Collins at home on the water
By STEVE SPINKS
CORAKI'S Jamie Collins believes the prospect of serious injury makes his sport more fun.
Most would say the prospect of serious injury is a good reason not to participate. But Collins is a rare bread.
He is the only water-skier on the Northern Rivers who will be participating in the Coraki Assault Water Ski Race this Sunday which is race four of the NSW and Queensland Combined State Championships. Collins and his Colbalt crew of second skier Peter Monger (Tweed), driver Mark Holden (Murwillumbah) and observer Mark Chapman (Bilambil) are one of the favourites for the Coraki 80km unlimited inboard category.
And they mean it when they call it unlimited.
The Colbalt boat is powered by a 460hp big block Chevy engine which has had a massive amount of work done to it.
According to Collins, the boat is right on the limits of acceptable noise.
"V8 Supercars have got nothing on this thing," he chuckled.
While the top speed of around 160km/h won't be reached during the race at Coraki, Collins and Monger will have to hang on at a top skiing speed of 140km/h.
That speed means serious injury if there is a fall.
"I had a fall recently at the Tweed and I had to have three days off work," Collins said.
"It really hurts. You can't do anything but go along for the ride.
"But we all know the dangers and if you're scared you shouldn't be there."
But even if you don't fall off during the race, at the end of 80kms a skier will still be in a fair amount of pain.
"A race takes about 42 minutes," the 40-year-old said.
"You're in mega-pain when you finish ... you're very tired. You use leg muscles you didn't even think you had."
So you're in pain if you crash and you're in pain if you don't. Why bother?
"The racing and the adrenaline," Collins said. "It's really fun. Just like any other sport, you have your highs and lows."
After lunch today, there will be demonstrations of the boats and skiers and some barefoot drags which will see teams possibly reach 160km/h.
Tomorrow from 9am there will be racing between different categories of unlimited inboard and unlimited outboard boats.
Last year's Coraki Assault winner, Ben Gully, will be competing after recently returning from the World Titles where he picked up third.
The final race of the Combined NSW and Queensland Championships will be at Woodburn in March 2006.
The river will be closed between Coraki and Woodburn from 8am to 1pm on Sunday.