|U-96 Spirit Of Qatar’s Villwock Secures 2011 Boat High Points Title In Doha Bay|
|Friday, 18 November 2011 17:52|
DOHA (Qatar): U-96 Spirit of Qatar’s Dave Villwock secured the 2011 Air National Guard Hydroplane Championship’s Boat High Points title for Ellstrom Racing by taking victories in heats 1C and 2A of Friday afternoon’s first set of Oryx Cup World Championship heats in Doha Bay.
It was a satisfying moment for boat owner Erick Ellstrom and the Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF), which supports the exploits of the U-96 Spirit of Qatar Team. “Congratulations to Dave Villwock, Erick and all the team for this tremendous success,” said His Excellency Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani, president of the QMSF.
"It’s been a difficult season and that’s what championships are supposed to be about,” said a delighted Villwock. “If it was easy, everybody could do it. Now there is one goal remaining this year and that is to retain the Oryx Cup on Saturday!”
“Our team, for the most part, we don’t race for the championship,” admitted Ellstrom. “We race to win every race we’re in. Sometimes that’s to our deficit. Because, sometimes, if we would slow down and take it easy we probably would have won more championships.”
Kip Brown and Steve David claimed victories in the first two heats (1A and 1B) and David added a win in heat 2B to his tally, while Jeff Bernard won the final heat of the day, 2C.
Heats 1A, 1B and 1C
Kip Brown, Greg Hopp, Jeff Bernard and J.W. Myers featured in the first of the weekend’s heats (1A) on Doha Bay and Brown forged into an early lead and began to extend his advantage to the chequered flag. When J.W. Myers was forced to pull out with engine trouble on the first lap, a fascinating duel developed between Bernard and Hopp for second place. The pair were side-by-side for two laps and Hopp held the advantage through the final turn, only for Bernard to power through into second on the final straight to the flag.
Steve David started as favourite to win the second heat from lane two against Brian Perkins, Jimmy Shane and rookie Ryan Malloy. The U-1 Oh Boy! Oberto driver passed Perkins to hit the front before the first turn and extended his lead to the chequered flag. Perkins was a distant second and Shane took third. Malloy, who had stepped in for an unwell Ken Muscatel in U-25, was forced to pull up on the opening lap.
Scott Liddycoat, J. Michael Kelly and Dave Villwock locked horns in the much-anticipated third heat and Liddycoat managed to fend off the U-96 challenge through the opening lap. Villwock’s boat appeared to be down on power for a lap, but he found form at the right time and surged through to take the chequered flag by three boat lengths from Liddycoat. The success was enough for Villwock to confirm the 2011 Boat High Points title for Ellstrom Racing/Spirit of Qatar. Kelly finished a distant third.
Heats 2A, 2B and 2C
After a spectacular overhead air display during the interval, Hopp lined up on the inside of Villwock, Brown and Liddycoat for Heat 2A. Hopp managed to hold the champion through the first turns, but Villwock made his move and gradually extended his advantage to the finish. Liddycoat closed on Hopp as the race progressed, but the U-100 driver did enough to hold the U-7 driver off on the final straight to confirm second place. Brown was forced to settle for fourth.
David made a good start to Heat 2B and began to pressure Kelly from the outside lane through the first turn, having passed Perkins down the straight. He soon closed in on the U-88 driver and surged through into the lead by the end of lap one. The gap began to widen from then on and Kelly noticeably eased his pace over the final lap, as David stormed to the chequered flag and Perkins limped home in a distant third.
Both J.W. Myers and Mike Webster were sidelined before the start of the final heat of the day, 2C. Bernard managed to hold his own against Jimmy Shane in U-57 and cruised to the flag to seal maximum points, with team-mate Shane finishing second.
The Qatar Marine Sports Federation and H1 Unlimited have also confirmed the date for the 2012 Oryx Cup World Championship, the final round of the Air National Guard Championship, will be November 15-17, 2012. “We are delighted to be hosting the Oryx Cup again in 2012 for the fourth successive year and seeing the champion driver crowned in Qatar,” said the QMSF’s race and event co-ordinator Mona Nasser.
Tomorrow (Saturday) teams will be permitted a further 90 minutes of testing from 08.00hrs before the third and fourth sets of heats commence at 11.00hrs. Attention will then turn to the six-boat Oryx Cup World Championship final, which gets underway at 15.00hrs and is followed by the prize presentation podium.
Oryx Cup - UIM World Championship – H1 Unlimited Heats (Friday – unofficial @ 16.00hrs))
Oryx Cup World Championship – timetable of events
Saturday, November 19
08.00-09.00hrs Unlimited testing
11.00hrs Unlimited Heat 3A
11.20hrs Unlimited Heat 3B
11.40hrs Unlimited Heat 3C
11.55hrs Podium for Heat 3 winners and draw for fourth heats
12.45hrs Unlimited Heat 4A
13.05hrs Unlimited Heat 4B
13.25hrs Unlimited Heat 4C
15.00hrs Oryx Cup World Championship
15.30hrs Podium awards presentation
For further information: