A racing boat driver escaped with minor injuries after he was thrown from his boat during racing at Lake Eppalock on Sunday.BRONWYN BEYERS November 28, 2012 4:34am
Mike Smith from Adelaide was racing his 25HP class outboard speedboat Obsessed on Lake Eppalock during Sunday’s final for the annual Lake Eppalock Gold Cup when his boat flipped and split in two, flinging the driver into the water.
‘‘The wind picked up pretty quickly while we were racing and when I was coming around the blue marker I hit a wave,’’ Smith said.
‘‘It split the hull and I ended up in the water, but the boat just sank.’’
Smith suffered a minor cut to his leg and bruising, but said he was otherwise unhurt by the incident.
‘‘I’m a bit sore and I guess it’s gonna hurt more tomorrow, but I’m okay,’’ he said.
The annual Gold Cup event enjoyed fine weather and calm water for racing on Saturday and early Sunday, but when the wind picked up suddenly on Sunday afternoon during Smith’s race, officials and other drivers became concerned that conditions were no longer safe for racing.
‘‘I actually crashed after the officials put up the red flag because the conditions got so bad they decided to stop the race,’’ Smith said.
‘‘I was a bit disappointed because I was coming first, but the officials did the right thing because it was getting pretty bad out there and then I hit that wave.’’
Rescue crews rushed to the scene of the accident and lifted Smith out of the water on a back board as a precaution, but Smith said he was more concerned about his boat, which had already sunk by the time crews reached him.
‘‘The boat itself is a write-off, but crews are out diving for it so we hope to salvage the engine and I’d really like to get the steering wheel back as well,’’ Smith said.
Officials said the race was stopped a few seconds before Smith’s crash when it was clear the sudden turn in conditions on the water was impacting driver safety.
Further racing was abandoned.
With the annual SpringNats festival coming to Shepparton Showgrounds this weekend, police have issued a timely warning for drivers.
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