Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Action aplenty from district competitors

District competitors took to the water on Sunday in many classes.

GEORDIE COWAN February 15, 2012 4:50am



Echuca driver Brad Chesser and skier Brett Sampson enjoyed near perfect conditions for their run in the 200hp outboard expert class yesterday with Evinrude Racing.

‘‘It can’t get much better,’’ Brad said.

‘‘It was a little slower than yesterday (Saturday).

‘‘It was a bit windy yesterday (Saturday), but other than that it was similar conditions.’’

Brett replaced Echuca skier Jake Vanzetta for the expert event, but Brad said the team had enjoyed just having the two events.

‘‘It’s a big enough weekend, two events,’’ he said.

‘‘We just had a good weekend.’’

Brad and Will Groves

It was a week of hard work to get Stalker on the water for yesterday’s unlimited inboard expert event at the Southern 80, but the satisfaction of racing the boat on the Murray River justified the means for Echuca’s Brad and Will Groves.

Brad said he worked on the boat for a long time on Wednesday night, before taking it to mechanic Darren Farr in Maldon on Thursday.

There they worked on the boat the whole day and it was not until late Friday night the boat started for the first time.

‘‘It was well worth it,’’ Will said after skiing behind Stalker yesterday.

‘‘We had a good run.

‘‘As long as we got here, that’s the best thing.’’

In what was Will’s only race for the weekend after he injured his shoulder at a recent two-up event, the team, which also included observer Simon Curwood and skier Shane Bru, enjoyed a smooth run at the event to finish sixth.

Vicki Groves

It almost felt like a normal ski along the Murray River for Echuca’s Vikki and Jade Groves during the sub junior girls expert event yesterday, as the team in Omen Formula 2 saw almost no other competitors during their hour-long run.

‘‘One boat passed us and that was it,’’ Vikki, who was observing said.

‘‘I said to them, ‘it feels like we’re out here on our lonesome’.’’

But the effort did not affect the team’s performance, Vikki stressed.

‘‘The girls had a good run, a really good run, from start to finish,’’ she said.

‘‘We missed one start, but, as soon as we got going they were really good and the girls enjoyed it.’’

The team, which finished fourth in the expert event, finished third in the social class on Saturday and Vikki said the ‘‘girls skied well both days’’.

Alisha Brooks drove, while Grace Savona was the other skier.

Phillip Woods

District boat Sky High enjoyed the freedom of being one of the first boats on the water yesterday at the Southern 80 to claim a second place finish in the 200hp outboard expert event.

Owned by Kyabram skier Scott Collins, with Echuca driver Phillip Woods and Echuca skier Lisa Clancy also members of the team, Sky High finished the course in 43:25, 16 seconds behind winner Saintn.

It was a near perfect run for the team, bar losing a few seconds at the start, Phillip said.

‘‘But apart from that, we had a pretty good run all the way down,’’ he said.

‘‘No hiccups, no boats in front of us.’’

Phillip thought the team was not quite in perfect form on Saturday in the social event, but yesterday picked up the pace and did ‘‘all right’’.

‘‘It was pretty much a perfect run really. Can’t complain,’’ he said.

‘‘The team’s done a perfect job for me.’’

Steve Hammond

Ballan boat Korrupt claimed a runner-up finish in the sub junior girls expert event yesterday after a ‘‘beautiful’’ run.

Korrupt owner and driver Steven Hammond, whose daughter Brooke skied alongside Moama’s Emma Barnes, said everything was perfect for the event.

‘‘We’ve had a beautiful run down this morning. We had everything go our way,’’ he said.

‘‘The weather was perfect, the river was perfect...everything about it was right.’’

The performance of the girls helped the team do so well, Steven said.

‘‘The girls gave us 110 per cent, they really put in,’’ he said.

‘‘(Moama’s) Neville (Barnes) observed beautifully and we just did what we had to do.’’

Despite the pressure of being in the expert class, Steven said yesterday was more enjoyable than Saturday — due to not as many family members being involved.

All six Hammonds — Steven and Janine and children Jackson, Brooke, Megan and Archer — were involved in racing on the Saturday afternoon social events.

‘‘Today (Sunday) we only have the two kids running down the river instead of the four,’’ Steven said.

‘‘Yesterday was a bit full on.

‘‘There was a lot of organisation, a lot of help from others to make things happen, but it all happened and we’ve had a fantastic weekend.’’

Geoff Cole

Moama’s Geoff Cole found his return to the Southern 80 was ‘‘tough yakka’’ yesterday, after steering his boat Warlord along the course in the MOC expert class.

‘‘I didn’t race last year, so I haven’t done much racing,’’ he said.

‘‘I’m a little bit out of practice — even on driving.

‘‘It’s hard on the drivers. Lots of corners, tired arms...I probably should’ve done a bit more practice.’’

However, the end result did not have much bearing upon his return to racing, Geoff said.

‘‘I wouldn’t say we’ve won or got any placings, but hey, we’re here in one piece, we’ve had fun and that’s what it’s all about,’’ he said.

Geoff, along with Yarrawonga observer Nigel Buchanan, towed New Zealand brothers Logan and Jarron Fritz in his only event for the weekend, finishing fourth in a time of 41:02.

‘‘One’s a former junior world champion, so I don’t think they’re used to going this slow,’’ he said.

‘‘But it’s all about good fun.

‘‘We’ve got a couple of Aussies in the boat and a couple of Kiwis hanging out the back.’’

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