Top Australian water skiers Daniel Cotton and Daniel Graziano have raced to victory with their Superman team at the Robinvale/Euston 80 water ski race, their second win in the past week following victory in Wentworth, NSW last Sunday.
More than 130 boats, towing in excess of 270 skiers contested today’s 28th edition of the Robinvale/Euston 80 event, which is raced along a 40-kilometre stretch of the Murray River from Robinvale Bridge to Bonvaricall Creek and back.
As cloudy conditions greeted competitors, all eyes were locked on defending winners Merc Force. The Queensland-based outfit had streaked to a record-breaking victory in Saturday’s appetiser, the Superclass Dash, and started today’s main event as firm favourites.
However for the second straight week engine gremlins, in the form of a broken six drive, ended the day prematurely for Merc Force. Their misfortune opened the door for Superman skipper Darren McGuire and observer Brett Armstrong to guide skiers Cotton and Graziano to their fourth victory of the Australian River Classics season, the first in Robinvale for all but Cotton.
“First time for us, except for Daniel [Cotton] who has now won this race four times after winning for three years running from 1999-2001. But it’s great to get one together,” said an ecstatic Graziano.
“On the way to the turnaround point we had a great consistent run and we were happy with that, then we saw the time we had run and knew we were a good chance at the record for the way home.
“We didn’t talk about much before we started the return leg, we were happy with our performance and there were no real weak points. We just tried to be fast on the way back.
“Fitness certainly helps, but we’ve all been doing this a long time, we do a lot of racing and most of all we’ve been together for a long time. Fitness helps, but this whole crew races as one.”
Trailing in behind Superman was the Tim Pickford driven Sapphire Racing for second, while third overall was Ian Tricker’s TR. Tricker and his team of Nathan Miller (observer), Ben Clark and Tyron Naismith (skiers) also won the Unlimited Inboard Expert class, claiming the perpetual ‘Jai Welch Memorial’ trophy in the process.
In the expert women’s class the experienced Chelsea Blight and new skiing partner Maddison Boyer won in record time. Skiing behind Merc Force F1 with Trent Souwer driving and Christian Apps observing, the quartet salvaged an otherwise forgetful day for the wider Merc Force team.
Other intriguing battles came in the 8 Litre Inboard class as Sportspage did enough to hold off XS Cash for a strong win, while Topshot beat home Murrumbidgee MadDog in the Junior Boy’s class.
The Junior Girl’s class was won by Flaamin, leading home Streak N who claimed second, Eleven finishing third. Meanwhile Triple 666 won the Under 19 Girl’s, as male counterparts Temper 2 continued their strong season to win the Under 19 Boy’s class.
One of the closer finishes of the day came in the 70mp/h class to see the top three places covered by a whisker over 11 seconds. The Wedge finished first to outrun General Lee, Nailed hammering home for third.
It was also a close finish in Formula 2 as Enforcer fended off a very quick Top Gun F2 over the return leg to win their class. Velocity Racing rounded out the podium places in that class.
The Australian River Classics water skiing season will return in just over a months time, with the Mildura 100 to be contested across the Easter long weekend.