The fastest boats to ever race in Australian waters will thunder across Lake Macquarie in a two-day event set to inject more than $10 million into the local economy.
Thousands of speed-hungry spectators are expected to line the northern end of the lake for the October 13 and 14 Lake Mac Big Weekend, which features round two of the 2018 Offshore Superboat Championships.
Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Scot MacDonald MLC said he is pleased the event is returning to Lake Macquarie once again.
“The Offshore Superboat Championships is Australia’s national series for Powerboat racing and promises to showcase the best of the region to a national and international television audience,” Mr MacDonald said.
“Anticipated to attract more than 1100 overnight visitors and inject almost $551,000 into the local economy, the event will be broadcast nationally on SBS in Australia and distributed internationally to New Zealand, China and United Arab Emirates.”
Vessels will reach speeds up to 200km/h during three races – a 20-minute race on Saturday afternoon and two 30-minute races on Sunday.
The jet ski competition – part of the Lake Mac Personal Water Craft Race Series – will keep the adrenaline pumping afloat, with Australia’s top jet ski racers going head-to-head in 30 races across the weekend.
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The 60-plus participants in various classes will reach speeds of up to 160km/h as they negotiate a 3km endurance and 1km circuit course off Lions Park at Eleebana.
Aerobatic displays across the weekend by Matt Hall Racing will turn the crowd’s attention skyward, while back on land, a host of activities, attractions and entertainment will be on offer.
Mayor of Lake Macquarie, Kay Fraser, who took a superboat for a spin at Thursday’s event launch, said that with 12 events over two days, the Lake Mac Big Weekend was one of the Hunter Region’s flagship annual fixtures.
“Past years have shown us how popular this event is, not just with locals but with people coming from outside Lake Macquarie to stay for the weekend,” Cr Fraser said.
“One of the big drawcards 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.”
The Offshore Super Boats are supported and funded by a joint partnership between Dantia – Lake Macquarie’s economic development company – and Destination NSW.
Dantia CEO Peter Francis said the high-adrenaline events represented a huge financial boost to the region.
“We expect over 30,000 people to descend on Lake Macquarie over the weekend, injecting more than $10 million into the local economy,” Mr Francis said.
“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.”
This year’s Big Weekend includes markets on the newly revamped Warners Bay foreshore, and a separate Saturday farmers market at Speers Point Park.
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Speers Point Park will also host a Show and Shine display of hot rods, classic cars and vintage automobiles on Saturday, and a Sunday food and wine festival featuring wine and beer tastings, cooking demonstrations and entertainment.
Marmong Point, which will act as the staging and pits area for the Superboats, will feature a pop-up bar and food stalls, as well as free family water sports.
Superboats organiser Conn Saloumidis said the race circuit was designed to provide great views from around the lake, with large, sweeping corners expected to create great racing drama.
“Each lap is about 6km, and there will be up to $8 million worth of race boats participating,” Mr Saloumidis said.
Warners Bay, Eleebana and Marmong Point are among the best vantage points for the action.
The weekend will kick off with a free “Jet and Jive” concert at Warners Bay foreshore, held Friday evening, 6-9pm.
Parking for the event has been boosted with free parking on offer at Lake Macquarie High School oval in Booragul, and adjacent to Marmong Point Community Hall.
On-street parking near Speers Point Park is available along Main Road and Creek Reserve Road.
Destination NSW is a strategic partner of the Australian Offshore Superboat Championships.
Go to lakemac.com.au/big-weekend for more information and an event program, and follow Lake Macquarie City Council’s social media channels for last-minute event info and program updates.