SPEED TRAP Mistress cops a 12km/h hit

The Riverine Herald - - SPORT - By An­drew John­ston

THE team from the Mistress tried ev­ery­thing.

Ev­ery av­enue to re­quest, beg and protest Ski Rac­ing Aus­tralia to al­low them to race Su­per­class. It all fell on deaf ears. With the teams for the South­ern 80’s 50th race about to be re­vealed, the Mistress has not been in­cluded in Su­per­class.

In­stead, they will have to run in Un­lim­ited and cop the speed limit cap that comes with it — max 115km/h.

Owner Leo Welch said the team had ex­hausted their op­tions.

‘‘We’ve made ev­ery ap­proach we can,’’ he said.

‘‘We’ve writ­ten let­ters, we’ve made a num­ber of ap­pli­ca­tions and done ev­ery­thing by the book, but un­for­tu­nately Ski Rac­ing Aus­tralia hasn’t seen things our way.

‘‘We are re­ally dis­ap­pointed be­cause we can’t race on an even play­ing field. I think it com­pro­mises the race.’’

The rule states: All Su­per­class teams must com­pete in at least five Clas­sic events per SRA sea­son.

As the Mistress doesn’t meet this re­quire­ment, they have to take a 7mph speed cap — close to 12km/h slower than the four Su­per­class boats.

The team from Mistress ad­mit they un­der­stand the logic be­hind the rule change.

‘‘We un­der­stand the safety as­pect of the rule be­ing in place,’’ Welch said.

‘‘It stops a new­comer from com­ing in with a big cheque book, buy­ing a big boat and rac­ing at speeds that they aren’t ca­pa­ble of.’’

While Mistress sup­ports the idea be­hind the rule, they be­lieve there needs to be a case by case ba­sis for the ap­pli­ca­tion of the rule.

‘‘I think there is an un­fair play­ing ground here,’’ Welch said.

‘‘I think there needs to be some com­mon sense ap­plied for teams who have the his­tory, have the record to show they can take this course safely and we have that his­tory.’’

But it won’t be the only ma­jor change for Su­per­class.

Of the six Su­per­class boats who took to the wa­ter in the 2018 race, only Su­per­man and Pigs Ar­se­nal will re­turn to race in the cat­e­gory.

De­fend­ing cham­pion Mer­c­force has called it a day, Stinga and Sap­phire will both not race, while Mistress will com­pete in a dif­fer­ent class.

‘‘It’s pretty dis­ap­point­ing to only have four boats in the class,’’ Welch said.

‘‘The race thrives on hav­ing mul­ti­ple com­peti­tors go­ing for the win, and with the cap and the low num­ber in Su­per­class, I think that robs the spec­ta­tors of a great con­test and that’s not ideal for the sport.’’

Due to the Speed and Marathon Cham­pi­onships event this week, Ski Rac­ing Aus­tralia were un­avail­able for con­tact at the time of print.

Luke He­mer

NO LADY LUCK: Mistress will be forced to run slower at the South­ern 80 due to the gov­ern­ing body’s ruling. Photo:

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