The Waverley Lupton clan will attempt to right the wrongs of the 103rd EC Griffiths Cup in Australia last April when the trans-Tasman hydroplane action resumes at Lake Mulawala Yarrawonga, Victoria this weekend.
Controversy surrounded the running of the 103rd EC Griffiths Cup at Lake Mulawala Yarrawonga VIC last April when Waverley driver Ken Lupton (Lucas Oils) lost his appeal against Australian boat Warlord.
Lupton had the Cup snatched from his grasp after a Victoria Council of the APBA voted to uphold the victory by Troy Marland in Warlord.
The controversy came about on Lake Mulwala, north of Melbourne, when Marland’s hydroplane was alleged by the Luptons to have gone full speed too early on the rolling start – going ahead of the starter boat before the flag dropped.
Warlord won the race, with Ken Lupton second, followed by brother Jack (Rural Fuels GP57) in third, with family patriarch Warwick Lupton (Annihilator) and cousin David Alexander (Steeler) also in the race, along with former Australian cup holder Grant Harrison (GP1).
After the New Zealanders protest, an official committee disqualified Warlord and awarded the race to Ken Lupton, but this was overruled the following day by another Australian referee.
The Victorian Speedboat Council and the Australian Powerboat Association have since agreed to run the 2016-2017 event (104th) this weekend before the New Zealand boats head home for their season here which begins February 11-12 on Lake Karapiro followed by Downtown Tauranga March 4-5.
The Kiwi teams have attended two other race meetings in Australia since April , The Gold Coast in October for the Queensland’s Cup where Ken Lupton in Lucas Oils took the win after finishing strongly all weekend.
Two weeks later at Glen Maggie north of Melbourne the teams lined up again this time to prove to the Aussies they were ready for them. Top qualifier in the shoot-out was Jack Lupton in GP57 with a record 33.7 second lap time on the 2000 metre oval course with his closet rival Australian Harrison clocking 35.0 only just ahead of Ken Lupton (35.9s).
Annihilator Race Boats driver Warwick Lupton was slightly off the pace, but had battled a vibration which he had been dealing with since his spectacular crash at Cromwell last season. He has been in Australia since last Saturday working with engineers to fix the problem.
NZ Powerboat Federation President Denise Preece speaking with Warwick Lupton on Monday said he is confident that they had found the problem.
Alexander in The Steeler remains consistent and reliable and is on target for this weekend’s clash with the Aussies.
The Kiwi Annihilator teams rate their success to local Whanganui engine builder Grant Rivers, owner of Rivers Speed and Spares, who has work tirelessly to get maximum speed out of all their engines.
“The pressure is now on the Aussie teams, last Griffith Cup winner Marland and team mate Harrison this time,” Warwick told Preece.
“The opportunity for a Kiwi win is ours. We do the job right we win and bring the Cup back to New Zealand. We get it wrong and we will get smoked, either way it promises to be a great race,” Lupton said.
Live streaming of the pole draw on the Friday night and the heats and final race can be viewed online on facebook. Go to www.facebook/hydrothundernz for the link which will be posted closer to the event.