2007 HALL OF FAME INDUCTEE: TONY MASON
Tony Mason not only designed a powerboat that became the benchmark for speed, quality and luxury for well over a decade, he was also largely responsible for the introduction and subsequent popularity of offshore powerboat racing in New Zealand. Mason, together with fellow Hall of Fame resident Rex Henry, staged the first offshore powerboat race in 1964 and drew 96 boats to take part!
With a technical background as an aircraft engineer, Mason also broke new ground in the construction and engineering of the superbly successful Mason Clippers. Their high performance, coupled with their streamlined style and new levels of luxury made the Mason Clipper the must-have powerboat of the 1960s and ’70s.
In 1964, Mason not only co-founded the Power Boat Racing Organisation, he also fought hard to ensure that a new form of racing was introduced to attract as wide a variety of boats as possible.
With his near-mystical formulas, he set up categories for efficiency and fuel economy as well as for the ability to stick to a nominated speed. The resulting PBRO rallies proved enormously popular and endured well into the 1980s. With large numbers of trailer boats and even big launches turning the inner harbour into a foam-topped “washing machine”, the PBRO was for many the most popular – and the most exciting – event of the year.
Mason still keeps a keen eye on the marine industry and is a regular attendee at the Hutchwilco New Zealand Boat Show.