Looking Back on 25 Years of the Bridge to Bridge

In 2008 we celebrated 25 years of Bridge to Bridge ski racing and would like to take a quick walk down memory lane to see what has gone before us and how we all have come to enjoy the event today. There has been many changes in formats, boats, motors and other technologies but the thing with the Bridge to Bridge is it still takes a team of 4 humans to make it all happen. I believe this is why so many people keep returning every year, even if they are not regular racers to give this iconic race another crack.

One man who has competed in all 25 of these racers is Hamiltonian Allan Bedford. In 2008 he owned the black Bullet called ‘On Parole’ and was the favorite to win the SMOC class in both the long race and the powerboat sprints for the 4th year running in each. In 1984 he was in Family class and has some great stories to tell from every year in between. Well done Allan and we hope you continue to race for a few more years yet.

  • 1984 – The 1st Bridge to Bridge took place. It was called the Pit Stop Bridge to Bridge and ran from Cambridge to the Pit Stop Café in Huntly. Family Class was a Jump start from the Wellington Street Beach and ran to Huntly.
  • 1986 – The Bridge to Bridge long race was shifted to be run as we run it today from Cambridge to Taupiri and return back to Hamilton.
  • 1988 – Rollo’s Marine and Johnson and Evinrude Outboards come on board the event as principle sponsors, a position Rollo’s Marine still hold 20 years on
  • Early 1990’s – The Bridge to Bridge was dominated by a Kermit Green 1750 Bullet called C.T. Owned and driven by Colin Townsend, the Yamaha powered boat won the long race 3 years in a row.
  • 1994 – The late Peter Stevenson had not long set up his beautifully prepared twin rig ‘Stinga’ which won the race this year and broke the record by nearly 5 minutes. This very same boat is competing again after a couple of years out of action , 14 years later.
  • 1995 – There was a great battle between Under Siege, Performance Marine and Tony Ward’s Kwikraft. Eventually finishing in that order. Under Siege took another 25 seconds off Stinga’s record towing Danny Cropper for his first run down our river along with Craig Brown and the junior World Champ Alex Ross from Australia also was over to ski the race.
  • 1997 – Novice, Masters, Social and Family all run in one race from Taupiri to Hamilton – there was 70 boats this year. This was the last year the race was run in this format.
  • 1999-2000 Kiwi Hot Shot Michael Davy and his Australian ski partner Reece Middlemiss won the race back to back firstly behind French Maid and then behind Warlord
  • 2002 – The year that everyone remembers as ‘The rough one.’ It was the year Australian Superclass Boat ‘The Axe’ came to town and won every race on the weekend except the one that counts. Warlord took that one with DC and Jamie Oliver and second place and 1st in MOC was Sleaze. There was some huge water and speeds were way down at the northern end of the course close to Taupiri. This was also the first year that coverage of the event was made into a TV programme for Sky Sport.
  • 2003 – Another Australian SuperClass boat came to our shores this time towing 2 kiwi under 19’s They were Chris Holman and Brad Dutton. They were 2nd to Warlord in the Time Trial and took a fall on the day of the main race 800m out of Taupiri.
  • 2004 – Top Gun towing Bevan Turksma and Aussie Mitch Galvin set the record of 33:31 that still stands today. A very impressive effort and one that will take a lot of beating.
  • 2007 – Noizworks returned to once again towing Brad Dutton and Australian skier Cara Jochinke, but again didn’t manage to topple Warlord from Bridge to Bridge glory for the 9th time. The MOC, Under 19’s and F5 record all fell in a year with a huge amount of Australian competitors over for the trip.
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