Mathoura’s first ski family
Mathoura has a footy ground, a bowls rink and a river — so it’s no surprise Stuart and Melanie Horne encouraged their sons to get involved in ski racing.
After all, travelling to Echuca and Deniliquin for extended sporting opportunities could turn out to be quite time consuming.
But what turned out to be a “close to home’’ weekend entertainment option has turned into a travelling circus for the family as their 20-year-old twin boys, Bryce and Kane, along with their 24-year-old brother Josh, compete at the elite level of the sport all over Australia.
Travel is by no means a problem for the family, however, Stuart owns his own truck and transport company.
He is regularly on the road, but much prefers the water with his talented progeny on weekends.
Melanie and Stuart, along with their sons, will travel to Echuca Moama this weekend to compete for the 15th year at the Southern 80.
The twins have been skiing since they were eight and Josh was 12 when he was first dragged along behind a family friend’s boat, Out 4 Revenge. The twins first skied behind a boat called Longshot.
“Stuart bought his first boat (Stamede) from Jim Miles. It was a Spectre, sadly Jim had passed away and Stuart purchased the boat from his family,” he said.
This weekend Stuart will be observer for Shepparton owner driver Chris Doonan, who owns Agrovation — the boat which will have Kane and Bryce Horne skiing behind in the President’s Dash, Tim Driver Memorial and Unlimited inboard naturally aspirated expert class.
Josh will ski behind the Stuart Clough-owned Illusion Down Under in oppositon to his younger siblings, in the same events.
While the family has a similar interest when it comes to their after-hours pursuits, they head in completely opposite directions during the week.
Melanie is a bookkeeper, Stuart (as mentioned earlier) owns and drives his own truck, while all three boys are in trades — Josh is an electrician, Bryce a plumber and Kane a carpenter.
Outside of skiing Kane plays football, while Bryce and Kane volunteer at the Deniliquin Boat Club where they teach young kids to ski at ski school.
Melanie admitted she was initially nervous about the sport.
“I was very cautious and probably held them back a bit. I didn’t want them going to fast to soon,” she said.
Melanie is now the key organiser of the troops and completes everything from trailer organiser to courier and her son’s unofficial bank.
Stuart’s first involvement in racing was 2006 at the Victorian titles and a year later he was involved in the Southern 80.
He observed when Ultra Troublemaker was sixth outright and broke the six-litre record.
The twins set a new Under-18 record and won the Ashley French Memorial Trophy with Ghostrider, while Josh won is a former winner of the unlimited inboard naturally aspirated with Illusions Downunder.
Stuart has been a part of numerous record breaking wins with Ultra Troublemaker.
At Robinvale this year Stuart (observer) and the twins (skies) won with Agrovation in unlimited inboard naturally aspirated and broke the existing record by three minutes.
The family is expecting to be involved in the Top 40 Dash and feature prominently in the unlimited inboard naturally aspirated.
Stuart and the twins, with Agrovation, are hopeful of a top-15 finish.
They will provide a great target for Josh to chase.
Agrovation, is a 18.6 feet Stevens Hull, with a 565 cubic inch Chevrolet engine, twin carb naturally aspirated v drive. Illusions Downunder is an Everingham, powered by a 540-cubic inch Chevrolet engine naturally aspirated v drive.
When quizzed about injuries during their careers, whiplash and concussion was a common theme with the three, while Bryce also suffered a shattered foot.
The family’s last event of the season will be at the South Australian titles in June.