2020 Southern 80 launches

By Andrew Johnston

IT'S as a big an event as our twin towns sees.

A weekend where the community near triples in size, as the mighty Murray becomes the fastest stretch of water in the known universe.

The countdown to the world's biggest ski race has begun, with the official launch of the 2020 Southern 80 on Tuesday morning.

Moama Water Sports Club president Steve Shipp said the club was excited for the 51st running of the race.

“It's going to be a great event,” he said.

“Everyone is really looking forward to what the season brings us. We've just completed the Barrie Beehag which was a fantastic event, so all eyes are now focused on the 80 and getting ready for the event.”

This year's event will follow the fastest race in history.

Two boats - winner TR and Arkham Asylum - both completed sub 30 minute races in 2019, with TR wiping more than 20 seconds off Hellrazor's all time record.

Shipp said the results showed the sport was the most competitive it had ever been.

“We've seen some changes to the race in terms of speed limits of late, so to see the 30 barrier cracked was fantastic for the event. I don't think it's ever been this close, in every class the boats are separated by mere seconds and we are seeing real competition.”

More so than just the competitors, the event is once again expected to draw one of the biggest crowds of any event in the Echuca Moama region for the year, with estimates of 40,000 likely to be a part of the event.

Entries officially opened earlier this week, and Shipp expects them to come flooding in.

“People can now start to get themselves prepared for the race,” he said.

“The entries will be open for a while, but it will start to take shape in coming weeks. We will start planning classes and categories soon which will give us a proper idea of what the race is going to look like.”