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3 March 2002, 02:14 pm
Melbourne College Take the Title
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Australian Grand Prix Schools Challenge
Melbourne

120 sailors representing 20 schools from around Victoria and Sth Australia competed in the 2002 Fosters Australian Grand Prix Schools Challenge at Melbourne's Albert Park Lake today.

After 70 races on Albert Park Lake , it was the tightest ever finish in the 7th annual Interschools Challenge with no less than 5 teams tied on win loss ratio.

In the unique event surrounded by the Formula One race track and 120,000 spectators , the sailors had to contend with the scream of F1's engines and brakes during the day long event. Communication and tactics become difficult except for the most practised teams under the circumstances.

Reigning champions Melbourne High School looked out of the chase after a stunning loss to Sth Australian Team Kingscote Area School in the 3rd from last round and country Victorian teams from Ballarat Grammar and StPatricks College topped the Leaders Table until the last 4 races of entire competition with unblemished win records.

First St Pats' Collage faltered against Karingal and then in the penultimate race Ballarat Grammar lost by 1 point (10/11) to most fancied Mentone Grammar, leaving 7 teams with just one loss each.

Unable to be separated by "1 on 1" tie breakers, the results came down to final points over each teams 6 races.

In the end, defending Champions Melbourne College on 47 points took the title by the narrowest of margins from Mentone Grammar and new comers Hailerbury College just one further point back. The top 7 teams only separated by 8 points.

Fleet Race Sailing and Formula One continues Sunday with the Farrari's sitting at the right end of the results table along with Foster's inter-school Teams Racing Champions Melbourne College.
Darren Dunkley-Smith/News Editor
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