Pigs Arsenal skier Jack Stevens and father/team driver Chris Stevens ahead of this weekend’s Mildura 100 Ski race. Photo: PAUL MENSCH
LOCAL ski racing aces Pigs Arsenal hope to give their opponents a run for their money in Sunday’s Mildura 100 Ski Race.
The crown jewel of the Easter Powersports weekend is the biggest race of the year for the Mildura Ski Club, and the major hope is that one of their own teams can take overall honours.
The team of driver Chris Stevens, observer Mark Boyer and skiing brothers Jack and Sean Stevens, made their debut in the pinnacle of ski racing at the 2017 Ted Hurley Classic in October last year.
Since that time they have steadily improved in the top class, culminating with a third place finish at the recent Robinvale/Euston 80.
The Merc Force team of Don Gulley, Kevin Boylan, Jake Tegart and Kris Knights go into the race as firm favourites as they look to continue their domination of the river classic races this season.
If Pigs Arsenal have their way, however, they will be celebrating a Mildura 100 victory ahead of their Queensland counterparts.
Jack Stevens said the Pigs Arsenal team that won the Unlimited Inboard class at last year’s great race knew it would take some time to make waves in the Superclass sector.
“We’ve had a good few results over the past month or two at the Southern 80 and the Robinvale 80, so we’re pretty happy with the progress we’ve been making,” the Australian representative skier said.
“We always knew it was going to be hard work (jumping into Superclass) and would take a bit of time for us to get towards the pointy end of the field. The guys we’re racing against have been in this class for years. We’re not too far off at the moment and we’ll just keep chipping away at it.
“Superclass is the pinnacle of waterski racing. You’re holding higher speeds for a longer period of time.
“It should be good. We know the course pretty well and hopefully we can use that to our advantage.
“We’ll be giving it a red hot crack and hopefully giving the likes of Merc Force and Superman a run for their money.”
Jack said the crew hoped to debut their brand new machine ‘Hell’s Arsenal’ for their home event, but that had not come to fruition.
“Hell’s Arsenal is the old Hellrazor boat owned by Mark Cranny,” he said.
“Our team has taken it over and it will be renamed Hell’s Arsenal. Unfortunately there is still a bit of work that needs to be done to it so next season we will get to unveil it.”
Merc Force have blitzed the competition this season, and have one hand on the King of the Murray title. The crown is awarded to the most consistent team across the Victorian river classic events this season – the Ted Hurley Classic, Southern 80 in Echuca, the Robinvale 80 and the Mildura 100.
Merc Force claimed back-to-back Southern 80 titles in Echuca before winning the Robinvale Euston 80 three weeks ago. They also claimed wins in the Grafton Bridge to Bridge and Sydney Bridge to Bridge to have won four of the seven main races across the country.
They lead the King of the Murray just ahead of Superman team Darren McGuire, Brett Armstrong, Daniel Cotton and Daniel Graziano.
A spanner, however, could be thrown into the works, as skier Kris Knights could potentially miss because his second child is due over the Easter weekend.
“We would really like to get the King of the Murray, but I am in the hands of the gods with my wife due to give birth,” he told Ski Racing Australia following the Robinvale 80.
“I told Donny (Gulley) after we crossed the finish line today he might have to book a private room at the Mildura Base Hospital.”
The Mildura 100 Ski Race commences with the annual Show N’ Shine and scruitineering at the Langtree Mall today from midday.
Tomorrow is qualifying for the event, plus the Dash for Cash that evening. Social classes will also take to the water. Official racing begins on Sunday morning at the Mildura Ski Club.
For further information visit the Mildura Ski Club website or Facebook page.