Deniliquin’s Riley Arnold has backed up a record-breaking 2017 Southern 80 performance with another record at the world’s biggest water ski race at the weekend.
Winning the Stock 6 Litre Social event on Saturday, the 19 year-old Deniliquin Boat Club member and his teammate Adam Jones bettered the event’s record by a second, finishing with a time of 8:42 minutes behind speedboat ‘Hollow Point’.
It was Arnold’s second race with his new team, following on from the Barrie Beehag event in November last year.
Arnold said Saturday’s record finish was an unexpected result considering the problems that arose when training on Friday night.
‘‘We went out on Friday night and the boat couldn’t even pull us out of the water, so we went into Saturday thinking the worst and it came out the best.
‘‘The issue seemed to be dirty fuel, but they drained the boat and fuel on Friday night and had it ready for Saturday.
‘‘It felt really good to back up the performance from last year — everything went perfectly and I felt really good on the skis.’’
Racing behind ‘Coojac’ with teammate Andrew Hanman, Arnold’s record result last year was a 12 second improvement on the 200hp Outboard Social class best time. They finished the 20km race in 9:24:56 minutes.
This year Arnold was also looking good for a record in Sunday’s Stock 6 Litre Expert until disaster struck.
‘‘We were racing the full 80 kilometres and 60 kilometres in we were under the record time. Then we blew the motor to bits.’’
Arnold said he would tackle his next planned race — the 2018 Robinvale Classic on March 10 and 11 — only if ‘Hollow Point’ has been repaired in time.
‘‘Robinvale is in three weeks, but it will depend if the motor is fixed — it does need to get back to Queensland (for repairs).
‘‘If the boat is right, we will go for the record in social. We know we’re capable of it after the weekend.’’
In preparation, Arnold said he’ll continue with as much on water training as possible, as well as spending time in the gym.
In the meantime, he said he wanted to thank Deniliquin Boat Club and Brett Sands Watersports for their support for the Southern 80.