LEIGH Thomas is a relieved man.
‘‘Finishing the race was winning for us,’’ he said.
Nailed has become even more of a crowd favourite this year.
By most estimations, it should never have raced.
When it was nose up in the Murray in late January, it was gone for all money.
But at the end of the Southern 80, it had defied those expectations.
Saturday afternoon it raced the Senior Social 30-39 class.
In a result that not even Thomas saw coming, the boat finished third.
‘‘It doesn’t have the engine for this,’’ Thomas said.
‘‘It’s really been built to be at its peak around 70mh, so when we were pushing towards 80, we had some worries about it.
‘‘But we were really happy with how it produced. It allows us to go away and make some minor adjustments before tomorrow.’’
Sunday was nailed’s pet event, the 70mh Expert class.
It would again finish in third place, finishing 43 seconds behind winner Brutal.
‘‘Winners are grinners and losers make excuses, so I guess its time for me to make a few excuses now,’’ Thomas laughed.
‘‘We got held up by a boat, but that’s part of racing. We had a really good run and in fairness to them, when we got a chance to overtake them they let us past so we can’t say anything bad about them.
‘‘The boat settled really nicely today, it was a beautiful day to race and we couldn’t have been happier with all of that.
‘‘Unfortunately, you can’t have the entire of the river to yourself, we have to get around the fact that there are multiple boats competing. The boat is perfect for this class, it’s really controllable.’’
But the simple fact that Nailed was on the water was the best result.
‘‘All in all, I think we had a really good weekend,’’ Thomas said.
‘‘It’s been a week, it’s been a fortnight really. And the people of this town have gone through it too.
‘‘They’ve seen it from being upside down to where it is now. They may not have seen the work, but they got to see our victory too.
‘‘My victory was that I got here and that my team got to race. We love this event, we all work towards it, so now we get to share in the spoils of being here and picking up a couple of trophies as well.’’