I think of Stealers Wheel’s song, “Stuck in the Middle With You”, whenever I come across news regarding Australia’s 99 Psycho Clowns water ski racing team. The Mercury 1350 powered team dominated Round 1 of the 2012 Australian Water Ski Championships, Sunday, September 16. The race was held on Bramble Bay, North of Brisbane.
In seeing some of the photos regarding the event, I’m thinking 99 Psycho Clowns skier, Wayne Mawer, had his own version of the epic tune going through his head. “Clowns in front of me, racers to my right – here I am….” You truly have to respect these guys for what they’ve accomplished.
Imagine racing a 21-foot boat in which our potent quad cam, four valve 1350 sterndrive takes up half of the interior! That’s gotta be a rush on its own. Now think about strapping a board under your feet and hanging on as the twin turbocharged engine, producing 1300 lb. ft. of torque, pulls you across the water at speeds never before seen from a production sterndrive. Then, throw a bunch of competitors into the mix! It takes a lot of courage and talent to race on smooth water. Now, add some messy weather. Water ski racing in the rough requires a whole new skill set.
The 1350 powered 99 Psycho Clowns started the weekend by winning Heat One of qualifying before a steering issue forced them out of the water. Upon their return, they were forced to start in the second wave of Race One. Team driver, Daniel McMahon, fought through the field to beat pole sitter, True Blue, by just five seconds – with Superman finishing third.
The Clowns sat in second position at the start of Race Two. McMahon, Ian Baker (observer) and two-time world champion skier, Mawer, displayed some incredible maneuvers to eventually pass Superman to capture their second consecutive checkered flag. Burnin rounded out third.
The team’s performance is even more impressive knowing the new boat and engine were first tested only few days before the event. The boat started life as a 21S Force. Seaquest Performance, a Queensland-based Mercury Racing Dealer, carefully modified the hull and installed a Mercury 1350 engine package.
“The combination of 99 Psycho Clowns and Seaquest Performance is really impressive. They’ve put a great boat on the water and there’s a lot of talent there to get it across the line,” said Guy Williamson, Mercury’s “Down Under” Director of Service and Quality. “The Mercury QC4v package is just superb with awesome power and reliability which is exactly what you need to win these major titles,” Williamson said.
The final two rounds of the 2012 Australian Water Skip Racing Championship take place in Corio Bay, VIC (November 24-25) and Newcastle NSW, (January 26-27, 2013). With 50 points, the 99 Psycho Clowns team leads the championship points chase – followed by Superman with 42 and Burnin with 38.
Kudos to the Australians for marching to our famous slogan, The Race Never Stops! It seems weather doesn’t stop these hard core competitors, either. Bravo to the teams for putting on a heck of a show. One cannot help being impressed with these skiers for hanging on and enduring what had to be a heck of a ride!