The why and how of ski racing explained
IT'S hard to tell where Jason Loeskow finds the time and energy to build a boat capable of speeding across the water at 100mph with a pair of skiers in tow, and sometimes he even doubts himself why he bothers.
This weekend at Sandy Hook in round one of the Ski Racing Queensland 2014-15 season Loeskow will pilot his boat, Quick Decision, with Matt Curry in the observer's seat and skiers Adam Forgacs and Logan Dewar hanging on for dear life up against some of the best boats and crews in the world.
After a disastrous 2012-13 campaign plagued with engine problems, Loeskow took last season off and there has been many late nights spent in his shed with the gentle hum of fluoro lights the only thing keeping him company as he builds stronger, more reliable engines.
Up against boats with twin-turbo V8s churning out 1500hp Loeskow knows his 690hp-small-block Chevy pales in comparison but there's no chance he won't be lining up on the banks of the Burnett River.
"Its tough behind a small boat and we are up against the best of the best," Loeskow said.
"We compare it to footy - if you had to go and play against Hawthorn and St Kilda every weekend you'd go down there banging your head against the wall.
"And you'd say 'I've lost again, I haven't just lost I've got really flogged' and you come back home, get your thoughts together and try again."
Loeskow is keen to make amends for 2012-13 and to stop a repeat performance he took his engines to Tremaniac Race Engines which is run by Aaron Tremayne, the ex-Bundaberg national Pro Stock drag racing champion.
With the engine bolted to a dyno at the Tremaniac workshop and a few adjustments made, Loeskow has 50 extra horsepower at his disposal and hopefully a more dependable powerplant.
And with the extra power Loeskow said the goal of improving was already reached. "(We turn up every week with) just the belief you can get there, every race we go and do, we do things better whether it's boats or skiers, always trying to go faster," he said.
One of the skiers, Forgacs, had some great results in 2013 - one of the best performances was the win in 2-Up Unlimited Outboard class behind Col Patterson's boat SLAB - and he said he is looking forward to another great year despite knowing the change in boats is going to be tough.
"I'm pretty confident coming into the season - we've got a new engine in the boat and it's the first season stepping up to an inboard so we'll how it goes," Forgacs said.
"Where you've got to wait for the outboard to wind up this (the power of an inboard engine) is pretty much there.
"You get a bit nervous because when Jason (Loeskow) wants to turn he leaves a power wash that's about a foot high and when you hit that when you're doing a bit of speed it can be a bit ugly.
"I have tried to tell him (to drive differently) but it doesn't really matter to him - to him I'm only a skier."
And Loeskow said he wanted his skier to do one thing in response to his driving style. "He'll harden up eventually - there's plenty doing it a lot harder than we are," Loeskow said.
Where: Sandy Hook.
When: Saturday noon-4pm, Sunday 8am-noon.
How much: Free.
What's there: Bar, canteen.