Although the team’s primary rival—Victory Team—brought the world championship trophy back home to Dubai after losing it in 2015, Team Abu Dhabi won the third and final race of the Union Internationale Motonautique Class 1 World Powerboat Championship in dramatic fashion at the Abu Dhabi Breakwater on Friday afternoon.
Team Abu Dhabi 6 won the third race of the Class 1 world championship in Abu Dhabi, but finished second to Victory 3 by one point. Photos courtesy ADIMSC
Trailing the multi-time world champions, Arif Saf Al-Zafeen and Nadir Bin Hendi, by 10 points heading into the third-race showdown, Team Abu Dhabi 6’s American teammates John Tomlinson and Gary Ballough led through the opening lap and began to pull away from Victory 3 using a quick three short-lap strategy to perfection to enhance the gap. When the Victory 3 boat slowed to a crawl with a broken propeller and was unable to finish higher than fourth, the host team appeared to claim its second straight world title by a single championship point.
In the end, Victory Team regained the championship it ceded to Team Abu Dhabi last November by one point. The Dubai crew earned four points for running the same engines throughout the race meeting and Team Abu Dhabi was penalized for lifting a Mercury valve cover to make necessary engine checks and only earned two of the four bonus points on offer.
“I guess that is why we go racing,” said Team Abu Dhabi’s Class 1 racing manager Randy Scism, the founder of MTI in Wentzville, Mo. “This is what it is all about. The boys worked around the clock to get the second boat back in the water. We got the first boat running right, so this is unbelievable for us. What a great finish for His Highness Sheikh Sultan and everyone at the Abu Dhabi team.”
The gripping final race brought down the curtain on an exciting week of Class 1 racing hosted by the Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club, which saw Team Abu Dhabi 5’s Rashed Al-Tayer and Majed Al-Mansoori hold off a closing Italy’s Giovanni Carpitella and England’s Ian Blacker in Zabo 91 to take second place on Friday.
Team Abu Dhabi manager Randy Scism left for Abu Dhabi days after racing at the SBI Offshore World Championships in Key West, Fla.
To cap a superb afternoon for the host club, the new XCAT partnership of triple UIM F1 H2O world champion Alex Carella and Faleh Al-Mansoori dominated its second race together in two days to claim the inaugural Abu Dhabi Cup from Raheeb 17’s Abdullatif Al-Omani and Ahmed Al-Suwaidi. Victory 33’s Salem Al-Adidi and Eisa Al-Ali retired after one lap with engine problems.
Carella’s F1 H2O team manager Guido Cappellini called it an incredible afternoon.
“To win the Class 1 race was a terrific achievement against a very strong team,” Cappellini said. “The win in the Abu Dhabi Cup is special as well. We have two drivers coming in the same boat for the first time three days ago. They finished in front of the team that won the XCAT Grand Prix here last weekend and finished second in the championship.”
The ADIMSC now turns its focus on preparing to host the penultimate round of the F1 H2O World Championship on December 7-9.