Steve David (left), Oryx Cup winner Jimmy Shane (centre) and Jon Zimmerman (right) during the podium ceremony at Doha Bay yesterday. RIGHT: Action from the Oryx Cup UIM World Championship at Doha Bay yesterday.
DOHA: U-5 Graham Trucking’s Jimmy Shane snatched a dramatic victory in the Oryx Cup UIM World Championship in Doha Bay yesterday to conclude the 2012 season of racing in the Air National Guard H1 Unlimited Hydroplane Championship.
Six of the fastest power boats on the planet lined up at the start and Shane became the fourth different winner of the Oryx Cup in as many years after leading from start-to-finish to hold off a fierce challenge from runner-up and newly-crowned National High Points champion Steve David in U-6 Oh Boy! Oberto.
Jon Zimmerman finished a distant third in U-9 Jones Racing, Brian Perkins was fourth at the helm of U-88 Snoqualmie Casino and Tom Thompson struggled at the back of the field with engine issues and made the finish in fifth place with U-11 Miss Peters & May J Michael Kelly (U-37 Miss Beacon Plumbing) was disqualified on the start lap for failure to follow race officials’ instructions.
“It’s been a great first season in this championship for me and to cap it with a win in the Oryx Cup is superb,” said an ecstatic Shane.
“I must congratulate Jimmy on a great drive today,” said David sportingly.
“It was not meant to be, but there is always next time.”
Under the presidency of Sheikh Hassan bin Jabot Al Thani, the Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF) hosted a 25-minute Marathon Aqua Bike Race two hours before the main Oryx Cup UIM World Championship event. Twenty-four Qatari, Kuwaiti and Emirati racers took part in the 10-lap race on a tricky, wind-affected 2.5-mile course around the island in Doha Bay and there were 14 finishers.
Thamer Ahmad Abu Faisal held off a strong challenge from fellow Qataris Waleed Mahmoud Al-Sharshani and Rashid Rashid Al-Mohanadi to seal victory and the first cash prize of 20,000 Qatari riyals. Ahmad Rashid Al-Dauas and Mohsen Al-Hajri completed the top five, albeit one lap behind.
Oryx Cup UIM World Championship final
Steve David (U-6), Jon Zimmerman (U-9), Tom Thompson (U-11), Jimmy Shane (U-5), Brian Perkins (U-88) and J Michael Kelly (U-37) started the five-lap final on Doha Bay and lane choice was left to how the boats lined up when they entered the course (‘get in score’ or ‘score-up’) one-minute before they took the flying start. Kelly ran as the ‘trailer’ boat and had to start five seconds behind the other five racers.
The race was delayed by 40 minutes because an exceptionally low tide made it impossible to crane the boats on to the pontoon, but eventually got underway at 3.40hrs. Kelly was dramatically disqualified before the boats reached the back straight on the warm-up lap for failing to leave the inside lane and that left the door open for Shane to edge in front of David through the start and the first turn. The Maryland driver, who confirmed the runner-up spot in the National High Points title race this weekend, had the measure of David and the Florida man had no answer to the speed of the U-5 Graham Trucking hydroplane. As the race progressed and Thompson struggled at the rear of the field and Perkins began to fall behind, Shane and David edged clear of Zimmerman.
Shane drive a faultless race to take the chequered flag and become the fourth racer in as many years to win the Oryx Cup, his success depriving David of a clean sweep of all the heats and final in Doha. Boats and race equipment will remain in Qatar for the next four weeks and the American teams and drivers will return for the start of the 2013 Air National Guard H1 Unlimited Championship at the start of February.The Peninsula