Eighteen-year-old Sam Handley was the youngest driver at the Southern 80 on the weekend.By Zach Hubber
Spectators had to look twice when Top Gun fired past the finish line on Saturday afternoon because the man driving the boat would probably have been asked for his ID when he entered the pub that night.
Croydon resident Sam Handley, who turned 18 in December, was the youngest driver at the Southern 80 on the weekend and completed his first competitive race without a sweat.
He said he was anxious at the starting line at Five Mile boat ramp but felt relaxed once the driving had begun.
‘‘I was pretty nervous, but we got away with a clean start and had a bit of fun,’’ he said.
‘‘Once you’re out there you don’t get nervous.’’
Handley teamed up with observer Ashlee Cuff and skiers Suzanne Cuff and Louise Mudgway in the veterans over 40 class.
He has been involved in ski racing for four years and only started driving in December.
The boat, which is of no relation to Top Gun from Jannali, was the same vessel which ran up the banks of the Murray River in the Southern 80 two years ago.
‘‘The boat I was driving used to be Dad’s boat,’’ Handley said.
‘‘Dad had it for 15 years and then he sold it and got out of ski racing for a little bit.
‘‘Then my brother (Alex) bought it back when we got back into ski racing and put it up the bank at the Southern 80.’’
Handley paid for the boat’s repairs and bought a new engine for it.
‘‘It cost me a fair bit, but if it wasn’t Dad’s first boat I probably wouldn’t have got it fixed,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s more for the sentimental value.’’
And when it came to driving, the teenager said the biggest challenge was to keep the boat smooth coming into a bend.
‘‘I haven’t been driving all that long, so I’m still learning,’’ he said.
‘‘But with the girls I can go at a pace I’m comfortable at and so are they.
‘‘I don’t really get that loose too often.’’
Handley skied behind Top Gun in the 200hp outboard social class on Saturday morning to come sixth and came fifth in the 200hp outboard expert class yesterday.
He also came third in the 16-19 boys expert skiing behind Tiger Force Racing yesterday.
A Tamleugh North farmer has described the theft of four sheep fences from his tornado-damaged property ''a low act''.
Most people at the J C Lowe Oval left on Saturday evening talking about the game but not the result. Pigeon Coach Chris Kennedy summed up the feeling adequately when he said after the game; “it was a frustrating game, but my players weren’t responsible for the frustration.”
The move to extend the Tatura War Memorial area and honour Victoria Cross hero Robert Mactier with the erection of a statue in the Hogan St gardens named in his honour, continues.
A Kyabram man who struck a cyclist on Echuca-Moama bridge with a beer can thrown from the vehicle he was in was convicted and fined $400 in Moama Local Court on Wednesday.
A Rochester mother told a health forum about the devastating effect drugs have had on her family.
Over six hours of junior football is scheduled for Kyabram Recreation Reserve this Sunday.
Ten people were injured after Two Australian Light Armoured Vehicles (ASLAV) collided during a training course at the Puckapunyal Military Training Range in on Wednesday, May 22.
The Finley Apex Sports and Community Centre has secured a $500,000 grant from Regional Development Australia.
A purpose-built bike, equipped with amateur radio, will be on the O'Keefe Rail Trail tomorrow.
Cobram residents John Anderson and Ian Cobb will race down memory lane this weekend when they compete in the annual Historic Winton.
Deniliquin Fire and Rescue's open day has been hailed a success by captain Bill Muirhead.
The Department of Environment and Primary Industries (DEPI) is investigating incidents of abortion or still-births under the Lamb and Kid Mortality Surveillance Project.(LKSMP).
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