Photo by Chris Denslow - H1
Racing in front of a “hometown” crowd at the Oryx Cup UIM World Championship in Doha, Qatar, Dave Villwock and his Spirit Of Qatar team had a bad weekend get even worse during the final preliminary heat on Friday.
After losing an apparent victory to a fuel violation and incurring a penalty for striking a buoy on Thursday, Villwock appeared to be on his way to an easy victory in Heat 4B.
But as he entered the second turn on the first lap, his boat hit a roller and got airborne. The boat landed hard and broke the motor mounts, shutting down and coming to a stop. Then things got worse as a fire broke out, doing considerable damage before being extinguished by safety crews.
Owner Erick Ellstrom says his team will attempt to make repairs in time for the H1 Unlimited return to Doha February 8-12,but added that they had not been able to make a complete assessment of the damage to the boat.
In the restart, Jon Zimmerman drove the 9 Jones Racing to an easy victory over Jimmy Shane in the 5 Graham Trucking, as Shane had to run an extra lap due to a penalty incurred in the original running. Tom Thompson finished second in the 11 Peters & May.
Earlier, Steve David continued his quest for a perfect weekend in the 6 Oh Boy! Oberto, adding a victory in Heat 3A to make it four wins in four starts in the preliminaries.
While piling up victories, David secured the 2012 H1 Unlimited Series Championship for his team. The championship means the Oberto will again wear the number one for the 2013 season.
Second place in the heat went to Kip Brown in the 17 Miss Red Dot, with Brian Perkins finishing third in the 88 Snoqualmie Casino.
Racing is scheduled to conclude on Saturday, with the Championship Final Heat at 3pm Doha time – weather permitting.
The local forecast had called for winds of 40 mph and more for Friday and Saturday, but weather through Friday had been better than predicted.
Boats in the final heat set for 3pm Saturday –
6 Oh Boy! Oberto – Steve David
5 Graham Trucking – Jimmy Shane
9 Jones Racing – Jon Zimmerman
88 Snoqualmie Casino – Brian Perkins
11 Peters & May – Tom Thompson
Trailer – 37 Beacon Plumbing – J Michael Kelly