For the second year the Audi IRC Australian Championship will be a single event staged in conjunction with one of the nation’s pre-eminent regattas, this time the Festival of Sails on Geelong’s Corio Bay, January 24-28.
As always, prizes supplied by luxury German car manufacturer, Audi, the Principle Sponsor of the Championship and also a long-time supporter of Australian sailing, will only enhance the appeal for those teams planning to challenge for the national title.
At the conclusion of racing, the winners of classes A, B and C will be presented a letter confirming their prize of an Audi branded Code 2 spinnaker, proudly produced and supplied by North Sails Australia, along with a custom designed Audi IRC Australian Championship trophy.
Second placegetter’s receive an exclusive dinner or lunch for two people at either Matt Moran’s Sydney or Brisbane restaurant ARIA or Shannon Bennet’s Vue De Monde in Melbourne.
Third placegetters in each class will receive an Audi Sailing Sport team ‘uniform’ including sailing jackets, polo shirts and sailing caps.
Audi’s General Manager of Marketing, Kevin Goult, said the company is looking forward to the on-water action of the Championship, and the ongoing support of the sailing community for this annual award.
“We are pleased to support the Audi IRC Australian Championship as part of our sailing sport sponsorship. We believe it’s a critical part of the competitive Australian sailing landscape and an important challenge for Australia’s best sailors. To be crowned the best-of-the-best in any competitive sport is a great honour,” Mr Goult said.
“Our continued support of this national championship complements our involvement as a major co-sponsor of the Australian Sailing Team and a corporate partner of Yachting Australia,” Mr Goult added.
Marcus Blackmore’s TP52 Hooligan is returning to defend its short-lived Class A title awarded at Audi Hamilton Island Race Week just last August.
Blackmore staked his flag saying at the time of entry for this year’s championship, “We only get to savour the glory for a few months…we’ll have to win it again”.
With a heavy program of Sydney racing, Class B 2012 Audi IRC Australian Championship winners at Hamilton Island, Darryl Hodgkinson’s blue ribbon Beneteau First 45, Victoire, won’t be returning to defend, leaving the competition wide open.
Fresh off the back of a second overall in IRC division 2 of the Club Marine Pittwater to Coffs Harbour ocean race, Hodgkinson says there was too much else going to have put a feasible Victorian program together in January 2013. However, he looks forward to having another shot in the future.
Roland Dane’s current Class C IRC Champion, his Corby 36 Jessandra II, will also be absent from the starter’s list due to the owner’s commitment to his other love, motor racing. This gives those smaller and lower rating IRC boats a real championship window of opportunity.
Owners contemplating entering the four-day Audi IRC Australian Championship, which will be fought on the fast flat water of Geelong’s Corio Bay from Thursday January 24, have until 5:00pm this Friday 11 January to lodge an entry before a $100 late entry processing fee will apply.