Deniliquin Boat Club prodigy Riley Arnold is looking to back-up last year’s performance at the world’s biggest water ski race, the Southern 80, held at Echuca-Moama this weekend.
Last year, the 19 year-old and his teammate Andrew Hanman broke the 200hp Outboard Social class record by 12 seconds, finishing the 20km race with a time of 9:24.56 minutes behind the boat ‘Coojac’, driven by Nick Groves.
This year Arnold will step up a class, competing in the Stock 6 Litre social tomorrow, before taking on the 6 Litre Expert on Sunday.
‘‘I’m always excited for the Southern 80,’’ he said.
‘‘I get quite nervous before other racing events, but Echuca is my backyard where I practice a lot.
‘‘I know most of the bends and know the river quite well.
‘‘I’ve been on the river nearly every day preparing for this and am pretty confident that I’ll do well.
‘‘The 200hp is a slower boat so I’m keen to get behind the faster boat this year.’’
Arnold has joined a new team for this season and will ski with Melbourne’s Adam Jones for the social event and Damo Payne, also from Melbourne, for the expert event.
They will ski behind ‘Hollow Point’ driven by Melbourne driver Steven Czapp.
‘‘I had my first race with them at the Barrie Beehag event back in November,’’ Arnold said.
‘‘That race went really well so hopefully it will be the same this weekend.
‘‘It’s a fresh team for the year and we’ll stay together this season.
‘‘Breaking a record last year was great but we’d have to have all the luck go our way if we were to do that again.
‘‘We’ll give it our best and hopefully finish up with a win.’’