Friday, August 31, 2007

Hamilton Island Race Week: Audi's Joerg Hofmann presents Viva La

At the Audi Hamilton Island Race Week official prize giving last evening Joerg Hofmann, Audi's managing director, announced that Viva La Vita, owned and skippered by Tony Bates, had been declared the winner of the Audi A4 Avant. Bates was the lucky recipient after being declared winner of the Cruising Division 2 following the final race yesterday, and winning the Audi Drive Challenge held earlier in the week for all competing yachts at the Hamilton Island Airport. While each entry at Race Week had the opportunity to contest the Audi Drive Challenge, only the winners of each division were eligible to win the A4 Avant. On announcing the winner, Mr Hofmann said: "rather than focus on speed, competitors had to drive accurately and consistently during two time trials."  Mr Hofmann continued: "I am very pleased to announce this particular winner.  I was at the Audi Sydney Harbour Regatta in March and he told me he did not drive his car to the final day of that event because he was convinced he was going to win a car!" Bates and his crew from Middle Harbour Yacht Club were thrilled with the major prize. On accepting the keys to his new car, Bates said: "Three of my crew are already driving Audis, so you can see that Audi's sponsorship of sailing has already had an influence. "I'm delighted to win the A4 Avant.  I'm thrilled.  I'd like to thank everyone for a great Race Week; Audi, the Oatley family and all the competitors.  It's been a fantastic regatta."    Other awards were handed out last evening.  The 10-year award, open to yachts that had contested a minimum 10 Race Week's went to Mike Davies (Sandstone), while Best Northern Queensland Boat went to Scaramouche (Graham Smith).  The Prix d' elegance special commendation went to Holy Cow (John and Kim Clinton) and You're Hired (Geoff Morgan and Andrew Banks) won the Prix d' elegance Trophy. Audi Hamilton Island Race Week overall winner, Geoff Ross (Yendys), also won the Boat of the Week award.  Speaking of both wins, Ross, from the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia in Sydney, said:  "This is a great regatta and I have a great bunch of dedicated guys who work terribly hard to get the results we do – my crew. Last night's prizegiving ceremony, hosted by celebrity comedian, Vince Sorrenti, signalled the end of a 219 entry record breaking Audi Hamilton Island Race Week. Island owner, Bob Oatley, told competitors:  "What a week we've had.  Congratulations to Joerg Hofmann and his Audi team; what a job they've done.  Their contribution at Hamilton Island has been great; they've put new life into yachting.  Audi and sailing are very compatible and it's been great to see so many Audis on the Island." Mr. Oatley went on to thank supporting sponsors, UBS and Club Marine.  He also thanked Hamilton Island staff for the effort they had put in to making the week a success. Commodore of the Great Barrier Reef Yacht Club on Hamilton Island and Olympic campaigner for the Australian  Sailing Team (of which Audi is a major sponsor) Iain Murray also attended the prizegiving.   Murray has just returned from the Beijing Olympic test event in Qingdao where he and Andrew Palfrey finished 11th in the Star keelboat. "We're blessed to have places like Hamilton Island to sail at, and great supporters." "Their  (Audi's) sponsorship really has shown – in this room, in the racing and down to the main street," said Murray, who concluded by telling assembled guests that Hamilton Island's new yacht club would be well underway by the time we all returned next August.


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