Gale Force in full flight in the Grafton Bridge to Bridge Ski Classic.
Gale Force in full flight in the Grafton Bridge to Bridge Ski Classic. Lynne Mowbray

Water ski classic a ripper

MARK Cranny and his crew knew they had to come up with something special if they were to win yesterday's Grafton Bridge to Bridge race.

With red-hot favourite Blazen taking Saturday's Crown Hotel Superclass Shootout, Cranny's race plan worked to perfection when it mattered, as he and his team held off Superman and Blazen to claim victory aboard their boat Hellrazor.

Hellrazor's time of 41:08.10 might have been well outside the race record but for Cranny and his crew it mattered little.

"Yeah, Blazen certainly went into the race as favourite but you never know until you get out on to the water what is going to transpire," Cranny told the Examiner after the race.

"You can have a plan in your head but I think experience in ski racing also has a lot to do with it.

"Make opportunities count when you can."

Organisers felt Hellrazor's chances of winning this year's Bridge to Bridge were slim after losing valuable time to Blazen on the first leg.

It was reported Hellrazor was 30 seconds behind race favourite Blazen at the turn.

"I don't think that would be correct. I don't want to take them (organisers) to task but I was there," Cranny said.

"On the home run the boys picked up. We started off with Superman, who gave us a great race.

"They really made it hard for us but we had to pick a spot where we were going to go around them and take the lead and go hard from there.

"The pair of us had been making time on Noel Griffin (driver of Blazen), so it was a matter of digging deep and just keeping going."

Hellrazor's observer Damien Matthews said they might have slipped under the radar after finishing behind Blazen in Saturday's Shootout.

"Taking off pole four was actually good for us," Matthews said.

"A lot of people crossed us off but we were quietly confident we could get the job done."

For Cranny and his crew it was a bitter sweet victory, after being disqualified from the race in their last attempt.

Winning the prestigious Grafton Bridge to Bridge is another feather in Cranny's cap, after winning the Southern 80 and Mildura 100 earlier in the year.

Merc Force failed to finish the race after damaging a propeller.

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