Victory sweet for power pair

Powerboat winners Brent Dunbar and Tom Hodgkinson.Picture: Matt Jelonek           d441496
Powerboat winners Brent Dunbar and Tom Hodgkinson.Picture: Matt Jelonek         d441496

BRENT Dunbar, usually a surf ski participant at the Avon Descent, won the power boat section this year with partner Tom Hodgkinson from Applecross.

It is the third consecutive win for Hodgkinson who has won the race four times as a power boat participant, the last win being in 1999.

Dunbar said when the duo were side-winded by a rapid and flipped upside-down upstream on Sunday morning they thought it was all over.

�We tried to right it and miraculously when he (Hodgkinso) pulled the engine it started,� Dunbar said.

�But we had some time to make up to cover the ground we�d lost so we headed into Syd�s Rapid with a slightly different strategy to normal, where we had to take some risks to get through it quicker.

�Because we thought it was over and done with, and then we needed to make time back, I guess the victory was sweeter.�

Dunbar said the power boat was a challenging format on the river and the stakes were high.

�One wrong decision can kill the race in a second, and there is more margin for error in a power boat,� he said.

The boat was handmade by Hodgkinson with his father, Jeff, who completed his first Avon Descent in 1976.

It is made from Kevlar, fibreglass, carbon fibre, resin and polystyrene � a bit like a surfboard � and can do 70km/h on the downhill waterways.

The pair�s win was 2 hours 24 minutes and 50 seconds.

�The Avon gods were smiling down on us that day,� Hodgkinson said.

�We had great luck after flipping and then being able to re-start the engine, we thought we might lose a good five minutes after we took the spark plugs out and dried them, but the engine started and we were away.�