Clarence Valley Independent

Favourites out, in Bridge to Bridge

‘Speed Lab’ skiers Bradley Osmotherly and Jack Coaldrake acknowledge the crowd. Image: Lynne Mowbray

Lynne Mowbray|

The 2019 Grafton Bridge to Bridge Ski Classic saw two race favourites unable to finish.

Event organiser Mark Stephenson said that last year’s winner ‘Superman’, was not so lucky this year.

Superman didn’t have the best of weekends,” Mr Stephenson said.

“He had some pretty major mechanical issues in their new boat on Saturday afternoon, before the shootout. So he sent that to Dubbo and got his second boat brought up.

“They got going on Sunday morning and had a good first lap and they were (running) only .8 of a second behind (race winner) Arkham Asylum at half way, on the first lap. As they came back through at the end of the first lap, you could tell that one of the skiers was quite sore and dropped a handle, out the front (of the control centre at the Crown Hotel).

“They dropped speed considerably around the back of the island and ended up pulling in to the ‘South’ (Grafton) wharf – so it was more skier tiredness than mechanical issues this year.

“They are running a little bit of a different crew this year than what they’ve run in the last couple of years and only picked up Jack Stevens in the last couple of weeks,” he said.

Mr Stephenson said that Merc Force – in the second heat, also had problems this year.

“They were leading and had good water out the front,” he said.

“Rounding the island the second time, they lost speed.

“We continued to track them on the ‘race safe system’ and they consistently held that slower speed; so I think it’s more mechanical than anything. They pulled up half way between Ulmarra and Brushgrove.

“This year (in Race 1) we had Victorian boats Arkham Asylum and Sapphire place one and two, which is a first – we’ve never experienced that in the past. Then we had a boat from the Sunshine Coast called Supernova filled third spot.

“In Race 2 – Speed Lab from Sydney won that ahead of Pepper Bullet and Bite the Bullet,he said.

Mr Stephenson said that this year’s race was run over two shorter laps, from Grafton to Brushgrove and back, instead of going all the way down to Harwood.

“It’s a change that we just had to make; for a small committee, it’s just a lot of work in that bottom end of the course,” he said.

“It’s not to say that it’s going to be ‘the be all and end all’, we may go back to having more boats; if we get 70 boats we’ll go back to running the full course.

“That will be decided later on in the year, so it will all depend next year on what entries we get,” he said.

‘Sapphire’ observer Brian Griffin keeps an eye on the skiers at the end of the first lap. Image: Lynne Mowbray
‘Pumped Up’ heads down river towards Brushgrove. Image: Lynne Mowbray
‘The Sting’ observer checks his skiers. Image: Lynne Mowbray
‘Merc Force F1’ heads towards the Grafton Bridge. Image: Lynne Mowbray
‘Sapphire’ observer Brian Griffin signals to his skiers. Image: Lynne Mowbray
Last year’s Bridge to Bridge winner ‘Superman’ heads under the Grafton Bridge. Image: Lynne Mowbray
‘Shooter’ skiers, Joesi Gisinger and Violet Campbell. Image: Lynne Mowbray.
‘Running Riot’ takes off at the start of Race 2 on Sunday. Image: Lynne Mowbray

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