A local team of Ben Casey (observer), Matt Smith (driver) and Brendan Tidswell (skier) were declared World Champions in the Open Men's F2 class (outboard motor restricted to 300hp) at the 2023 World Water Ski Racing Championships held on Brisbane Waters at Gosford earlier this month.
The opening ceremony for the titles took place on Terrigal Beach on Saturday, November 11 with teams from the USA, Great Britain, New Zealand, Belgium and Australia marching onto the beach.
Teams competed in races over four days, with points from the best of three races contributing to the winning scores.
Races were held at 9am for the Open Women (45 minutes plus 1 lap), at 11am for the Junior Boys and Girls (30 minutes plus 1 lap) and at 1pm for the Open Men (1 hour plus 1 lap).
On two afternoons exhibition races were held.
Jock Casey, 14 year old son of Ben and Sarah Casey, was awarded a wild card entry and skied in the Junior Boys category ultimately finishing 7th in the world.
It was a great achievement as Jock was competing against skiers mostly aged 16 and 17.
Tom Casey, 13 year old son of Ben and Sarah, skied in the exhibition races winning his age race each time.
These races were a very special experience for these two young skiers who acquitted themselves admirably.
The boat for all of these races was The Dragon, a new boat owned by Ben and Sarah.
The 21 GTR hull was built by Bruce and Jeff Stubbs of Labsports Power Boats at Kurnell, with a few "Ben Casey" modifications, and powered by a 300R Mercury outboard motor.
In each race the boat was driven by Matt Smith from Albury, and Ben Casey was the observer.
Matt is a very experienced and accomplished driver and Ben is a master tactician.
The campaign started over a year ago when the decision was made to build a boat that could win a World Championship and Brendan committed to the training and conditioning program required to compete at the elite level.
The Open Men's F2 came down to a nail biting final race.
In the third race Brendan's ski broke and they were not able to finish that race so their final points tally depended on them finishing very well in the 4th and final race.
This they did, accumulating three more points than the second placed team (over a total of 3000 points), and were declared World Champions at the awards and closing ceremony.
All of the boys had an army of family and friends supporting them over the 10 days of the championships. The Tidswell, Smith, Treasure and Casey families are very proud of their world champion sons.