Speed trap: Mistress cops a 12km/h hit

By Andrew Johnston

THE team from the Mistress tried everything.

Every avenue to request, beg and protest Ski Racing Australia to allow them to race Superclass.

It all fell on deaf ears.

With the teams for the Southern 80’s 50th race about to be revealed, the Mistress has not been included in Superclass.

Instead, they will have to run in Unlimited and cop the speed limit cap that comes with it — max 115km/h.

Owner Leo Welch said the team had exhausted their options.

‘‘We’ve made every approach we can,’’ he said.

‘‘We’ve written letters, we’ve made a number of applications and done everything by the book, but unfortunately Ski Racing Australia hasn’t seen things our way.

‘‘We are really disappointed because we can’t race on an even playing field. I think it compromises the race.’’

The rule states: All Superclass teams must compete in at least five Classic events per SRA season.

As the Mistress doesn’t meet this requirement, they have to take a 7mph speed cap — close to 12km/h slower than the four Superclass boats.

The team from Mistress admit they understand the logic behind the rule change.

‘‘We understand the safety aspect of the rule being in place,’’ Welch said.

‘‘It stops a newcomer from coming in with a big cheque book, buying a big boat and racing at speeds that they aren’t capable of.’’

While Mistress supports the idea behind the rule, they believe there needs to be a case by case basis for the application of the rule.

‘‘I think there is an unfair playing ground here,’’ Welch said.

‘‘I think there needs to be some common sense applied for teams who have the history, have the record to show they can take this course safely and we have that history.’’

But it won’t be the only major change for Superclass.

Of the six Superclass boats who took to the water in the 2018 race, only Superman and Pigs Arsenal will return to race in the category.

Defending champion Mercforce has called it a day, Stinga and Sapphire will both not race, while Mistress will compete in a different class.

‘‘It’s pretty disappointing to only have four boats in the class,’’ Welch said.

‘‘The race thrives on having multiple competitors going for the win, and with the cap and the low number in Superclass, I think that robs the spectators of a great contest and that’s not ideal for the sport.’’

Due to the Speed and Marathon Championships event this week, Ski Racing Australia were unavailable for contact at the time of print.