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DOHA: The 2013 Air National Guard Hydroplane Championship roars into life in Doha Bay over the next seven days, less than a month since Qatar hosted the last Oryx Cup UIM World Championship.
Drivers, managers and team staff may have gone back to the United States but all the boats and race equipment have been kept in Doha for the 2013 Oryx Cup UIM World Championship, which starts a new season of H1 racing from February 7 to 12.
After the disappointment of losing U-1 Spirit of Qatar to an accident in one of the race heats, Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al Thani, president of the Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF), has been in discussion with U-1 team owner Erick Ellstrom of Ellstrom Racing.
Both agreed to support the challenge of Kip Brown and Our Gang Racing in the 2013 Oryx Cup.
Damage done to the U-1 boat, which has been renumbered as U-96 Spirit of Qatar for the new season, was extensive and it was doubtful whether Dave Villwock would have been able to make the start of the Qatar races.
Rather than miss out on a Qatar boat at the QMSF’s home race, Sheikh Hassan has agreed for Our Gang Racing to be entered as U-95 Spirit of Qatar for this years’ campaign.
“The Miss Red Dot was closely watched after the damage sustained by U-96 during the event in January,” said Sheikh Hassan.
“We kept looking at their performance. They were fast and that’s when we decided in plan B. Kip is no stranger to the podium, so we can expect him to run hard and go for the win in Doha,” he added.
“The guys wanted a chance to fix the boat and get it back in the water,” said Ellstrom.
“They are making good progress, but it is becoming more and more evident that the damage to the hull and the systems is probably just too great to be overcome in such a short period of time. So we move to plan B, which will have us working with Nate and Kip Brown, John O’Brien and Our Gang Racing to field a team for our sponsor,” he added.