Club Marine Southern 80
Friday, Saturday & Sunday February 9th, 10th & 11th 2001
They came, they saw, they conquered.
Once again the NSW Super class boats dominated this years Club Marine Southern 80. It appears Victoria cannot match the caliber and reliability which is required to win this gruelling 80 kms course. The outright winner for this year was “The Sting” in a time of 31.57mins, followed by “Top Shot” 32.12mins and “Showdown” 32.40mins. No Victorian boats could be seen until Madness Racing (34.55mins) crossed the line. Local boat “Shadrack” finished in a time of 42.12mins. Many of the big boats once again experience trouble whether through mechanical failure or just bad luck, however it appears the mechanical failure and or bad luck happens in all classes. The “Bakers Blitz” ended for “Stinga” as a disappointment, after not completing all paperwork and was penalized one minute opening the way for Moonshot to be declared the final winner, (4 hours after the race was run).
Glory at last, after being penalized in the same event, some year’s prior. On Sunday, weather conditions made for perfect racing but Top Shots record time of 31.23 minutes from the 2000 race stood in tact and will be the carrot for 2002 Southern 80. Entries for the weekend once again exceeded 400 with the Tadpoles class having 15 entries, which hopefully shows the younger generation will be coming through to continue this great sport of ski racing. Official Scrutineering flowed much better this year with the help of voluntary marshals who helped ease the headaches that were experienced last year. As always if paperwork was completed at time of entry our enthusiastic but frustrated and office staff would be able to process the formalities a quicker with less stress on everyone.
Val Duggan took over the role as Chief starter this year after many years of working with the ever-reliable Terry Bennett. She showed her true professionalism when in the first time in the history of the Southern 80 a hold had to be placed on the start due to an large number of competitors failing to around the first corner cleanly which created a safety issue. Once this area was cleared racing once a gain commenced. Thanks Val for a job well done.
Record crowds at the finish line over the weekend enjoyed seeing live coverage on the big screen with instant interviews with finishing teams, celebrity interviews, and highlights of the race. Crowd behaviour from spectators was much improved on last year, which enabled the late boats arriving home to enjoy a cold drink. Saturdays static display saw large number of boats in Echuca’s main street with thousand’s of people converging to the area to get a close up look at these chrome and metal monsters, which would soon be fighting it out on the water for the prestige Leigh Johnson Memorial Trophy .However word has it that with out the street parade the atmosphere was just not the same. We will have to work on that for 2002 race. (The street parade was cancelled at the request of the police for people safety.)
We are unable to mention all the helpers over the weekend, on this page, so a special thank you to each of you that gave their time to assist on this incredible weekend. To Fran Hynes and Jan Thurgar once again, it was terrific to have you bring your knowledge and judgments to our race.