|U-96 Spirit Of Qatar’s Dave Villwock Plans Route To 66th Career Race Win|
|Wednesday, 16 November 2011 12:36|
DOHA (Qatar): Dave Villwock arrives in Qatar for this weekend’s Oryx Cup World Championship as the most successful hydroplane racer in history.
Since 1992, the Washington State driver has amassed a staggering 65 first-place trophies and will be aiming to steer U-96 Spirit of Qatar to a second successive Oryx Cup victory and his very own ‘Route 66’ – a 66th career race win on Doha Bay on Saturday afternoon. He will also be looking to confirm victory in the 2011 Air National Guard Hydroplane Boat High Points Championship for boat owner Erick Ellstrom to cap a superb season for a team that has been backed by the Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF) for two years.
Villwock currently has an unassailable 2,136-point lead over Scott Liddycoat in U-7 Valken.com and is a further 20 points clear of Jeff Bernard in U-5 Graham Trucking in the Driver High Points Championship. The U-96 Spirit of Qatar/Erick Ellstrom team has a 1,703-point advantage in the Boats’ points standings, meaning that the title could be secured after the qualifying session on Thursday afternoon and the first of Friday morning’s heats.
“The Drivers’ Championship is done. That is clinched. But we still have to get another 400 points somewhere over the weekend (to secure the Boats title),” said Villwock. “That means if we get 80 or 100 in qualifying and then a good score in a heat it is done. We don’t have to get in a big hurry. The main goal is to win the Oryx Cup on Saturday and hope that we can do it a bit easier than last year.
“It’s going to be rough on the water so we will prepare for that. We will change everything. We will change the angle of the front and rear wings. It’s a bit like any other motor sport, where things need to be changed for each course. We lost the championship a couple of years ago here and have made a door for our boat to prevent problems with salt water. This keeps most of the salt out, but we are bound to ingest some and need to manage it the best we can.”
Earlier this year Villwock surpassed the late Bill Muncey’s record of 62 victories and the U-96 driver has continued to surge ahead and rewrite his own record books. Only the retired Chip Hanauer (61 wins) could get anywhere near the leading two names in hydroplane racing – the fastest marine sport on the planet.
Villwock won his very first Unlimited race in San Diego in 1992, repeating a feat that had not been achieved since Howie Benns took victory on his debut way back in 1974. His career curriculum vitae now boasts a staggering 10 High Point Driver Championships, nine APBA Gold Cups, 10 Seattle Seafair wins, nine wins at Evansville, Indiana, eight in the Indiana Governor’s Cup and eight at the Tri-Cities Columbia Cup.
Villwock, who enjoyed a jovial discussion with QMSF president Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani, young Sheikh Nawaf bin Hassan Al-Thani and the QMSF’s Sameer Alamoudi during a pit lane tour on Wednesday morning, even has the most impressive winning percentage in hydroplane history with 65 wins from 130 races. That is a winning ratio of one in two – a record that may never be surpassed.
Tomorrow (Thursday) teams will be permitted to carry out three hours of testing on the Doha Bay course from 09.00hrs (Doha time). There will then be a one-hour break before the three-hour qualifying session takes place in the afternoon. Spectators are welcome throughout the day and admission is free of charge.
UNLIMITED RACING HISTORY – LEADING RACE VICTORY AVERAGES
1-DAVE VILLWOCK - 65 wins in 130 races (50%) - 1992-present day
2-CHIP HANAUER - 61 wins in 160 races - 1976-1999
3-GEORGE HENLEY - 12 wins in 34 races - 1970-1975
4-RON MUSSON - 16 wins in 47 races - 1959-1966
5-DEAN CHENOWETH - 25 wins in 75 races - 1968-1982
6-JIM KROPFELD - 22 wins in 66 races - 1982-1990
7-BILL MUNCEY - 62 wins in 191 races - 1950-1981
8-JACK REGAS - 9 wins in 28 races - 1954-1968
9-DANNY FOSTER - 14 wins in 45 races - 1946-1965
10-BILL STEAD - 9 wins in 30 races - 1953-1959
National High Points after round 5 (Drivers):
1. U-96 Spirit of Qatar Dave Villwock 7,525 points*
2. U-7 Valken Sports Scott Liddycoat 5,389 points
3. U-5 Graham Trucking Jeff Bernard 5,369 points
4. U-1 Oh Boy! Oberto Steve David 5,041 points
5. U-17 Miss Red Dot Kip Brown 4,310 points
6. U-88 Degree Man J. Michael Kelly 3,903 points, etc
*denotes 2011 champion
National High Points after round 5 (Boats):
1. Spirit of Qatar /Erick Ellstrom 7,525 points*
2. Miss Red Dot/Nate Brown 5,822 points
3. Oh Boy! Oberto/City of Madison 5,767 points
4. Valken.com/Ted Porter 5,389 points
5. Graham Trucking/Ted Porter 5,369 points
6. Degree Man/Jane and Billy Schumacher 3,903 points, etc
Oryx Cup World Championship – timetable of events
Thursday, November 17
09.00-12.00hrs Unlimited testing
13.00–16.00hrs Unlimited qualifying
16.15hrs Podium for top three qualifiers and pairings’ draw for Friday’s first heats
16.30-18.00hrs Pit area open to public
For further information: