THE Southern 80 committee is already looking to the future at the 2019 event.
Led by race chairman Neil Donald, the group will debrief this year’s event on Monday, and from then on will meet every second Tuesday to prepare for next year.
Donald is in his 24th year on the committee and still loves getting involved every time.
‘‘We meet every fortnight, so every second Tuesday throughout the year. It might be once a month in the winter, but then fortnightly when we’re back into the warmer months,’’ he said.
And the only reason he was not up for the director’s role is that he is competing over the weekend.
‘‘There is a race director who takes over on the day, but I couldn’t do that because I’ll be busy racing on the day,’’ he said.
‘‘I’ll be in various races. I’m driving in the disabled class (on Saturday morning), my daughter drives in the junior girls race and I’ll also be in the social races as well. It always is a full-on weekend.’’
Having been on the committee since 1994, Donald has held almost every position possible.
‘‘I have been vice chairman and vice president and then president for five years (2001-2005) and then went back to being director,’’ he said.
‘‘A lot of my time now is consumed with the technical side of the (Southern) 80 and then with that is organising things like seating and programs and there’s just not enough time for me to do all of that.’’
Even with his veteran status, Donald enjoys every minute of the long weekend that comes around once a year.
‘‘All of it really I suppose, getting in the water for the first time is fantastic and then when that’s done, once we finish, we’re back in to help out somewhere. It’s all hands on deck across the whole weekend,’’ he said.
The committee of 14 is thankful for the input of the many community groups helping over the weekend.
‘‘The community groups helping are fantastic and they are paid a donation to their club ... so it’s a good money spinner for them as well. So they donate their labour and they get a bit back as well,’’ Donald said.
Another redeeming factor is the temperatures for the days of action are set to be lower than last year’s blistering 40s.
‘‘We’re looking at 30s instead of 40s which we had last year,’’ Donald said.
‘‘So hopefully people will feel more inclined to stay on the embankments rather than wading out into the water.’’