Southern 80 feels Merc’s mighty force

February 12, 2018

Merc Force during the Southern 80. Photo by Luke Hemer.

Don Gulley of Merc Force during Southern 80 Bakers Blitz. Photo by Luke Hemer.

HOW do you improve your game after winning the Southern 80?

Not only do you smash your previous time, you race the second fastest time in the S80 history.

And you become just the fifth team to go back-to-back.

That was Merc Force.

In a time of 30.08, it fell 25 seconds short of the all-time record.

But that’s not what matters to the team.

The fact the time was good enough to win was key.

‘‘It was a great time,’’ driver Don Gulley said straight after the race.

‘‘The result was reflective of the position really, we worked hard in the Blitz on Saturday to make sure we were in a position to come out first and set us up well.’’

Its time in the Blitz was 6.31, edging out local favourite The Mistress by seven seconds to gain the first seeding.

The victory gave Merc Force the opportunity to hit the waters first, giving the team every advantage in the big race.

‘‘We drove every inch of that race today (yesterday); we took every opportunity we had to make sure we produced our best time.

‘‘Putting such a good result together out on the water and setting ourselves up for a shot at winning is all you can really ask for.’’

It took over an hour to confirm, but there was never any doubt that Merc Force wouldn’t be taking home first place again.

After the announcement, Gulley was ecstatic about the result.

‘‘We are back in the penthouse now,’’ he said.

‘‘It’s come about by a lot of little things going right. The boat has to be right, the competitors have to be right physically and mentally. The upside of racing this event a number of times is that we now know how to prepare and go about getting these things right.

‘‘We come down and practice the river more than we used to, now we know how it moves and how we should take on the course accordingly.’’

Superman came second in the S80, a boat that Merc Force has in its sights.

‘‘We’re on to Robinvale (for the Robinvale/Euston Ski Race Classic). Superman beat us there last year, so we want to get them back,’’ Gulley said.

The team will also be looking towards next year where it hopes to become the second team to win three Southern 80s in a row.

The other, Hellrazor, has the incredible record of four straight during six wins.

While the team may be looking to its next event, right now, Merc Force is the king of the Murray.

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