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Wyldcat

Wyldcat

The Australian Offshore Superboat Club Inc. (OSC) runs races consisting of three classes: Supercat Extreme, Supercat 1000hp, and Supercat Outboard 600hp. The races are held at various locations along the east coast of Australia with the teams racing for national titles. Exhilarating Superboat racing with boats exceeding 150mph are held close to the shoreline to enable spectator viewing.

Supercat Extreme is arguably Australia’s most intense racing class, with the boats belting across choppy bays at 200kph. The engines are capped at specific capacity and rev limits, to help avoid all the injuries and damaged boats that were common occurrences in earlier years.

The Maritimo team had been dominating the Extreme class for 20 years. However, things have changed, when on the 1st December 2019, Hayden Wyld and Andy Smith we crowned first place champions in the Supercat Extreme class – a feat they have pulled off in their very first season together.

Ironically enough, Dynamic Racing, the boat with which Hayden and Andy recently beat the Maritimo team, is actually an ex-Maritimo boat itself. “Dynamic is a bigger boat, at 42-feet, so it performs better than a lot of others in rougher water because of the length and weight. Maritimo’s current boat is only 36-feet, so it can corner and accelerate faster, but if the conditions are rough Dynamic is a faster boat. And choppy conditions are certainly common in shallow bays like Harvey Bay.”

COMMON PASSION FOR RACING

Both Hayden and Andy have come from a water ski racing background, with a string of wins under their belts. Hayden started racing when he was just 12 years-old. He spent a lot of time with his father Tom Wyld, who won the first Pacific 1000 endurance race from Cairns to Southport. Hayden’s uncle, Kevin Wyld, was also a two-time world champion in offshore powerboat racing.

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Hayden found that his passion was water ski racing, and won many Australian titles during his career. Hayden said he was drawn to water ski racing because of the competition, “It’s just so big. We were getting between 300 to 400 boats at each event. It was so competitive. I loved it!”

Andy has been involved in water ski racing for a long time as well. In 2018, Andy entered the outboard Supercat class and won the season in his very first year in it.

Hayden explained how he got into the Supercats. “Andy and I were both a bit bored and missing the fun we had enjoyed in water ski racing. Andy came to me and said he wanted to race Supercat Extreme. He wanted my help to drive for him. It was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.”

RACING TOGETHER

One of the key challenges in Supercat racing is that two people are simultaneously controlling the boat. Hayden steers and navigates the boat while Andy is the throttleman, controlling the speed and monitoring the engine data. As one can expect, splitting the control of the boat between two people only works if they know each other’s racing style and can anticipate what they are going to do.

Story by Narayan Pattison

Even though both Hayden and Andy have intercoms for communicating with each other, they have been getting better and better at learning and anticipating each other’s driving style, as their first season has progressed. “A lot of the time now we don’t even have to talk. When I’m turning, he’s off the throttle and back on it before I know. The more races we do the better we’re getting at it,” Hayden explained.

Andy and Hayden’s first year in the class has been a short one, with only nine races being held so far. The Supercats had met at three locations so far, and held three races at each one over a weekend. More meetings were planned but were not able to be cemented with local councils. The most recent meeting was in Lake Macquarie, where Andy and Hayden had their first outright wins. And with 40,000 people around the lake watching it, they certainly had a good audience.

“We’ve been running consistently seconds and thirds all year. Lake Macquarie was our first outright win, and we won two of the races. But even before our wins, we were actually leading the championship because we’ve been running so consistently. We’ve been getting more and more competitive throughout the season as we get more experienced together, and keep making little tweaks to the boat’s performance. Those things are all adding up.”

As for the future, Hayden is certainly happy racing and running his boat-sales business, Wyld about Boats, but there are still a few things left on the bucket list. He would love to win the coveted ‘Aus 1’ racing title, and to see the Supercats racing around the Gold Coast’s Broadwater. “We’re hoping to have it in the circuit next year. There are plans underway, we just need to find the right location that’s in front of crowds.”

www.facebook.com/dynamicracing128

 

By Narayan Pattison

 

Published in the Jan-Mar 2020 edition.

 

 

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