by Craig Heydon
Audi IRC Australian Championship 2011 has come to an end following the completion of the fourth and final event, Audi Hamilton Island Race Week, with three national Audi IRC Australian Champions crowned in 2011.
Audi IRC Australian Championship Class A winner Hooligan
Heavy winds tested the crews from all three classes of the championship at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week with many in IRC Classes A, B and C pushed to their limits in the Whitsunday’s.
Racing in the 2011 Audi IRC Australian Championship kicked off with Audi Victoria Week back in January before the crews headed north for the Audi Sydney Harbour Regatta in March.
Round three had the yachts racing north in the 384 nautical mile Audi Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race before the final hit-out on the waters around Hamilton Island.
The crews competing in the Audi IRC Australian Championship were split across three classes with the use of a new Audi A1 for a year on offer for the three national champions.
Marcus Blackmore’s TP52 Hooligan won Class A, an impressive result in its first season racing in Australia. Blackmore and his crew were consistently at the front of the fleet with their win at Hamilton Island complementing their victories in Victoria and Sydney, and their fourth place in the Audi Sydney Gold Coast Yacht Race.
Hooligan was pushed all the way by Stephen Ainsworth and Loki, who finished three points behind in second overall. Ainsworth was second at Hamilton Island with the result complimenting his second places in rounds two and three, after starting the series with a third in Victoria.
Third place was claimed by Living Doll, owned and skippered by Michael Hiatt, with the Victorian based boat finishing just a point behind Loki after four rounds.
Audi IRC Australian Championship Class B winner Victoire
Class B was won by Darryl Hodgkinson’s Victoire with the crew finishing with a comfortable five point victory over Robert Reynolds’ Exile. Victoire was the leading boat in rounds three and four and was not outside the top three in any of the four events.
Third place in Class B was claimed by Paul Clitheroe’s Balance, who finished the 2011 Audi IRC Australian Championship with their best result of the year, a second place at Hamilton Island.
Audi IRC Australian Championship Class C winner The Philosopher’s Club
The Philosopher’s Club, owned and skippered by Peter Sorensen claimed Class C, with the second at Hamilton Island giving the crew a three point series win over Andy Kearnan’s L’Altra Donna, with Andrew Hurt’s Onya third.
All three national champions were awarded their Audi A1 vehicle at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week 2011. Audi’s managing director, Uwe Hagen, made the presentation to each of the winning crews.
'For Audi, it was a great championship. The crews were highly competitive, highly focused and very competent. It’s exactly the kind of spirited competition that we love to encourage. It makes the events exciting to watch and you always appreciate a win much more if you have to fight for it,' Mr Hagen said.
With racing in the Audi IRC Australian Championship now finished for the year, it’s the perfect time to settle in and relive all of the action.
An eight-part TV series covering the 2011 Audi IRC Australian Championship begins this Saturday, 3 September, on ONE HD at 6pm. The 8-part series runs every Saturday until 22 October 2011.
If you miss the action on Saturday, all eight episodes will be repeated at 5pm on Sundays, with the first episode an ideal way to wrap Father’s Day this Sunday.
Audi IRC Championship website