Cinders aims to leave all in its wake.By Zach Hubber
Peter Ralph and the crew at Cinders can be seen in more places than one this weekend, with spectators able to buy vintage Cinders T-shirts at the Southern 80 merchandise tents and store.
The design, created by Mark Savage, features Ralph with observer Julie Retallick from a photo taken at the Barrie Beehag Ski Race three years ago.
Two-time champion God’s Gift is the other boat to feature on a vintage T-shirt.
Ralph said he was told about the concept in November and was impressed with the final result.
‘‘They came up all right, but I don’t see any of the profits,’’ he joked.
‘‘I think they’ll look better in black.’’
Cinders will lead a field of eight boats in the 5.2 litre and 6 litre social class tomorrow morning, with Chris Mansfield and Phil Muratore on the back after skier Robbie Skennerton injured his knee.
The boat will return to the river on Sunday afternoon for the 16-19 girls expert among five other competitors, with Ellie Ralph and Ashlee Cuff looking to continue a solid run of form in their first season skiing together.
Ellie won the social women’s class at the Australian Speed and Marathon Ski Racing Championships last month behind Liquid Ice, as well as a third in the under 19 girls’ class.
The family affair continues with Ralph’s oldest daughter, Charlee, skiing behind Killswitch in the 60mph expert class and her partner Chris Mansfield skiing behind Carlton Dry Racing in the President’s Dash and 8 litre expert.
Ralph has been backed in as favourite for both his races after an impressive second at the Australian championships in the 6 litre inboard class.
‘‘The pressure’s on all right,’’ Ralph said.
‘‘We should do well. If everything goes right we should go well.’’
But he said being a local held no advantage when driving.
‘‘Once you’re out there racing it all changes,’’ he said.
‘‘Everyone is faced with the same bends and the same conditions.’’
Ralph bought the boat off former owner and Southern 80 champion Lenny Retallick six years ago.
The boat used to be called ‘Suicide’ with the number 13 until fire destroyed Retallick’s bus in Mildura in the late 1970s.
A new name and the number 12 were adopted to acknowledge the ‘cinders’ left by the bus.
Retallick said a seven-letter name was important, otherwise it was impossible to read.
‘‘A name’s got to stick out,’’ he said.
‘‘No point putting a name on the boat if no-one can read it.’’
The back of Ralph’s boat will also stand out, with stickers commemorating friends Ash Mansfield and Clint Middleton who both passed away in the past six years.
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