Bundy Thunder: a courageous race
TRADITIONALLY, the Wide Bay Australia Bundy Thunder powerboat spectacular races are about excitement, power and big noise. But a tribute race in honour of Larry Martin has been a vital step in healing the rift between a father and the son he left behind.
The men who race displacement boats are a loyal bunch. They never forget. So when Larry Martin, driver of ‘Trojan’, died in a freak accident at the 2004 Wide Bay Australia Bundy Thunder, it was a matter of months before a tribute race was created to preserve his memory.
By 2008 the Trojan Cup was well established as Australia’s premier 6 litre displacement race, and one of two annual races held in honour of Larry Martin.
The other, held by the Upper Hawkesbury Powerboat Club, is known as the Trojan Trophy, and its location is familiar to Jared Martin, who as an only child had watched his dad race for many years before their estrangement.
“I grew up around the water, was a complete water baby,” says Jared, whose early boating experiences have led him to a career with Leigh-Smith Cruiser Sales.
“Dad started racing in early 1980’s in social ski boats and just loved it,” he says.
“He was a machinery operator, and had an earthmoving business on the Sunshine Coast, so his knowledge of engines led to him getting better equipment and going faster.”
In 1990 at the Windsor Spectacular (in New South Wales), Larry Martin won his first Australasian Championship, setting a speed record of 118mile/hour, which stood for eight years. He raced at the first Wide Bay Australia Bundy Thunder meeting in 2002, and did so each year up until his death 2004.
“When he died Dad had been racing for about 19 years,” says Jared.
“He was a very strong campaigner for safety within the sport, to have a fast and competitive, yet safe boat. What happened to him was a freak accident, a piece sheared off his propeller and flipped the boat, and that was the end.”
It wasn’t the end for Jared, who took four years to gain the courage to attend a race meet.
“I ran into a fellow racer by the name of Troy Marland, who with his father Derek drives Haier Madness, and we formed a friendship, and he invited me to help his team,” says Jared.
“They had known dad for years and at the first Bundy Thunder meeting I ventured to in 2008 I met guys who had raced alongside my Dad for some 15 years,” he says.
“I found them very supportive, I can’t thank Derek and Troy enough for allowing me to be part of their team.”
For Jared, the healing process has gone so far as him becoming a fixture in the ‘Madness’ team, travelling all over Australia with the Marland’s as a crew member.
The ‘Madness’ team runs two boats and a team made up of drivers Derek and Troy, pit crew, an engine builder, mechanics.
“Most people who join a powerboat crew start in the water holding the boat – I’m still in the water at the moment,” he says.
“But one of my big goals is to have my own 6ltr injected boat, and to have the Martin name carry on the Trojan Cup, and the family legacy that Dad started.”
The Wide Bay Australia Bundy Thunder is benefitting from funding under the Queensland Events Regional Development Program (QERDP). For a full calendar of events under the program visit www.queenslandevents.com.au
5 reasons to attend the Wide Bay Australia Bundy Thunder
1. It’s Australia’s best motorsport circuit racing on water with teams from around Australia
2. There’s not one but two jam-packed days of high octane racing, with around 30 races per day. Boat classes include Blown Alchohol Displacements (BAD Boats), 6 & 5 Litre Displacements, F1’s, Classic and new Hydroplanes, Unlimited Outboards, 25HP and Juniors
3. There’s waterslides for the kids, on-site catering, an exclusive corporate marquee area, merchandise and natural elevated viewing banks so everyone gets a good view of the action
4. Off water there’s great social and community activities including a display of boats and welcome dinner on the Friday night at Brothers Sports Club, where visitors can meet the drivers and check out the boats up close, as well as a presentation function after racing on the Sunday night at the Sugarland Tavern.
5. Before and after the races, it’s a perfect time to enjoy Bundaberg’s beautiful beaches and experience turtle laying season at Mon Repos Rookery, or visit the Famous Bundaberg Rum Distillery and Bondstore and the new Hinkler Hall of Aviation.
Where to stay in Bundaberg
A wide range of accommodation is available including Coastal Resorts, Motels and Hotels, Caravan Parks, B & B, Self-contained apartments.
5 Fast facts about the Wide Bay Australia Bundy Thunder
1. Voted No 6 (and the top ranked event) in the RACQ 150 Must Do’s promotion in 2009.
2. Racing held at Sandy Hook Reserve, on the Burnett River off Branyan Drive, West Bundaberg.
3. Admission costs $20 per day. Children under 12 get in for free.
4. Proceeds go to local charities and not for profit organizations. Over $500,000 raised has been over the last 9 years, including a record $64,000 for the Leukaemia Foundation in 2008 by the Miss Wide Bay Australia Bundy Thunder Ambassador Quest Entrants.
5. It’s held annually in November, only once a year, so don’t miss it.
For more information on Bundy Thunder visit www.bundythunder.com.au.
For a full calendar of events under the Queensland Events Regional Development Program (QERDP) visit www.queenslandevents.com.au.