Though the Dubai-based Victory team’s commitment to race in the Super Boat International National Championships Sept. 28-30 in Clearwater Fla., and its Offshore World Championships Nov. 4-11 in Key West, Fla., was reported early yesterday on the Victory team’s website, SBI confirmed the news late yesterday afternoon in a press release of its own.
Could the Victory’s commitment to competing in this year’s SBI National and World championships create a domino effect in the Unlimited class?
According to the release, the Victory team will send two of its canopied raceboats stateside, the 42-foot UAE-3 Victory catamaran owned by Luciano Barbati and driven by Salem Ali Salem Aladidi and the 40-foot UAE-33 Victory catamaran—also owned by Barbati—with Eisa Mohamed Abdulrahman Salem Al Ali at the throttle. The driver of the 40-footer has yet to be announced.
“It is a privilege to have the Victory team returning to the United States, and contracted to race with Super Boat International,” said John Carbonell, the founder and owner of Key West-based SBI, in the release. “We are always thrilled to welcome new racing teams to the SBI family, especially when they are as experienced and prestigious as Victory team. We’re excited to see them in the lineup of our upcoming races.”
The Victory teeam was established in 1988, according to the release, and claimed its first Union Internationale Motonautique Class 1 Powerboat Championship in 1993. The team began designing and building its own boats in 1998 and went on to claim five consecutive Class 1 world titles.
Reached by phone this morning, Steve Curtis, who is throttling for the SBI Unlimited-class defending world champion Miss GEICO team this season, said he’s thrilled to have the Victory team boats coming to the domestic offshore racing circuit.
“I think it’s cool,” said Curtis, who for years competed on the U.I.M. Class 1 circuit. “I have raced against them a lot—at one point was I talking to them about running one of the boats in Key West because as I understand it GEICO is not going.
“What’s more important is that I think they will stay for the following season,” he continued. “I think that’s fantastic. Obviously, for whatever reason, Class 1 is dead. I know the Australians are talking about coming over here and the Italian team is talking about it, too. I think the Abu Dhabi team may follow the Victory team. We have all these boats so why not race them? It’s great for the class, and it’s great for the sport.”
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