Victory was short lived for Leo Welch’s The Mistress.
The team prematurely celebrated back-to-back wins after smashing the 80km course in a time of 31.18.
The team were tipped as the favourite after qualifying first in the Baker’s Blitz and recorded an impressive pace given the rough river conditions on Sunday.
Before Merc Force stormed home to take out the race, The Mistress’ team thought they had the race in the bag — and were being interviewed as winners despite the long wait for the final positions.
‘‘That wait was no good for anybody’s health,’’ he said.
‘‘I just can’t believe it, I didn’t think we had it.’’
Driver Welch said despite the result their showing had been great.
‘‘Losing Zac (his son) with his broken leg at Christmas time, and then getting Jake (Vanzetta) in a month out and putting on a performance like that, just unbelievable,’’ he said.
And the weekend had been a challenge for his team.
‘‘It was a tough race, the hardest Southern 80. Times were a little bit down because of the wind, but our boys dug deep.’’
Vanzetta had been called up to ski after Zac broke his leg early last month and had hoped to give the team a win for a second year in a row.
‘‘We honestly thought we had it,’’ he said.
‘‘In terms of time I thought we were on the money, but it just didn’t happen that way in the end.’’
Vanzetta said the conditions were tough, but other than that it was a good run from the team.
‘‘Everyone put in 110 per cent,’’ Vanzetta said.
‘‘I only had a month to prepare for the race.
‘‘I made sure I gave everything into training at the gym and was out practicing on the water two or three times a week.
‘‘At the end of the day we did all we could do.’’
There was no guarantee The Mistress would race again next year, but as they’ve shown in the past it’s never too late to change their mind.
The Mistress will still race in the Beehag, but had no races in mind beyond the next one.