‘Nothing will stop us from racing’

February 09, 2018

The speedboat Nailed was left underwater after crashing to avoid a collision with an oncoming boat.

SUNDAY, January 21.

On that morning, Nailed was involved in an incident while training on the Murray.

The boat was underwater, the driver in hospital with spinal injuries.

It’s a little more than two weeks later and Nailed is ready to go.

‘‘We will race. There is nothing that will hold us up,’’ owner Leigh Thomas said.

And it’s not just there to make up the numbers.

‘‘You don’t work hard and invest in a boat like this for fun,’’ Thomas said.

‘‘We will be ready to compete and if there is any chance that we can get on top of it, we will win and we will go after the record. You race because you want to be the best you can in any event.’’

What can easily get lost in the wash-up of Nailed’s accident is that the boat has a number of big Southern 80 performances under its belt.

In 2016, Nailed set the 60m/ph expert class record in a strong performance.

Last year, it finished second in the social 70m/ph race.

That isn’t enough for Thomas.

‘‘We are all competitive people in this sport,’’ Thomas said.

‘‘I’ve won four Southern 80s and I’ve got the record. I’ve done this in a lot of other events.

‘‘People know they are in for a fight. Good boats win races, really good boats break records.’’

Thomas was adamant the ability to be resilient in these circumstances is what made ski racers who they were.

‘‘You will see a lot of pretty faces but, make no mistake about it, if you’re getting out on one of those boats then you are as tough as they come.’’

Thomas said one of the most amazing things since the accident was the offers he had to participate.

‘‘We have had maybe four different groups approach us with offers. The occasional person saying ‘hey, I have a boat in the shed’ or someone who wants you to take a roll on their team to keep you in competition,’’ he said.

‘‘These aren’t close friends or people we know a bit, these are people who are saying they’ve seen us participate and want to see us out on the water somehow. All of these people were fighting just to help me and this team get to the finish line. As much as it’s a lot of money and a lot effort to compete, the support I have gotten is fantastic.’’

As blown away by the offers as Thomas was, there was never a real chance he would take part in anything but his beloved Nailed.

‘‘We have worked hard to get this together. I have skiers coming down from Queensland, we have people working behind the scenes for this whole time to be ready to go,’’ he said.

‘‘There is nothing that will stop Nailed from racing.

‘‘As a team, we are ready to give it our all and hopefully when we do, we win.’’

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