Southern 80 thunders on

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2011 ski race looking good after last year's funding scare

Southern 80 thunders on
Southern 80 thunders on

The Club Marine Southern 80 ski race, the world’s largest event of its kind, has been running for 45 years, and although its future has often been in doubt, organisers are now well into preparation for the 2011 marathon in Echuca, Victoria.

Attracting as many as 500 local and interstate entries and up to 100,000 spectators, the Southern 80 is a "two-up" race conducted on the Murray River between Torrumbarry and Echuca on the second Sunday in February each year. It brings a huge amount of money into the Echuca/Moama district, giving the local economy an energy boost of an estimated $23 million.

In recent times a struggling rural economy, bush fires, rising costs and extreme weather have all combined to jeopardise the event — it suffered its fourth consecutive loss in 2009. But after appealing to local businesses to get more involved, members of the Moama Water Sports Club believe the race is now back on its feet and out of immediate danger.

"More than 100 local businesses have risen to the challenge to support the 2010 event, either by taking out supporters’ packages or class sponsorships, while skiracers themselves have been encouraged to support them in kind," said the organisers.

Like many events of this type, and despite its size, the Southern 80 is run by a small but dedicated band of local volunteers who every year do their utmost to keep the event alive.

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