Australia has been known for having some wild and crazy forms of moto sport. Recently we brought you the burnout competitions, and now I’ve stumbled into another unique event, the Riverland Dinghy Derby. Like the burnout contest, the Dinghy Derby is fairly self-explanatory, at least assuming that you know what a dinghy is.
A “dinghy” is a small boat usually made out of tin or some other thin metal with an outboard motor on the back. They’re usually used by fisherman or someone looking to putt around in a pond somewhere. However, down under in Australia it’s referred to as a “tinnie” and in no way is anyone “putting” around for this race. Even though the prize for winning is only a “six-dollar” plastic trophy and more importantly bragging rights, these crazy Aussie’s are hauling ass in these little boats.
The outboard motors used for the race start out as a 30hp model, but then after some tweaking in the ol’ home garage most competitors are able to double that to get over 60hp out of these things. Even though it’s only 60hp, that’s a ton of power for a boat that weighs next to nothing. They reach speeds of over 55mph (90km/h) on the straightaways and can carry almost all of that speed through the turns thanks to the co-driver, or “swinger” as they call it, hanging off the side to counteract the weight.
The races are usually held on a course that’s 100km in total, broken into four laps; two short and two long. More than 100 boats show up every year to compete in the Dinghy Derby and it never disappoints when it comes to providing an action packed afternoon of fun for both spectators and competitors. As you can imagine a lot of people take this stuff very seriously, especially the locals. They like to make it very well known that a local should be the winner every year. And that can get tricky when you have as many as 100 boats on the water at the same time fighting it out for the glory of being crowned the Dinghy Derby champion. If you’re unfamiliar with this kind of racing, like I was, take a few minutes and watch some of the highlights from this past derbies.