The Evinrude Ace Racing waterski team has had a tremendous past 18 months, breaking many records.GEORDIE COWAN January 9, 2014 4:38pm
For Moama’s Anthony Nott, the joy in winning and breaking records with waterski racing team Evinrude Ace Racing comes from a long way before getting on the water.
‘‘The act of actually winning the race is great, but we get more satisfaction out of the weeks leading up,’’ he said.
‘‘Being able to build the boat, build the engines, basically manufacture everything and get it to win and break records ... that’s where the hard work pays off.’’
Observer Nott and driver Darren Spence run the boat, with Nott owning the hull while Melbourne-based Spence owns the engine.
Combined with former Echuca resident Shane Floyd and Sydney’s Darren Reilly as skiers, the team has had an extremely successful past 18 months, breaking many MOC (modified open cockpit) records across the country.
In the 2012-13 season, the team won and set records at the Sydney Bridge to Bridge two-up and one-up, Barrie Beehag and the Southern 80, as well as winning the Mildura 100.
The team already held records at Mildura and Robinvale and this season proceeded to take almost four minutes off the Hawkesbury 120 record and another 20 seconds off its Barrie Beehag record.
After destroying their last boat at a Sydney race three years ago — hitting a log and barrel rolling — Nott and Spence built the new boat and are constantly improving it.
Owning the process, from building to racing and continuing to better their performances, gives them great satisfaction.
‘‘Rather than paying someone to work on the boat and then just going out and racing it — if that was the case, I would have quit 10 years ago,’’ Nott said.
‘‘But the fact that something we’ve created with our own hands can win and break records, that’s what does it.
‘‘That’s what keeps us going and being at the front of our field — and still going forward is hard to do.
‘‘It’s easy to follow people, but if you’re at the front it’s hard because you’ve got to make your own decisions as to what direction you want to go.’’
Despite having so much success, there is still one thing the team wants to win — the race in Grafton.
‘‘We have been going there for five or six years and it is the only race we haven’t won or broken the record at,’’ Nott said.
‘‘The record there is 10 years old and we got close this year, but every year there’s just something that will make it elude us.
‘‘It’s a 16-hour car drive one-way, so it’s a big trip and it’s a hard race. It’s all about the skiers there.’’
Because the river is so wide, racers go up one side, turn around and come back the other side, meaning boats are racing past others.
‘‘So you’ve got a lot of rough water and then there’s smooth water, so you’ve got to pick your times to go fast and when your skiers can rest through the rough,’’ Nott said.
‘‘It’s 102km long and non-stop. You get a lot of rough water there and it’s really hard on the skiers.’’
With a break over Christmas, Nott said they were building a better engine which should be ready for the team’s next focus — the Southern 80.
‘‘We have been racing there for a long time and we’d always had some little problem that stopped us,’’ the 28-year-old said.
‘‘Then last year we had a massive crack at it, had to pass two boats and we still broke the record.
‘‘So we reckon we can take another minute off that this year without any traffic.’’
This year’s Southern 80 is on February 7 to 9 and Nott is encouraging people to get involved.
Originally from Kilmore, Nott moved to Moama about seven years ago and would like to see district residents embrace the Southern 80 more.
‘‘They’re good for the town and it brings money to the town,’’ he said.
‘‘We want to get people that are in town excited about it.
‘‘You’ve got the biggest ski race in the world on your door step.
‘‘It would be great to have more of the town support it and get behind it.
‘‘And get behind the Moama Water Sports Club — they do a massive job.’’
The News has published a limited edition commemorative keepsake in recognition of the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landing. Copies will be available from Friday, August 7 from Shepparton RSL and McPherson Media Group newspaper offices. To reserve your copy phone Rebekah Miller on 5820 3221.
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