|U-96 Spirit Of Qatar’s Villwock Set To Kick-Start H1 Unlimited Racing At Madison|
|Saturday, 02 July 2011 01:11|
MADISON (USA): Dave Villwock and U-96 Spirit of Qatar kick-start their 2011 H1 Unlimited racing programme at the 61st annual Madison Regatta, the opening round of the Air National Guard H1 Hydroplane Championship, on the Ohio River at Madison, Indiana, this weekend (July 1-3).
The Washington State driver will be aiming to re-write the record books in his Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF)-backed hydroplane during the opening race meeting of the new season. The U-96 Spirit of Qatar team face 11 other H1 racing boats, as Villwock bids to overhaul Bill Muncey’s 30-year-old record of 62 race wins that he equalled in Qatar’s Oryx Cup last November.
“U-96 and Dave (Villwock) are just an excellent combination,” said His Excellency Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani, President of the QMSF, which will host the final round of the championship again this November. “All records that Dave will be chasing on board U-96 will be pleasing for us, as we want to continue adding to our records and sporting heritage as well.
“HI racing travelling half-way around the world to come to Qatar at the end of the season creates massive media attention to what level this sport is capable of going to,” added Sheikh Hassan.
“After evaluating the success of the event in Qatar and the media attention it generated, it added additional weight at the QMSF to us being part of the series and that is how the introduction to U-96 Spirit of Qatar came about. It also brought about a closer relationship between the QMSF and ABRA (American Boat Racing Association) and other associations in the USA. ABRA has an office now in Qatar where they can operate from to expand to other parts of the world. Hopefully we will be able to bring additional races to the region in the future.”
Villwock will face a fierce challenge from archrival Steve David in the hometown boat, U-1 Oh Boy! Oberto Miss Madison. David is bidding to win a fourth successive national high points championship.
“I’ll run the same as I always have,” said Villwock, who finished fifth at the Madison race last season after technical problems. “I want to win the race and if I can break (Bill) Muncey’s record that would be great. It’s not something I’m constantly thinking about.”
The Ohio River course has been reduced from 2.5 miles to 1.75 miles in length because of a bridge construction and that means that Villwock and his rivals will need to change gear ratios and propellers for the shorter course. To maintain a similar racing distance, racers will run for two extra laps per heat and in the final.
Set to challenge Villwock and local hero David will be the debut boat Degree Men, run by Billy Schumacher Racing, and crewed by J. Michael Kelly. Other likely front-runners include Jeff Bernard in U-5 Graham Trucking and U-17 Miss Red Dot driven by Kipp Brown. The likes of Brian Perkins, Dr. Ken Muscatel, Greg Hopp, Mike Webster, J.W. Myers, N. Mark Evans and Scott Liddycoat complete the impressive line-up.
Drivers will not be assigned lanes to start heats and the final this season and that will permit racers to challenge for position and further balance the competition.
Action at the 61st Madison Regatta runs from July 1st to July 3rd with qualifying and time trials starting on Friday. Heats will take place on Saturday and Sunday, with the final set for Sunday afternoon (US time) on the Ohio River.
2011 Madison Regatta – provisional entries
U-1 Oh Boy! Oberto Steve David
U-5 Graham Trucking Jeff Bernard
U-7 Valken.com Scott Liddycoat
U-11 Peters & May J.W. Myers
U-17 Miss Red Dot Kipp Brown
U-21 Miss Lakeridge Paving Brian Perkins
U-22 Great Scott! Mike Webster
U-25 Superior Racing Dr. Ken Muscatel
U-57 Formulaboats.com N. Mark Evans
U-88 Degree Man J. Michael Kelly
U-96 Spirit of Qatar Dave Villwock
U-100 Leland Unlimited Greg Hopp
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