Thursday 3 April 2008
Mr FINCH  (Rosevears) - Sometimes, Mr President, it is all too easy to take things for granted in Tasmania.  I am not just talking here about our climate or our scenery although our magnificent topography does have a big bearing on what I would like to remind members of today.

For 20 years now we, in Tasmania, have been hosting an internationally acclaimed event which plays an important role in publicising Tasmania around the world. 

Mr Hall - Agfest.

Mr FINCH - No, not this time,

I am speaking about the Three Peaks Race which again set off from my electorate of Rosevears on Good Friday.  We saw the event's awards night last Saturday and there were twice as many people at the dinner as there were in the event itself, about 160 competitors and 320-odd turned up for the awards dinner in Hobart.  It is all too easy to see the Three Peaks Race as just another sailing competition in a crowded Tasmanian calendar but I would like to note the following comments from

'One of the World's toughest multi-sport events � the ultimate endurance challenge � a unique test of sailing skill and running stamina.'

Our Three Peaks Race this year, Mr President, had more entrants than the famous British event that it is modelled on.  It all began when a chap from Launceston, Martin Pryor, led an Australian team in the British event in 1987 and whilst over there, he realised that Tasmania had a similar coastline and similar peaks.  By Easter 1989, 30 crews were massed at Beauty Point for the first Tasmanian Three Peaks Race.  It was a great success.  This Easter, 20 years on, there were 28 entries and that was the second-highest in the event's history.  Two of my constituents, Nick Edmunds and David Wright, are the only two people to have competed in every Three Peaks Race.  Wonderful characters, they have competed as sailors and as runners and they really enjoy this involvement.  In fact, in speaking to Nick this morning he did say that he regards it as a family event.  Not only is his family involved but also every competitor and every volunteer feels as though they are part of a big family.  When I speak of volunteers, there are 120 who give up their Easter to be part of the Three Peaks Race.

Although it attracts international competitors, it is an event where local talent and knowledge predominate.  I might say that they had runners from Israel, New Zealand and four mainland States.  It is run by a Tasmanian community-based committee and it links four Tasmanian communities, Beauty Point, Lady Barron, Coles Bay and Hobart.  Most crews comprise three sailors and two runners and they cover 335 nautical miles plus 133 kilometres up and down the peaks.  It is like running three marathons.

This year each yacht carried a GPS tracker linked to Google Earth through Telstra'sNext G network and it was possible for people around the world to track each competitor on their computer screens, another publicity plus for our State.  In the first two days there were 90 000 hits each day on the web site to track what was happening in the Three Peaks Race. 

The departure from Beauty Point was at its colourful best.  Something like 8 000 people gathered on Inspection Head wharf to view the departure of the yachts and also people lined either side of the mouth of the Tamar River to watch the boats go.  There were the usual close tactical and daring manoeuvres to land runners on Flinders Island's Lady Barron.  The six hour-plus Mount Strezlecki run was hot, dry and very taxing, I hear from one of the runners, and consequently some of the runners had to be replaced by sailing crew for the Mount Freycinet leg. 

The trip up the Derwent involved some rowing for most yachts, and the scenes at Constitution Dock were sometimes frantic.  The Mount Wellington record of two hours 27 minutes was almost matched.

Mr President, Tasmania's Three Peaks Race, like Targa Tasmania and other events - Agfest included - is a firm part of our annual calendar, although it is threatened by increasing insurance costs.  It brings untold publicity to Tasmania, but perhaps most importantly it has grown with community support and it helps link our communities.  Let us not take it for granted.