Some of Australia’s fastest boats will hit Lake Macquarie as part of an action packed – and free – 48 hours of events this weekend.
The second round of the 2018 Offshore Superboat Championships, near Marmong Point, will be one of 12 Lake Mac Big Weekend events expected to attract 30,000 people and inject $10 million into the city’s economy.
Vessels will hit speeds up to 200km/h in three events – a 20-minute race at 1.20pm on Saturday and two 30-minute runs from 11am on Sunday.
Superboat driver Darren Nicholson, a Valentine resident, will be hoping for a strong result in front of his home crowd to keep his team at the top of the Australian Championship leaderboard.
Meanwhile, jet ski riders will compete in 30 races across the weekend and Australia’s only Red Bull Air Race Team, Matt Hall Racing, will take to the skies to keep the full-throttle action going.
Lake Macquarie mayor Kay Fraser had the chance to get behind the wheel for a hot lap of the lake in Nicholson’s boat on Thursday, where she reached speeds of more than 160km/h.
Climbing out of the vessel afterwards she said the experience was “so good”.
“It’s great to steer,” she said as she stepped off the superboat onto another vessel to take her back to Marmong Point Marina. “I loved it. I want one.”
Warners Bay, Eleebana and Marmong Point are expected to be the best vantage points for the superboat and jet ski events.
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Aside from the racing action, there will plenty of other things to see and do – including a show and shine, food and wine festival, markets and a concert at Warners Bay foreshore.
Peter Francis, CEO of Lake Macquarie council’s economic development organisation Dantia, said the weekend would bring an economic boost to the tune of $10 million to the region.
“Importantly, the event will showcase the region to a national and international audience and will support local businesses by bringing visitors and increased spending into Lake Macquarie,” he said.
Cr Fraser said the annual big weekend had become one of the Hunter Region’s flagship fixtures.
“One of the big draw cards of the big weekend is that it’s all free, but people who come for the event spend money on accommodation, food and entertainment and this has significant benefits for the local economy,” she said.
There will be on-street parking near Speers Point Park along Main Road and Creek Reserve Road. Free parking will be available at Lake Macquarie High School’s oval and next to Marmong Point Community Hall.
Visit the Lake Mac Big Weekend website for the full program.