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Tomlinson and Ballough Take Second in Abu Dhabi Class 1 Race

Running their second event together in the Abu Dhabi team’s 48-foot Marine Technology, Inc., catamaran, throttleman Johnny Tomlinson and driver Gary Ballough took second place today in the team’s home waters. Today’s contest was the second race of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and the third event in the Union Internationale Motonautique Class 1 season.


Tomlinson and Ballough in the Abu Dhabi MTI cat passed the Fendi boat near the end of the race to take second place today. Photos courtesy/copyright Simon Palfrader.

“Everything thing went really, really well today,” said Tomlinson. “We ran second in qualifying. We raced outside the island today, and it was a little bumpy. After the start, we came third into to turn one with the Victory and Fendi boats ahead, and we started working on Fendi. We had speed on them, but we just couldn’t get around them—they kept closing the door. With a lap or so to go, we finally got inside of them—we turned the boat so hard we almost spun it—and moved into second place.

“The Victory team is in a different world,” he added. “Nobody even runs close to them. In the pole position lap, which was 7.8 nautical miles, they were six seconds faster than me.”

Tomlinson and Ballough came into today’s race with a third-place finish on Thursday. (UIM Class 1 events typically feature dual qualifying and race formats.) With wind-whipped four- to –five-footers, Thursday’s race reportedly was the roughest race of the 2014 Class 1 season.

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For images of the Abu Dhabi MTI cat in action today, check out the slideshow above.

The Abu Dhabi team catamaran is powered by a pair detuned turbocharged Mercury Racing 1100 engines that make 800 horsepower, whereas the rest of the field runs naturally aspirated Lamborghini engines with the same power output. For the purposes of maintaining parity, the Abu Dhabi boat’s engines are restricted to 6,250 rpm. The Lamborghini engine-powered boats are limited to 7,600 rpm. Tomlinson said that earlier in the week his team struggled to find the right set up.

“In practice, I kept spiking above the rpm and torque restrictions in the straights in smooth water,” he explained. “I’d have to pull back, but then I’d lose three or four miles per hour. We needed to make some gear changes.”

On hand for the race in Abu Dhabi was Randy Scism, the owner and founder of MTI and former throttleman and team manager for the Victory group. Scism was pleased the team’s performance.

“The guys did well today,” he said via email this morning.

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