How the Offshore Superboats Championship was saved
SUPERBOATS will tear through Hervey Bay's open water courtesy of multiple 750 horsepower engines in the last round of the Offshore Superboats Championships this weekend but it almost didn't happen.
The event was cancelled on June 29 when Fraser Coast Opportunities announced the loss of a major sponsor and the event's failure to reach sponsorship goals over the previous three years.
The event, which had been held in Hervey Bay the previous three years, would have to rely on a different kind of power to return.
An outpouring of support for the event from both local businesses and residents followed, but once Hervey Bay philanthropist Warren Persal added $20,000 of his own money to people power, the organisation could not keep away.
Race directer Russell Embleton said it was a difficult process: one that had to happen, but one that could ensure the event's longevity in our region.
"A chain of events happened that showed the town how much they liked us, and just how much we love Hervey Bay," he said.
"It was disappointing but when you're reliant on local support like that, if people don't pull together then that's what you end up with.
"We tried a few things but it seemed we weren't going to get that support."
When the Chronicle reported Mr Persal's offer on July 1, his representative Steve Coleman said the event brought money into the Fraser Coast.
"We just feel the region can't afford to lose major events," he said.
"This is not a shot at council, not at FCO - we understand they may not have the funds to prop up all of these community events.
"It's all about bringing up the community spirit."
Embleton said Persal's support spurred several other businesses to get behind the event, and from Saturday 12 boats will contest the final round of the national championship.
"We've got 12 boats (24 drivers), and two of the 12 are from New Zealand," he said.
"It's the final round of the Australian Championships and the Trans-Tasman Challenge.
"The Trans-Tasman Challenge is on a knife's edge. I think all three classes are up in the air - if the boats that are leading fail or run into some trouble that could throw it wide open."
The control centre will be set up near Enzo's and opposite the Beach House Hotel in Scarness.
Spectators will be able to see the action from any point on the Esplanade between Queens Rd and Fraser St.