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HomeEvent CoverageCountdown to Key West: Qatar Team Boats Out for SBI Worlds

Countdown to Key West: Qatar Team Boats Out for SBI Worlds

Multiple sources have confirmed that Super Boat International has banned all of the Spirit of Qatar team’s offshore raceboats from competing at its upcoming Offshore World Championships in Key West, Fla., early next month. Letters notifying the team of the ban reportedly were sent yesterday to the Qatar Marine Sports Federation and throttleman Steve Curtis, the team’s United States representative.

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None of the Qatar Team’s boats—including its Superboat-class MTI catamaran—will be allowed to compete next month at the SBI World Championships in Key West, Fla. Photo courtesy Qatar Marine Sports Federation

Reached by telephone this morning, Curtis declined to comment on the matter. SBI president John Carbonell could not be reached for comment when this story went live.

Yesterday’s action by SBI was the latest in a series of events that began with last Friday’s announcement that the Sarasota Suncoast Offshore Grand Prix would be part of the newly formed Offshore Powerboat Grand Prix organization’s planned five-race series in 2015 and not part of SBI’s 2015 event schedule. (Read the story.)

Reaction to the ban from veteran offshore racers, none of whom were willing to go on the record with their comments, was mixed. Based on Curtis’ involvement with establishment of the new OPGP organization, one said the move was completely predictable.

“What did they expect SBI to do?” said the racer. “They got what they deserved.”

Another said that not having the Spirit of Qatar teams compete in this year’s Key West Worlds is a loss for the other racers, as well as for offshore racing fans, particularly in the Superboat Unlimited and Superboat classes.

“How can we call it a world championship if we can’t race against one of the best teams out there?” he said. “It’s tough to call it a world championship when one of the best teams in the world is left out.”

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