A matter of teamwork

APART from owning a boat that can skim across the water at high speed there is another key ingredient involved with winning a race like the Grafton Bridge to Bridge.

Teamwork is paramount to finishing such an adrenalin-pumping race. And for the crew of Hellrazor, each member knows just what it takes to get the job done.

The driver

Mark Cranny knows only two well that having a fast boat is only part of being successful on the water.

After winning the Southern 80 and Mildura 100 earlier in the year, winning the Grafton Bridge to Bridge is the icing on the cake.

"Every course, every river or lake is different," Cranny said.

"It's all about how you approach each race. I think the observers are underrated and so are the skiers.

"It's about the whole team and not about one person.

"My job is to have some sort of race tactic in mind and make sure everything does go to plan."

The observer

For Damien Matthews, experience is the key to winning major races. A former skier, Matthews has a valuable insight into what the men at the back are going through. Particularly in such a gruelling event like the Grafton Bridge to Bridge.

"I guess we race regularly and are pretty well experienced," Matthews said. "The team has been together for about six to seven years now. A race like this where it's all about endurance, a lot of tactics come into play.

"Like today. We didn't drag race all the way up there. We actually followed Superman's wash to give the boys a better ride.

"And then half-way home we pulled out and started to race."

Matthews said his main focus was communicating with the driver and skiers.

"I'm the eyes for the driver, Mark, so I need to keep communicating with him," he said.

"I'm also an ex-skier, so I understand from a skier's perspective what's going on.

"I can judge and communicate with the driver and skiers. Pretty well the whole way we're talking."

The skiers

Peter Proctor and Steven Morley admit they will be feeling the pinch over the next few days. After celebrations are over they know all too well what to expect after such a demanding race.

"We do a lot of skiing, combined with weights, but our legs will be a little bit tired in the next few days," Morley said.

Proctor agreed.

"Yeah, you always pull up a bit sore," he said. "Grafton is a hard race to run no matter what the conditions.

"It was a bit bumpy out there today, so it was more of a tactical race.

"You have to save your energy for the way back. You just can't go flat out all the way up and back.

"You have to have a plan and adapt to the conditions. The guys in the boat did an excellent job today.

"We let them know how we're feeling and he (observer) will tell us when we have to push harder."

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