On the surface, the link between MINI CHALLENGE and boating may seem tenuous at best, but look a bit deeper and MINI CHALLENGE racer, Darren Berry will build that link for you as his company - Clipper Motor Yachts - presents his MINI CHALLENGE racecar at the 20th annual Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show this weekend, May 22 - 25.
The show is an important part of Clipper Motor Yachts' annual marketing strategy, with over 40,000 show-goers expected from around Australia and many parts of the world. Aside from marine industry exhibits, the Show features an international business lounge and will have many 'world exclusive' releases throughout the weekend.

The parallels between the MINI CHALLENGE racer and one of Clipper Motor Yachts' flagship models - the 34-foot Europa 34 - can easily be drawn. The Europa 34 is the baby of Clipper's fleet and its Cummins QSB diesel engine develops some 230 horsepower - not dissimilar to the MINI John Cooper Works CHALLENGE racecar's 210 horsepower. Although having said that, the Europa's 1100 litre fuel tank dwarfs the 50 litres that can be crammed into the MINI!

Berry - who is the Managing Director of the Murrarie (Brisbane) based Clipper Motor Yachts - has turned his hand to motor racing in 2008. After owning a raft of high performance cars from virtually all of the world's leading marques - Darren had never completed so much as a track day before suiting up and taking on the best of MINI CHALLENGE at Eastern Creek, joining the Motorline MINI Garage team.

Since Eastern Creek, he has made rapid improvement and indeed was most impressive throughout much of the wet qualifying session at Barbagallo Raceway just over one week ago.

"I've never raced before and I was presented with a good opportunity by Motorline MINI Garage," said Darren. "I had thought about it and looked at other categories, but they didn't provide the right avenue for Clipper Motor Yachts.

"MINI CHALLENGE is a way that I can go motor racing in a relatively cost effective manner and promote my business to an audience that is also interested in boating.

"Ultimately, I would like to involve the marine industry in this project, as there is benefit both ways by being involved."

That process has already started, with a new magazine targeted at the high end motor yacht purchaser, Ultimate Boating and Lifestyle joining Darren's efforts as a commercial partner. The next issue of UBL will feature MINI CHALLENGE and Darren.

"The Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show gives us a great platform to show off the car and show what MINI CHALLENGE is all about to people who enjoy boating," Darren concluded. "Many of those who attend the Boat Show are either involved in motor racing or possess a strong interest in the sport."

MINI CHALLENGE is a new racing category on the Australian motorsport scene, utilising identical MINI John Cooper Works CHALLENGE racecars. The Series has a commitment from MINI in Australia for at least the next five years. MINI CHALLENGE has an eight race Series alongside the V8 Supercar Championship Series and will race at iconic circuits such as Bathurst, Phillip Island, Sandown and Oran Park. The first year of the Series has attracted a television package including over seven hours coverage, four hours of which is live.

The Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show will be held at the Sanctuary Cove Marina Village, Masthead Way, Sanctuary Cove, Gold Coast between Thursday May 22 and Sunday May 25. For more information visit www.sanctuarycoveboatshow.com.au.

The next round of MINI CHALLENGE will take place at Sandown International Raceway across the weekend of June 7-9 - the Queen's Birthday Long Weekend with racing on the holiday Monday.