There is an old adage, “If you want to go Fast, Go Alone. If you want to go Far, go Together”. Matthew Even, the 30 year old power dinghy racer hailing from Mahogany Creek suburb and his racing partner, Nick Gardner, did go far and fast to secure the second position in the Avon Descent last year in the 10 HP Sports category. So what had let them down? “We ended up using a propeller on day 2, which we hadn’t trialled properly and was incorrect for the conditions. Basically, we ran out of time before the race to get our props sorted and performing how we wanted them too.”, says Matt.
Matthew Even has always been interested in the sport after seeing highlights of the Avon on TV as a kid. He knew it was something he had to do someday. But it was only when he started working with John Goodbody and Scott Goodbody that his childhood dreams became true. The Goodbodys motivated and helped him to get started, guiding him in the right direction. John was a veteran of the Avon and Scott was a super competitive racer in the sports class. In fact, Matt raced an old boat that he was given by John Goodbody in his first Avon race.
When Matt decided to form a team, the only inevitable partner he could think of was Nick Gardner. “Nick is my best mate whom I have known since I was 12. We have grown up together and spent so much time together over the years that sometimes I think he knows me better than my mum does. He knows exactly what I am thinking most of the time which is extremely helpful in an Avon boat as you don’t get a lot of time to discuss things while racing.”
Although Matt’s family is not actively involved with the sport, they have always been his support system. Matt, who is also a Ship Master (Captain) fondly says, “My family is comprised of my mum Deidre, my dad Alwyn and my siblings Alysha and Luke. I am the first in my family to race the Avon. I have completed other races in our boat racing calendar with both my brother and sister at times when Nick has been away. My brother Luke also puts in a massive amount of work for us in the development and fabrication of boat components and equipment”.
When we talk of white water races there are challenges abound. Matt is no exception. He faced one of the worst accidents during the Blackwood Classic 250 in 2012, a three -day time trial down the Blackwood river. He recalls, “We jumped a large log and as we came down and landed our boat flipped upside down and washed under the next group of large logs. The flow of water was very strong making it almost impossible to drag it out back upriver. Eventually, we managed to dive down and slowly free it by moving it sideways and making our way through a maze of tree branches. We were definitely glad to see the finish line on this day”.
Though being a power boater, Matt feels that paddling is essential as it helps you to keep fit before the race and familiarises you with the water route and its obstacles. Matt opines “Power dinghy racing is extremely challenging because you need to have everything right to win. First, you need to build a boat that is fast and capable. You need to look at your motor and propellers for all different water levels that you may encounter on race day. Then you need to know the river and all of its obstacles inside out. Finally, you and your team member need to piece it all together on the day and try not to make mistakes and achieve what you have practised. “
Fingers are crossed for Matt and his best mate Nick, who will be competing together in Matt’s 7th Avon Descent on August 5th and 6th 2017 from Northam to Bayswater.
Entries for the 2017 Avon Descent and details can be found online on avondescent.com.au. For any Club enquiry, feel free to contact the Power Dinghy Club via dinghyracing.com.au.