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Images of the Week: Americans Help Abu Dhabi Pull Off Italian Job

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A proud Team Abu Dhabi crew celebrates after winning the season’s first two Class 1 races in Italy this week (click image to enlarge).

Although neither accomplished American offshore racer seeks out the spotlight, both Gary Ballough and John Tomlinson of Team Abu Dhabi were immersed in it this week in Salerno, Italy, during the Union Internationale Motonautique Class 1 World Powerboat Championship season opener. (Check out the race wrap-ups from Wednesday and Thursday on speedonthewater.com as well as the two YouTube interviews at right.)

While the large team grouping above isn’t a typical Image of the Week shot, it was the choice of Tomlinson, one of the sport’s most accomplished throttleman, who wanted to recognize the Team Abu Dhabi crew as well as the support team from Marine Technology Inc., in Wentzville, Mo., who made the trip to Italy to make sure the brand new 48-foot MTI catamaran powered by twin 850-hp Mercury Racing engines was ready to go for the first Class 1 race of the year.

“It took a very strenuous effort from everyone on the crew to get the boat ready, and they performed as well as the boat did on the course,” said Tomlinson, who ran the new MTI with Ballough for the first time during qualifying on Wednesday morning. “The team did a magnificent job—everything stayed together out there and all went well.”

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Florida-based boat racers John Tomlinson (left in all images above) and Gary Ballough have enjoyed their trip to Italy.

Still, despite Tomlinson’s modest approach to winning both races in the team’s fresh-off-the-boat MTI, we couldn’t help but include a few of our favorite shots of the American teammates (see slideshow above), who caught an overnight flight from Miami to Italy following last Sunday’s Super Boat International race in Marathon. (Tomlinson’s CMS team finished first in Superboat Unlimited while Ballough’s FJ Propeller team took home the top spot in Superboat Stock.)

Although the next race for the two-boat Team Abu Dhabi outfit—United Arab Emirates racers Majid Al-Mansoori and Rashid Al-Tayer run the team’s other 48-foot MTI powered with a pair of 850-hp SCAM engines—isn’t until October in Terracina, Italy, the team that runs out of the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club can’t wait to get back out there and try to bring a championship to the capital and the second most populous city in the UAE.

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