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11 October 2006, 02:38 pm
WALKER Still the Best
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Parkland Mazda Australian Youth Match Racing Championship 2006
Perth, Australia

Evan WALKER (AUS) went into the ISAF Grade 3 Parkland Mazda Australian Youth Match Racing Regatta as a clear favourite, but found the going tough early on. But the 2005 ISAF Youth Worlds Champion stormed back in the later rounds, taking the title with a 3-1 final defeat of Luc TASKER (AUS).
WALKER's slow start meant he ended up third on the round robin leaderboard, chasing leader TASKER and Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club's Tom SPITHILL (AUS). However, the fact that WALKER completed the third round robin undefeated was an omen of what was to come.

By virtue of his top finishing position, TASKER had the luxury of selecting his semi final opponent and justified his decision by beating Jamie WOODS (AUS) 3-0. WALKER had a much harder proposition, facing SPITHILL in his semi-final.

Tight Semi

SPITHILL won their heats in rotation, so that at 2-2 it came down to the final race to separate them.

In a hotly contested start, SPITHILL was driven down to the start boat by his rival and having avoided contact, started a couple of boat lengths behind.

In a tough uphill battle, the gap between the two was closed to only two metres, but WALKER remained calm under relentless pressure to take the win and the finals berth.

WOODS Takes Third

In the petit-final WOODS accounted for SPITHILL in two straight races. SPITHILL appeared to have been carrying the effects of his close encounter with WALKER, showing less of the steely determination that characterized his earlier work.

WALKER showed just why he holds a top 60 World Ranking in the final. With Robert GIBBS (who recently moved to Sydney from Perth) working the mainsheet and calling tactics, WALKER recovered from an average start to take control on the first windward leg by out sailing TASKER with straight line boat speed.

TASKER won race two to level the finals, but WALKER was just too strong in the remaining two races, coming from behind in race three to wrest the lead after a very sharp luff halfway down the final leg.

Parkland Mazda Australian Youth Match Racing Championship Final Standings

1. Evan WALKER (AUS)
3. Jamie WOODS (AUS)
5. David CHAPMAN (AUS)
6. Chelsea HALL (AUS)

Bernie KAAKS (As Amended By ISAF). Image, Action from Perth:© South of Perth Yacht Club
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