Southern 80

There’s good, there’s better and there’s the record

By Andrew Johnston

THEY have never been better — and that may well sting more than anything.

The Mistress have had a point to prove since their snubbing from superclass due to Ski Racing Australia’s rules.

If the mighty Mistress was going to win, she would have to do it with a speed cap.

You only had to talk to Leo or Zac Welch in the leadup to the race to know that they had a point to prove.

And they came oh so close to doing so on the day of the race.

Mistress flew across the Murray to produce an incredible time of 30.11, taking 1.32 off the unlimited outboard record previously held by Stinga.

The time was also quicker than their 2016 overall win.

And yet the team couldn’t help but feel dejected at the finish line.

‘‘That time shows what a sensational run it was,’’ Leo Welch said.

‘‘Zac drove the wheels off and the skiers produced incredibly well, and we knew that we had that kind of race in us.

‘‘I think all things considered we probably laid down the best time that you could in this category. It was just too hard of an ask to win outright, but we did a sensational time.’’

Zac Welch — driving the Mistress for the first time — said his first drive was bitter sweet.

‘‘Everyone did a tremendous job, but I wonder sitting here what it would have been like if we were on a level playing field,’’ he said.

‘‘An unlimited record and a win is a great thing to take away from the race — but it isn’t what we want.’’

The performance of the team puts further pressure on Ski Racing Australia to allow the Mistress to run with the superclass boats.

‘‘This has never been about wanting an advantage,’’ Leo said.

‘‘We showed today what we could do with these blokes. We are the same as any other sport in the world — all we want is to have a level playing field. And we hope this provides us with some momentum for that to happen.’’

After 2018’s farewell race ended with a dropped skier and a did not finish, 2019 should have been the return to glory of the team.

And despite their success, it feels like a somewhat disappointing ending.