In front of a big crowd of over 200 at the Berri Hotel last Friday night Renmark’s Matt Thur, after being nominated for Dinghy Racing, was named from a field of 29 as the 2015/16 5RM / Berri Hotel / Riverland Mazda Riverland Sportsperson of the Year.

During the year under review Thur won the Riverland Dinghy Derby race for the first time in 10 attempts. With his crew or ‘swinger’ Shane Palat in the 30 HP Sports class he also finished third in the Dash for Cash prior to the Derby and then in other rounds of the Riverland Championship took out the Circuit, Enduro and Hunchee Run events to win the overall title by 6 points.

Thur and Palat had won perhaps the toughest Dinghy Derby ever with the advent of Red Bull into the classic giving it a new dimension both Nationally and on the World stage.

To cap off a terrific season the pair ventured to West Australia to tackle the longest power dinghy race in the World, the 250 km Blackwood Classic, and finished in second position.

Other nominations for the 2015/16 Sportsperson award were Nick Kuhn and Nick Morrow for baseball, Abby Perry, Adam Proud, Indee Thiele (basketball), Lois Nitschke, Jade Wright (bowls), Will Lehmann, Jake Albrecht (cricket), Matthew Benson (cycling), Katrina Topperwein, Brodie Wegener (Disabled Sports), Murray Middleton, Richard O’Grady (football), Andrew Hume (golf), Billie Jo Hammerstein, Rowan Hope, Mitchell Kleemann, Kristen Pick (hockey), Daniel Evans (motor sport), Ellie Thomas (netball), Peter Dunk (sailing), Mark Cresp (shooting), Stacey Geyer, Chris Miller (soccer), Jo Gregory, Cara Venning (softball) and Tim Trewren (swimming).