Jean Theoret in the 96 Spirit of Qatar (Foreground) drives to victory in Heat 1B of the Oryx Cup UIM World Championship.
Photo by Chris Denslow – H1
When Friday’s first day of racing was completed at the 2014 Oryx Cup UIM World Championship, J Michael Kelly and Jean Theoret along with the hometown fans of Doha had big smiles on their faces. Kelly in the 1 Graham Trucking won both of his elimination heats while Theoret driving the 96 Spirit of Qatar sponsored by Qatar Marine Sports Federation returned to H1 Unlimited competition for the first time since 2009 winning elimination heat 1B.
Jimmy Shane, the current point leader in the battle for the national high point championship driving the 6 Oberto Beef Jerky, had his share of problems but came away from the first day of competition on Doha Bay still in contention for the race title. He was penalized one lap in his first elimination heat for jumping the starting time and placed fourth scoring only 169 points. He did win elimination heat 2B that gave him 400 points placing the team back into Oryx Championship-UIM World Championship contention. Theoret, who had to start in the outside lane today since he had not run an unlimited race since an accident in 2009, received a gift in heat 1B when both Shane and 9 Team RedDOT – Les Schwab Tires Jon Zimmerman jumped the starting line and received one lap penalties.
Theoret came back in heat 2B and placed second giving him a 700-point day. Dave Villwock, driving the 21 Miss Seattle, also had a good day going until his second elimination heat. After placing second behind Kelly in heat 1B, Villwock found himself with salt water in his turbine engine battling with Shane and Theoret for the lead in the first turn of the first lap of heat 2B. The boat went dead in the water after completing just one lap. Shane, Theoret and Villwock all went hard into turn one off the start, but the excitement started a little earlier when Villwock found a hole between Shane and Theoret going for the start and took lane 2. As the boats hit turn one, all three boats were flying and close together. Villwock seemed to get water in the engine and eventually lost power after crossing the finish line after the first lap. After that, everyone settled down and kept their spots.
Tom Thompson in the 11 Peters and Mays also had a tough day on the water. After placing 4th in heat 1A and having salt water damage his engine, he could not restart the boat for heat 2A. Concern about a small fire in the engine compartment then forced rescue boats to race towards the disabled boat and red flag the heat. When 2A restarted only Kelly and Zimmerman answered the bell and easily won. Competition for the Oryx Cup UIM World Championship concludes Saturday with four more elimination heats, and a winner take all championship final.