Currently in the process of putting together several different proposals for the Abu Dhabi team for 2011, renowned offshore racing throttleman John Tomlinson says he is excited at the prospect of running a full season in Union Internationale Motonautique Class 1. Last year, Tomlinson ran three races for the Abu Dhabi campaign in a catamaran it leased from Dubai’s Victory team.
Among the most compelling aspects of competing in UIM Class 1 for Tomlinson are the rule changes for 2011, which essentially base horsepower and maximum engine speed (rpm) on the size and weight of the boat. The new rules give all the teams several options. Beyond that, Tomlinson says he appreciates the professionalism, fierce competitiveness and skill levels of the Class 1 racers.
“You don’t see all the choppers and Lamborghinis (in the pits) like you do here,” said Tomlinson. “From the guy who finishes first to the guy in ninth place, everyone races hard. And they’re really good.
“Arif Al Zafeen and Nader Bin Hendi in the Fazza boat (which won the 2010 UIM Class 1 World Championship) are excellent,” added Tomlinson. “They’re just plain fast.”
The 2010 season was not Tomlinson’s first UIM Class 1 experience. After going undefeated to win an American Power Boat Association Open Class World Title in 1996 with driver Laith Pharaon, Tomlinson teamed up with Pharaon again in the 1997 to compete overseas. Running the Jolly Motor catamaran, the pair took the UIM Class 1 European and Middle Eastern titles, as well as the overall world-championship title.
Tomlinson said that he was untouched by the politics and controversies of the 2011 season. “I was only there for three races,” he said.
But while he is hoping to run the full 2011 Class 1 season, it is far from certain that he will because the season opens in April and he is still putting together proposals—one with the possibility of building a new 48 MTI with Sterling engines—for competing in the class.
“If we go with a new boat, I don’t think it would be ready for like eight months,” he said. “It’s all a matter of what the team wants to do and how much money it wants to spend. I told them that with what we have now, we’re essentially competing for second place. As long as they know that and are OK with it, I’m OK with it.”