PAIN from a shoulder injury sustained in a rugby league trial wasn’t enough to prevent Ryan McIntosh from winning two Australian championships at Taree Aquatic Powerboat Club’s Easter Classic.
McIntosh, 40, damaged the shoulder when playing for Wingham against Dungowan last month. He was toying with the idea of having a run with Crookwell in a memorial game for his dad, Bill, this year.
“But I stuffed my AC the first time I had a run,’’ he said.
The injury was still giving him plenty of grief going into the classic.
“I was strapped in and the strap went right across my collarbone. It was killing me, but you work through that,’’ he said.
However, McIntosh had his most successful meet in his four year driving career, winning two six litre national championships – the Commodore’s Cup and the Griffith Boat Club Cup, in his boat, Lock n Load. While they were both satisfying, McIntosh believes his best performances came against open boats, where he was second in the Eastaway Shield and the Liberty Cup.
“I can get up to 125mph – the open boats can go 140 to 145mph,’’ he explained.
Both six litre finals went to plan, with McIntosh a clear winner.
McIntosh said it’s been a frustrating campaign this year.
“I’ve been making finals and then running into trouble,’’ he said.
He then had to sort some mechanical problems out after practice last Friday.
“My team worked overnight and we fixed everything in time for racing on Saturday,’’ he said.
However, McIntosh hasn’t enjoyed a lot of luck racing at Easter in Taree, so that made his performance even more satisfying.
A former champion barefoot water skier, McIntosh has been around boats for most of his life. He turned to driving powerboats when injury forced an end to his skiing days.
He said the adrenaline rush from racing is an attraction. But so is the camaraderie associated with the sport.
“I just love it,’’ he said.
“I can get away racing with my family and my mates. It’s just like going away to play footy.’’
His wins at Taree rate as his best to date, although he did take out a major six litre memorial race in Queensland a couple of years back. He intends to be behind the wheel for a few more years yet, but said it is unlikely he’ll be moving out of the six litre class.
“Naw, I can't afford that – I’d need to have three butcher shops,’’ the principal of McGrath Meats in Taree laughed.
He played with the Wingham Tigers for many years and is still associated with the club as a trainer. However, the shoulder injury means it is almost certain he’s had his last game in the black and gold Wingham strip.