IT took two decades for skiers Daniel Cotton and Daniel Graziano to claim a victory at the Mildura 100 Ski Race river classic, but last weekend they did it in style with their Superman team, carving close to 17 seconds off the record in the process.
More than 160 teams entered Sunday’s final race of the 2017/18 river classics season, being run on the Murray River between the Mildura Ski Club and Wickets Sandbar, some 50km away.
At an average speed of more than 111 miles per hour, the team who hail from NSW fended off a challenge from Arkham Asylum and local crew Pigs Arsenal to win the race in 30 minutes, 41 seconds. It was also the first victory for owner/driver Darren McGuire, and the second for observer Brett Armstrong who last won it in 2004.
The final standings saw Arkham in second overall (31min, 54sec), Pigs third (32min, 04sec).
Swinging in Superman’s favour was the retirement of their closest rival Merc Force, who ended their day when skier Jake Tegart suffered a fall. Tegart and his crew recovered to the bank safely, but that event ended their hopes of a third river classic victory on the hop this season.
In claiming the race – and the record – Superman also won the coveted ‘King of the Murray’ title, awarded to the team with the most points across the Ted Hurley, Southern 80, Robinvale 80 and Mildura 100 events.
Having won two of the four races, and with adversaries Merc Force recording a DNF, Superman were the best in class on Australia’s most famous river throughout the season. For their efforts, they will take possession of the Dennis Rowbottom Trophy, something Graziano called it a “privilege”.
“Winning the King of the Murray, we didn’t really know we were in that much of a running for it until this weekend,” Graziano said.
“But it’s there now, it’s a great privilege and not too many people have done it. It’s a great to get the opportunity.
“For both me and ‘Cotto’ [Daniel Cotton], this is the first Mildura victory. So to win the race, break the record and win the King of the Murray, the three big things…it’s really good.”
After trying for so long to win this gruelling marathon of an event, Cotton said that today the conditions played in their favour. Unsurprisingly, he also said that today’s race has been his most enjoyable ever.
“You definitely talk records at half way at these races when you’re ahead,” Cotton said.
“You know what time you did on the first leg and what you have to do to come home. If you’re under record at half way you aim to come home the same. It was a little bit breezier this afternoon on the way home. But it did not affect us out the back, as the water was still calm.
“Normally we don’t enjoy Mildura, it’s tough! But today was easier. I’ve been coming here more than 20 years and this is my first win in Superclass, I’ve been trying long enough.”
At the time of writing teams were still on the water completing the event. Friends and families make up the majority of teams.