An action-packed race weekend is expected as the state’s top inflatable lifeboat (IRB) racers descend on Bulli for Round 2 of the Sharkskin NSW IRB Premiership in 2022.’
Caves Beach and Kiama Downs SLSCs showed they will once again be the teams to beat after finishing first and second in the points tally in Terrigal in Round 1, with just 15 points difference between the pair but positive results across the board for several teams means there is plenty to race in the Illawarra.
Hoping to make the most of their local knowledge, the Helensburgh Stanwell Park team – led by team manager Anthony Ashley – is confident to build on what they have called their best race weekend 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,” said Anthony.
“It’s funny because we’re in Stanwell Park, we can surf a lot, and when it’s too big, we go to Bulli to train, so it’s like our second home.
“We are confident to throw everything to the wind and see how we go.”
Anthony was a true testament to the value of the IRB Premiership, praising the series as the foundation for a rapidly developing youth core at Helensburgh Stanwell Park.
“That first year, when there were only four of us, I was the youngest at about 39,” he laughed.
“The rest would have been in their late 40s, early 50s, but now we have this team of juniors coming through, and it’s going really strong.
“We have 16 and 17-year-olds acting as patients who also push it and want to make progress.
“The other great thing: We do a lot of emergency calls on our beach, so part of starting the team was to build up the skill levels, and it’s improved three times since we started.
“The confidence to go out into the surf in all conditions, the byproduct of racing, has been fantastic.
“The numbers in our club’s IRB area have easily doubled since 2018. We have made great strides.”
As the team progresses, heading into round 2, there is a clear target for Helensburgh Stanwell Park.
“The last few years, it’s been about KD (Kiama Downs) and Caves (Beach), but if you look at the middle group, the best of the rest is up for grabs,” said Anthony.
“Our private goal is to boost Coogee like we did last round – we train a lot together, and I think they are getting nervous.”
POINTS FOR 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