Missouri, USA: H E Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al Thani and British throttle man Steve Curtis will attempt to break the speed record of 224mph when they take part in the world renowned Lake of the Ozarks Shootout in mid-Missouri this weekend.
The Spirit of Qatar Team, which runs under the auspices of the Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF), has finished putting the finishing touches to Sheikh Hassan’s exciting turbine-powered racer, the Al Adaa’am 96. The QMSF President and Curtis are confident that they can challenge for the speed record of 224mph that was set by Bill Tomlinson and Ken Kehoe at the helm of ‘My Way’.
The team tested the Qatar 96 boat last week to iron out any niggles and Sheikh Hassan arrives in the USA this week to make his final preparations for the popular shootout, which will take place on August 23-24.
Tomlinson and Kehoe earned their Top Gun trophies for setting the speed record in ‘My Way’ in 2013. On their second run of the morning last year, they beat the previous record of 209mph that they had already equaled in their 50-foot ‘Mystic Catamaran’, which was powered by twin Lycoming T-55 turbine engines.
“When we started our turbine project we set our targets on running various events and races,” Sheikh Hassan said. “We have been closely following the progress of ‘My Way’ for some time and we saw the boat at several runs and saw it last year running 224mph. It was only natural at the end of 2013 that we adjusted our race programme for our team to include the Ozarks Shootout and hopefully set a better speed ourselves.
“I am delighted that the boat is ready and is on its way to the Ozarks. We missed the early races in Superboat International (SBI) to make sure that it was running as we wanted it. We have made some changes and added some more safety features,” he said
Sheikh Hassan hopes that he will be able to carry out some test runs on Friday but admits that the maximum top speed is the only target for the weekend’s racing.
“The course is one mile in length and we have to enter the gate at 40mph and exit the course at our maximum speed, whatever that may be,” the QMSF President said.
“I hope that we can be close to the magical number of 224. I know ‘My Way’ had several runs before setting that number last year. We hope we don’t need to make several runs to reach the target. I hope that Steve and the rest of the crew will deliver the magic touch and we can win the Top Gun trophies on our first run!”
The Spirit of Qatar Team will have several chances to claim the record with professional teams permitted on to the course for their speed runs on both Saturday and Sunday.