Mark Cranny and boat Hellrazor won their fourth straight Southern 80 ski race in Echuca yesterday.By Zach Hubber
No-one at Victoria Park boat ramp seemed to mind when Mark Cranny and Hellrazor won their fourth straight Southern 80 ski race yesterday and Cranny’s seventh of the past eight runnings.
The team of driver Cranny, observer Damien Matthews and skiers Jason Walmsley and Peter Procter raced to the line in 30 minutes and 36 seconds, four seconds shy of The Syndicate’s 2010 super class record.
Hellrazor started from pole position after sweeping through the Bakers’ Blitz on Saturday and finished 65 seconds ahead of runner-up 99 Psycho Clowns.
Cranny praised his team’s efforts and was rapt to have notched another Southern 80 title.
‘People’s expectations are that we’re going to come here and win easy, but it’s far from easy I can tell you,’’ he said.
‘‘I think today the conditions were pretty tough. It doesn’t feel windy but it was very windy out there.
‘‘The boys had a hard time and we had a hard time settling the boat.’’
Like many competitors, Hellrazor was not without its issues.
‘‘A lot of things have to go right and we were worried about rope issues yesterday before the blitz,’’ Cranny said.
The eight-time champion said the feeling of a good run was never taken for granted and enjoyed sharing that moment with his team.
‘‘You bond together throughout the year and I think that holds thick when we all hold together like we do and I’m very appreciative of the team around me,’’ he said.
Leading into the race, Cranny said his philosophy in life was to never look behind and always look ahead.
Yesterday, he made an exception.
‘‘We can enjoy it today, then we go off to Robinvale and Mildura,’’ he said.
The Dandenong-based boat will have its engine taken out and reviewed today before the next race.
Cranny said there was no mucking around when it came to being successful.
‘‘That’s what gives you the wins, just being at it all the time,’’ he said.
Another member who relished the win was Walmsley, who missed last year’s victory after being part of four wins from 2007 to 2011 with Stinga, Hellbent and Hellrazor.
99 Psycho Clowns driver and former Rochester resident Daniel McMahon was happy with his team’s performance considering the obstacles it faced.
‘‘We had a good start and then we caught up with boat number two, Gassa, at the Perricoota straight,’’ he said.
‘‘We just got stuck behind them for about five minutes and then they dropped a skier on one of the corners, which gave us an opportunity to go past.
‘‘It has a huge impact when you’re chasing because you’ve got to follow their lines and skiers have to go through their wash, so you lose a lot of time but there’s nothing you can do.’’
But McMahon was stern in his criticism of the team’s Bakers’ Blitz run, despite suffering a red flag.
‘‘We made a mistake yesterday which put us in third,’’ he said.
‘‘The Blitz was terrible because we got the red flag and had to rush back and we weren’t prepared.
‘‘The boat wasn’t ready, so it was all too rushed.
‘‘You prepare for those scenarios, for sure, but if you get rushed like that it kills the routine.’’
One of the teams being spruiked before the Bakers’ Blitz was The Syndicate, which could only manage 11th position in the pole and did not fare much better yesterday.
Skier Danny Cropper, who was on the Murray River 25 years since his first Southern 80 victory, said it was not a great run.
‘‘We just had headaches with the boat again and had dramas with it yesterday (Saturday) too,’’ he said.
‘‘Just mechanical stuff, just trying to bloody nut it out.
‘‘We’ve got a couple of new things on the motor and it just wasn’t a great day. It’s a pain in the bum.’’
The Sydneysider said the boat was running at its maximum speed but needed more to compete with the other boats.
Despite finishing ninth in superclass, Cropper still enjoyed the event.
‘‘It never gets old,’’ he said.
‘‘This race is unbelievable. It’s just so competitive.
‘‘There’s so many corners and everyone’s got to be working. All the skiers, the observer, the driver, everyone’s got to work to get those records.’’
When asked what his next move was, Cropper said: ‘‘Have a drink, have a relax’’.
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