The 2016 Red Bull Dinghy Derby has officially wrapped, following an epic showdown of speed, spray and high-octane action in Renmark, South Australia. Local favourites, Matt Thur and Shane Palat, took out the coveted championship, the first Derby win for Thur following years of tight competition. Close behind were 2015 champions, brothers Kyle and Ryleigh Pfitzner, who came in second followed by Cliff Glover and navigator Trevor Kelly who took home third place.
Reaching incredible speeds of up to 90km per hour, the dinghy driving dare-devils took off from 10:00AM and manoeuvred through a 90km+ course, complete with narrow creeks, logs, tree stumps and other high-speed boats. Team Thur/Palat finished the course in 01:16:04, following by the Pfitzners at 01:17:41 and Glover/Kelly at 01:22:28 – an incredible show of speed, endurance and most importantly, knowledge of the local river system.
Driver of the 2016 winning team, Matt Thur, was ecstatic when he came across the finishing line. 'After 10 years of effort…the crowds are amazing, it's overwhelming… there's no other buzz like it," Thur said, straight after coming off his winning dinghy.
In its 36th year, the 90km+ event was bigger and bolder than ever. Where last year's event saw approximately 60 boats in the race, the 2016 Derby saw 92 souped-up dinghies across seven classes, race through the Murray River and surrounding creeks of Renmark, South Australia. This year, the Derby even went national with competitors travelling from as far as Western Australia and Queensland to compete in the Riverlands' most famous spectacle.
The hot competition brought out the crowds, with the river front and key vantage points, including -carnage corner', lined with spectators keen to grab a glimpse of the action. They enjoyed the fruits of extensive training undertaken by the Dinghy teams, who train year-round in the hopes of getting an edge over other teams.