A race between two in the Sharkskin NSW Inflatable Rescue Boat (IRB) Premiership settles this weekend on the Central Coast, with Kiama Downs or Caves Beach confirmed as series winners when the race finishes at Ocean Beach on Sunday.
The heavyweight IRB clubs have been almost inseparable since the opening round, and the winners should be crowned just under half an hour further from where the racing began in Terrigal nearly two months ago.
It’s Caves Beach who have local success in their minds and in their rear-view mirrors after claiming the lap win at Terrigal all those weeks ago, but Kiama Downs has since prevailed and goes into the race weekend at Ocean Beach with a lead of two points on their Hunter opponents.
Indeed, Caves Beach will need to finish at least one place above Kiama Downs, and that place to get inside the top two – based on the finish point assignment – to have a chance of closing the gap with the leaders.
“We’ve always been lucky to have a strong team at Caves Beach,” said team manager Scott Bryant.
““This is the 19th year of the premiership, and we are the only club to have attended every club. In that time, we have only finished outside the top three once.
“We know that any team that wants to beat Kiama Downs has to be at their best, and we’ll be there this weekend to chase them and push them to their limits.
“A successful weekend for us is winning the round; that’s what we want to do.”
However, Kiama Downs has been insatiable since the opening round, claiming victory at each of the next two in Bulli and Broulee to maintain the upper hand in the battle for the title.
Their most recent win, on the Far South Coast over the June long weekend, came by the premiership’s narrowest margin to date.
“We know it won’t be easy – everyone wants to win, and we are no different. We’re going to take it up a notch, that’s for sure,” said Kiama Downs Team Manager Stephen Strong.
“It’s important that we keep everyone focused on their job, looking at it race by race, not getting ahead of ourselves and letting the racing speak for itself.
“If we get off to a good start and keep up the momentum over the two days, we’ll be happy.
“Hopefully, we can take it out this weekend and celebrate in style.”
Ocean Beach traditionally presents several challenges for racing to other beaches, and both teams will have to navigate through them if they want to become champions on Sunday.
“The forecast is pretty good, the weather is quite mild, not much wind and quite a small surf, so it will depend on the tides and beach conditions and what the sand likes,” Stephen continued.
“We hope for nice smooth sand, better for the ankles and the body.”
“There will be a lot of long runs on hard sand,” added Scott.
“It is a beach where a lot of work on the sand needs to be done. We will race whatever Mother Nature throws, but it will be hard work.”
In the battle for last place on the podium, Terrigal leads the way with 15 points on the board, a two-point gap to Newport, and another three-point lead back to Thirroul – who didn’t race on the opening weekend – and South Maroubra.
OVERALL POINTS FOR ROUND 4:
Kiama Downs 28
Caves Beach 26
South Maroubra 10
North Cronulla 5
Avalon Beach 2
North Avoca 0
Helensburgh Stanwell Park 0
Bungan Beach 0
ocean beach 0
Wednesday, 22 June 2022