Wagga's military teams to battle hell and high water at Gumi

Testing the waters: Kapooka's personal training instructors, corporals Sean Whittington, Ashley Morris, Rohan Nichols and Daniel Sen prep for Sunday's Gumi Race. Picture: Steff Wills
Testing the waters: Kapooka's personal training instructors, corporals Sean Whittington, Ashley Morris, Rohan Nichols and Daniel Sen prep for Sunday's Gumi Race. Picture: Steff Wills

Wagga’s soldiers, sailors and airmen are set to battle it out at this year’s Gumi Race.

Teams from the city’s two military bases will join more than 80 rafts, competing in the World Championship competitive float down Murrumbidgee River on Sunday. 

Shots were fired when Kapooka’s physical training instructors this week said teams from the air force base at Forest Hill would be dead in the water, unable to contest the physical and mental strength of army.

“We reckon we’ll be able to beat the RAAF and navy teams,” He said. “We’ve got the bigger engine.” 

But the navy’s team from RAAF Base Wagga said the land-based boys might have too much wind in their sails. 

On board: Lieutenant-Commander Wayne Langworthy, with his staff from Wagga's Navy division at RAAF Base Wagga.

On board: Lieutenant-Commander Wayne Langworthy, with his staff from Wagga's Navy division at RAAF Base Wagga.

Lieutenant-Commander Wayne Langworthy said it was “nice to see the army coming out to compete against the senior service”. 

“Tell them to bring their big guns,” Commander Langworthy said. “It’s going to be a good day.”

RAAF Base Wagga Warrant Officer Kevin Jago said team’s taunts from Kapooka were “cute”.

With five rafts entering the annual race, crewed by members from all three services, WO Jago said the air force base was presenting a real joint push – “or paddle”

“We’ll do alright and we’ll be competitive,” WO Jago said. “We can always run interference for our fastest raft.”  

Competitors will sail their man-made inflatable rafts from Eunony Bridge to the Wiradjuri Reserve in a race that has seen competitors row, pedal, push and kick down the river since 1976.

But no matter the result, all sledges, insults and banter will be water under the bridge at the end of the day. 

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