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Tomlinson Facing Time Crunch for Class 1 Season-Opener

Last week, the Union Internationale Motonautique Class 1 web site posted a report that John Tomlinson had officially joined the Abu Dhabi offshore racing team. Tomlinson, a multi-time world-championship-winning throttleman who co-owns TNT Custom Marine in North Miami, had prepared several proposals for the Abu Dhabi team, including building a Marine Technology, Inc., catamaran for the class and bringing a United States-based crew to campaign it during the 2011 season.

The Abu Dhabi team brought Tomlinson aboard as its throttleman, but opted for same route it took for the 2010 Class racing season with a catamaran leased from Dubai’s Victory Class 1 offshore racing team. While Tomlinson was ready for whatever plan the Abu Dhabi team choose for the 2011 season, he’ll be scrambling to prepare for the first race of the year, which is April 16 in Dubai.

“They’re talking about getting me over there next week for a quick one-day test session,” said Tomlinson. “I am excited about racing there this year, but we’re going to be a little bit behind the eight-ball at first. Per UIM rules, we only get one set of propellers. I’ve ordered my first pair, but I don’t have them yet so if we do test I’ll be borrowing equipment. I’ll be playing with gear ratios to figure out what works best.

“Each team gets three sets of Five Axis propellers with 16-1/2-inch diameters for the season,” he continued. “They are serial-numbered and registered with UIM. You can only replace them if you break one, and they cannot be modified. But it’s hard to pick propellers for the season without testing.”

Tomlinson added that although the class-dominating Victory team does have a larger budget than any of its competitors, the team’s extensive preparation is its key to victory.

“They do their homework,” said Tomlinson. “It’s not just that they spend the most money. They spend time testing. They spend time practicing. They do everything you need to do to run up front. They’re really, really good.”