THE thrills and spills of high-speed river racing are back this weekend for the annual Southern 80 ski race.Held on an 80km course through over 120 bends along the Murray River, boats dragging two water-skiers each will reach speeds of 170 km/h in the action-packed event.
Southern 80 spokeswoman Julie Golledge said thousands of people would watch the race between Torrumbarry and Echuca.
"We'll probably have between 10,000 and 20,000 people at the finish line, and that much or more along the river banks," she said.
She said organisers had received 599 entries, with separate events for kids and veterans, as well as the daredevils in high-speed superclass boats.
Hellrazor is the hot favourite for Sunday's main race, having recorded seven wins in previous years.
Campaspe Shire mayor Ian Maddison said the annual event was a highlight for locals and visitors.
"I welcome all the competitors and spectators visiting our beautiful shire this weekend and I encourage residents to come and experience this internationally renowned iconic event," Cr Maddison said.
He said the council had completed restoration works along the course to ensure it was "open and accessible for this important weekend".
Ms Golledge said a survey completed during last year's event estimated that it injected almost $25 million into the local economy, with this weekend’s festivities expected to deliver another "huge boost" for the community.
Activities for the kids, motocross trick demonstrations and trade displays of boats are also lined up for the weekend.