Superman has stormed to a massive victory in the 2019 Robinvale Euston 80 on the Murray River, beating home fellow superclass crew Pigs Arsenal by more than a minute.
The Darren McGuire owned powerhouse clocked 26mins 29.26secs – eight seconds shy of the race record – to beat Pigs Arsenal’s 27:35.50 and unlimited inboard boat Stalker’s 28:48.68.
The winning quartet of driver McGuire, Brett Armstrong and skiers Daniel Cotton and Daniel Graziano claimed the classic race for the second time in three years after scoring their first win in the event in 2017. For Cotton it was a fifth victory in the race, having previously won in 1999, 2000, 2001 and two years ago.
The pre-race favourites built up a massive lead over the opening 40km, with their record breaking split of 13:05.08 more than 42 seconds up on the field, before extending their advantage on the return from Bonvarical Creek.
McGuire said he was happy with the win after missing last month’s Southern 80 and revealed he had taken aim at the race record on the return journey, only to be thwarted by the windy conditions.
“We had to sit the Southern 80 out because Daniel (Graziano) had a little boy,” McGuire said.
“So that was a bit of a relax so we thought we’d come to Robinvale and flex our muscle a little bit
“The time on the way up, I think’s the fastest time ever there by about ten seconds and we thought we’d set it up to blow the record off the map coming home but the wind’s come up and was blowing the boat around.
“The straights were choppy so we just played it safe coming home and we missed the record by a couple of seconds I think.”
TR, who had finished a mere 3/100’s of a second behind Superman in Saturday’s Superclass Shootout, encountered electrical issues in their engine going down the first leg and ended that half of the race more than four and a half minutes behind Superman.
The unlimited inboard race was a thriller with Stalker, who was driven by the soon to be retired ski racing stalwart Brad Groves, and Tempered battling it out for class supremacy and a spot on the overall podium.
Stalker held an advantage of just over nine seconds at the turn around and overcame a bad start on the return to hang onto a 6.65 second victory. Blown Cash was third in the class.
With Groves behind the wheel and Doug Perry observing, the young duo of Beau Duggan and Thomas Perry delivered over and above expectations to give Groves a fitting send off from the sport he has dedicated most of his life to.
“It’s hard to describe, I’m in shock to be honest,” an emotional Groves, one of the driving forces behind the Robinvale Euston 80, said.
“I’ve never expected to win an unlimited race, let alone third outright so we are pretty stoked.
“It’s pretty special. Really hard to explain to be honest. I’m a bit emotional.
“I’m just thankful – the skiers, my boys, they’re awesome. They’ve improved so much and they really dug deep.”
Groves said the sport was in good hands as he prepares for his last ever race at the Mildura 100 before stepping down from the boards of Ski Racing Victoria and Ski Racing Australia later this year.
“I’ve been in the sport my whole life,” Groves said.
“In 1981 we started with Mum and Dad and my brothers and I’m the only one left. Then my family got involved when my kids were growing up.
“It’s been a long journey and probably time to hang up the jacket, I think.
“The sport’s got a great future. We keep working on safety at SRA and we’re in really good hands with (SRA CEO) Cameron McConville. He’s very professional and I can’t speak highly enough of Cam.”
Stinga 21S, one of the favourites in the class, blew a propeller midway through the opening leg, forcing them out of the race.
Merc Force, with Chelsea Blight and Maddison Boyer skiing behind Tim Pickford and Brian Griffin, took out the women’s event, slashing more than a minute off the race record with a time of 29:59.69 – a whopping six minutes 22 seconds ahead of Extreme Meltdown and Murrumbidgee Magic.
In one-up racing, Shantelle King behind Superbad won the women’s event, while Ryan Thomson and MasterForce took out the men’s race.
The 70mph class was the day’s most contested category with 18 entrants and it was taken out by The Wedge from Shooter Reloaded and Friction.
FOR RESULTS FROM THE EXPERT CLASSES, CLICK HERE
In other expert class events:
• Illusion Down Under claimed the unlimited naturally aspirated
• Rush Hour took out the 8L inboard
• The U6L inboard went to BulletProof, while the stock 6L inboard winner was Hollow Point and the 5.2L champion was Mojo
• Ghostrider finished on top in the U18 boy’s and Hedake in the corresponding girl’s race
• Meltdown came out on top in the U16 girl’s, while No Bull F21 stood atop the podium in the U16 boy’s
• Judgemental was the unlimited outboard winner
• Long Gone topped proceedings in the competitive sportsman’s 95km/h category
• Raicey won the MOC outboard and Agent 86 the SMOC outboard
• The F2 race was taken out by Esky Mojo
• Thundernuts 500 snared the U14 girl’s
• Hanka Chief picked up the U12 boy’s and Elm St F2 the corresponding girl’s race
• Uncontrolabel won the 60mph event
The final river classic of Ski Racing Australia’s series will take place further along the Murray in Mildura over Easter.