EC Griffith Cup draws near

EC Griffiths Cup
Powerboat racing enthusiasts on both sides of the Tasman will no doubt be looking forward to this year’s running of the historic EC Griffith Cup, which is set to attract a solid contingent of New Zealand’s fastest boats to Australia's Lake Mulwala, at Yarrawonga on the NSW/Vic border, from April 29 to May 1.

The Victorian Speed Boat Club is partnering with Yarrawonga Mulwala Tourism for the 2016 Yarrawonga Mulwala Tourism EC Griffith Cup, and already it looks like the Kiwi contingent will be one of the strongest in recent years.

The EC Griffith Cup is one of the world’s oldest motorsport trophies. Its history dates back to 1912, when speedboat enthusiast Earnest Charles Griffith donated a silver hand-beaten cup for the Australasian Motorboat Championship, held in NSW. Traditionally a contest between Aussie and Kiwi teams, the very first EC Griffith Cup race was held in 1913 at Manly in NSW and became an annual event, hosted by the defending champion’s country.

A stellar line-up of champion teams is preparing to compete for the 103rd running of the EC Griffith Cup, with four Kiwi teams on their way over in an attempt to carry the trophy back across the ditch. The Lupton clan will arrive in full force, with Warwick, Ken and Jack Lupton bringing their fleet of Annihilator GP hydroplanes, while fellow Kiwi David Alexander with his GP hydroplane The Steeler is another hot contender.

The four fiercely fast machines can expect to meet some stiff competition, though, with the Aussie teams ready to keep the cup here. Five-time EC Griffith Cup champion Grant Harrison is back to defend his title with GP1, having taken the cup off the Kiwis in 2012. Harrison is looking forward to the race and welcomes the tough competition coming from the home-grown teams and from New Zealand.

Fellow Aussie teams ready to ruffle Lake Mulwala’s tranquil waters include Ron and Craig Burton with Warlord, Wayne Smith racing Miss Tina Breeze, Ricky Howard racing Mystic Miss, Ian Bryant’s Mathemagic and Liam Holland’s Desperado.

Spectators will be treated to two full days of racing, with the Les Spears Memorial for Unlimited Displacement boats, the hotly contested Jack Kavanagh Memorial for 6lt Displacement, and Australian titles for many classes of boats, including the Formula Future boats driven by 12- to 16-year-old budding stars of the future.

This spectacular weekend is free for spectators and will come to a close on Sunday with the Mulwala Water Ski Club Yarrawonga Gold Cup, which sees the two fastest hydroplanes, the two fastest unlimited displacements and the fastest outboard tunnel boats compete in an exciting, adrenalin-fuelled race.

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EC Griffiths Cup
Defending champion Grant Harrison (top) will race in GP1 (left).

EC Griffiths Cup
(Below) Look out for the Kiwi Lupton family …