Ski chiefs praise event’s prestige

February 13, 2017

Moama Water Sports Club president John Lomas and Ski Racing Victoria chief executive Wes Lloyd.

MOAMA Water Sports Club president John Lomas and Ski Racing Victoria chief executive Wes Lloyd weren’t afraid to name their picks for the Southern 80.

Lomas had backed Merc Force from the start as the team to take out this year’s superclass, while Lloyd was a little more controversial with his choice.

‘‘It might not be the obvious pick, but I would have to go with Top Gun,’’ Lloyd said.

The CEO attends every river classic throughout the year, and said Echuca-Moama’s Southern 80 was up there as one of the best.

‘‘I believe the Southern 80 has an amazing image which follows it around,’’ he said.

‘‘More people who I speak to outside of the area know more about the Southern 80 than any of the other classics.

‘‘The race is great for the town from a financial and tourism aspect and I can see it as nothing but a benefit given the amount of people it attracts.’’

And while some locals may hold opposing views about the race’s popularity, there was no denying the excitement felt at this year’s finish line.

Saturday saw the temperature climb past 40C but it didn’t deter people from getting along to Victoria Park boat ramp to cheer the competitors across the line.

‘‘Today (Saturday) wasn’t without incident, but overall it’s been a good start to the weekend’s racing,’’ Lomas said.

‘‘There’s always a build up of excitement before the Baker’s Blitz and we’ve had around the same numbers we usually get to the finish line for the Saturday.

‘‘No doubt everyone will appreciate the cool change on Sunday, but the people who come are dedicated ski racing enthusiasts and they’ll turn up to see the racing no matter what.’’

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