Dubai’s Victory Team proved their true worth as UIM world champions when they claimed the top two spots in the penultimate day of racing at the 38th Annual Key West World Championships in Key West, Florida, on Saturday.
Going into the second of three races of the Super Boat Unlimited category at the season-finale week, the Victory 33 boat of Salem Al Adidi and John Tomlinson took the chequered flag ahead of teammates Eisa Al Ali and Steve Curtis in Victory 3.
Wake Effects, the outright winner of the opening race last Wednesday, could not start the race due to a technical issue and within no time it was the Victory Team pairing of Victory 3 and Victory 33 taking over at the top.
Reigning Class One World Champion Al Ali and former multiple world champion Curtis were at their best leading from their stablemates Victory 33. However, with one lap remaining it was Al Adidi and Tomlinson making a move for the top spot to clinch maximum points and go to the top in the overall standings to determine the world champion after Sunday’s third and final race.
It may be recalled that Victory 33 had gone into the second race with a distinct advantage after having come in second in Wednesday’s first race. Victory 3 which had finished third two days ago, climbed up one spot and are now second in the overall standings ahead of Wake Effects.
The race course for the week consists of a challenging 45 mile lap running through Key West Harbour which at times sees the boats touching high speeds of more than 225 kph due to the smooth water on the outside.
"Amazing! That’s all I can say at this moment," Huraiz Bin Huraiz, Chairman of the Board of Directors for Victory Team told a group of media after the race.
"Our strategy was to push as much as we can so that we can prove the reliability of our engine package. And that’s exactly what has happened this week as our smaller engines have proven to be much better than the rest. I am confident that our boys will go out there on Sunday and get the job done to ensure Victory Team stays as the number one racing unit in the world of powerboat racing," he added.
Very few would have thought about such a fantastic North American debut for the mean in blue. This was made even more difficult when organisers said that each of the two engines in the boats should not exceed 2,000 hp. The two Victory Team boats started off on the back-foot as each of their engines have a power range of just 1,100 hp.
"This was the plan always. We didn’t want to make changes in the engines and bring in bigger beasts. The plan was to keep these smaller engines, but ensure there is reliability throughout the race," Bin Huraiz stated.
"When we came here we thought it was a calculated risk to make such a big step. But here we are now literally just one step away from another world crown. In Sunday’s race we will maintain the same strategy as we are now not thinking of just winning the race. We want to win the championship," he promised.
Action for the third and final day of racing will commence on Sunday morning, but the Superboat Unlimited class will get going from 2.30 pm (11.30 pm UAE time).