Cup heats were very hotly contested, and three elimination heats needed to be run to get the field down to a six boat final.

Chris Hearne in the 6ltr Explicit won the first heat, the second heat had to be re-run as Todd Leary in King Trailers and Chris Pugsley had an altercation in the first corner. Leary was able to start the re-run but the Shananigans boat had some minor damage. Leary went onto win the second heat and the third heat was won by Tahlia Wellham in Speed and Leisure.

The six boat final lined up with Todd Leary in pole as the fastest qualifier and Mall McColl, who normally doesn’t have the best of weekends at this home track, was second fastest qualifier in his unlimited boat ‘The Chase’.

On Saturday McColl won the ‘Grandfather Bertie’ Unlimited race and was in fine form - the crowd knew it was going to be the race of the weekend with the two different styles and characteristics of the boats but unfortunately Leary, in his own words, drove into one of McColl’s holes as he turned into the second corner from the inside and rolled the boat. Leary was unharmed and the boat sustained some minor damage.

Time restraints meant there wasn’t enough time to run the Dargle Gold Cup final and the King of the River Invitation, so the decision was made to combine both races and have the same boats line up to take the re-start minus Leary.

At the flag drop of the re-start McColl lead them down the front straight and then Mike Johnson and Craig Lewis gave chase with Johnson getting closer to McColl each lap, but McColl went on to win the race with the crowd showing their appreciation to him, Johnson and Craig for the great race they put on.

Dargle’s Tracey Pugsley said it was an excellent way to finish off two great days of racing.