Southern 80

Tough conditions cost time

By Andrew Johnston

CHELSEA Blight and Maddi Boyer had one goal in mind when they hit the river on Sunday.

They had broken the open women’s expert record in 2018, and they were out to break it again.

The team gave it their best, but it wasn’t enough, by the smallest of margins. With a time of 33.16.5, Merc Force had missed the mark by less than eight hundredths of a second.

While she didn’t shave more time off their own record, Blight was far from upset.

‘‘I think we did a pretty good time,’’ Blight said.

‘‘It was far tougher conditions this year as opposed to the 2018 race as we got stuck behind a boat this year and that really slowed us down.

‘‘Catching up to boats made it feel like more of a challenge, though we basically did the same time.’’

Boyer said the new challenge was one the team had embraced.

‘‘The wash is a bit choppy, so you can’t get on the corners as early,’’ she said.

‘‘But we enjoyed the challenge of it, its something we improved and it made us better skiers for the challenge.’’

While the record eluded them slightly, both skiers said it was a special day to be a part of the sport.

‘‘I’m really happy for the TR team,’’ Blight said.

‘‘To beat the king of racing in (Mark) Cranny (of Team Hell) is a huge thing for anyone. It was great to be out there on a day like this.’’

Now for the team comes Mildura and Robinvale, and for Blight comes her wedding.

But for Boyer comes a trip to France for the World Championships.

‘‘A lot of time in the water is the key,’’ she said.

‘‘Working hard and honing my skills is what is something I will need to do a lot of over the next few months to get myself ready for the event.

‘‘It is a challenge, but it’s one I can’t wait for.’’