Skiers back on the river for rescheduled Beehag

April 28, 2017

The Mistress driven by Leo Welch with observer Brian Griffin and skiers Dylan Stevenson and Jake Vanzetta during the Southern 80. Photo Luke Hemer.

FOLLOWING months of delay, the 2016 Barrie Beehag Ski Race finally hits the Murray River this weekend.

The first boats take off from Deep Creek Marina at 9.30am tomorrow morning and will head for Torrumbarry Weir before returning to the same starting point to end the race.

Four boats, including local ski racing team The Mistress, have entered in the superclass with the current title holders Sapphire, driven by Tim Pickford, leading the pack.

Echuca skier Lloyd Woolman and Ben Gulley will be skiing behind Sapphire with Chris Gelle observing.

Reigning Southern 80 and Mildura 100 champions Merc Force will follow.

Driver Leo Welch and observer Brian Griffin are then set to tow Dylan Stevenson and Jake Vanzetta as part of The Mistress ski racing team before 99 Psycho Clowns, driven by Jessica Pearse, round off the list of superclass competitors.

Welch was hoping for a good clean run up and back and expected to go well given everything falls into place on the day.

‘‘The boat has kept up well and the boys (Stevenson and Vanzetta) have been training hard,’’ Welch said.

‘‘We’ve only had one run with the boat since the Southern 80, but Dylan has done a few more races in between.

‘‘Hopefully we can improve on our start position at the return and finish strong.’’

Welch said there was no longer an advantage being the local team with every team at the top end becoming more professional and preparing well.

‘‘At the end of the day we all want to race hard and finish safe to return home to our families,’’ Welch said.

‘‘There’s no doubt though when we cross that white line every team will have their race hats on.’’

Dean Johns’ Sportspage will be first on the water in the 8 litre class competing against five other boats.

The Beehag’s oldest skier Noel Cartledge will race alongside his grandson Kohdi in the 60mph class with his son Jason driving.

The race was postponed in November 2016 due to high river levels with 116 boats now set to race in tomorrow’s event.

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