IT’S A far cry from the Australia II - but it was undeniably an America’s Cup-style victory on the river ’Bidgee.
A group of Wagga tradies have taken out this year’s Gumi Race in spectacular fashion, pulling away from the pack early and landing at the beach sporting ear-to-ear cheeky grins.
Their four-seat beast – fittingly named “Kiss My Grass” – had a secret weapon under the rubber.
A design said to have been unsuccessfully copied by opponents, the gumi has a series of propeller blades that work overtime under the surface.
“It’s effectively a small motor,” Scott Hooper said, careful not to give away too many trade secrets.
“We built it a few years ago and it’s never let us down.”
It’s the second time Eat My Grass has won the open category of the Gumi Race after also taking out last year’s event.
Captain Dave Smit said he pushed his crew “to the brink” before eventually sailing ahead by nautical miles.
“There were other teams that got pretty close to us; we got a bit worried for a second there,” he said.
“But it looks like they got caught up with a few issues on the bends and we pulled ahead.
“(The victory) feels pretty good.”
South Wagga Apex Gumi committee member Neal Molineaux praised Riverina people for supporting the iconic event.
There were about 100 entrants for this year’s race, despite uncertainty over whether the event would proceed due to safety concerns flagged by Roads and Maritime Services (RMS).
“It was very touch and go,” Mr Molineaux said.
“But we’re really rapt with the day and the support we’ve received from the community. I was amazed by the crowds and how they all lined the beach watching the gumis come in. It was a fantastic day.”
Mr Molineaux said the committee would meet with RMS ahead of next year.
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