Spirit of Qatar

Driver Profile: Kip Brown

37 year old Kip Brown has been around boat racing since he was a toddler. Kip’s racing career started in 1995 with his first competition leading to Rookie of the Year honors from the Seattle Drag and Ski association.

Brown quickly established himself as one of the top young drivers in the country, winning multiple national high point championships in the E Racing Runabout and 5 Liter classes. He was also Rookie of the Year in the Unlimited Light category.

In 2008, Kip made the final heat in his first race as an Unlimited driver and finished fourth overall. He went on to be named the 2008 H1 Unlimited Rookie of the Year.

2011 was a good season for Brown and the 17 team as Kip drove the Miss Red Dot to 6 heat victories and 3 podium finishes and was among the top qualifiers at several races. But his 2012 season was interrupted by a broken leg suffered during testing at the Lamb-Weston Columbia Cup in the Tri-Cities.

He healed enough to be back in the boat for San Diego Bayfair and the January Oryx Cup in Doha, Qatar. Kip returned to Doha for the 2013 Oryx Cup in February and found himself and his boat wearing the colors of the host country of Qatar and the number 95 as they filled in for the damaged 96 Spirit of Qatar in the 2013 season opener on Doha Bay.

Brown was impressive, qualifying second and scoring two heat victories. In April, 96 Spirit of Qatar owner Erick Ellstrom and sponsor Sheikh Hassan bin-Jabor Al-Thani of the Qatar Marine Sports Federation announced they were extending the agreement with Our Gang Racing to make Kip and his team the 95 Spirit of Qatar for the rest of the 2013 season.

The 2013 season produced the high light of Kip’s unlimited career, a victory in the Detroit APBA Gold Cup driving the 95 Spirit of Qatar for Our Gang Racing.

Kip Brown is a manager at Morgan Motors in Issaquah, Washington and lives in Black Diamond, Washington with his wife Tiffany and daughters Taylor and Katie.

Team Profile: Ellstrom Racing

The Ellstrom family–consisting of father Sven, sons Erick and Tom, and daughter Lisa–made its debut on the Unlimited racing scene as the sponsor of an experimental four-point hydroplane, owned by Glen Davis, in 1994. The next year, the family acquired a boat of its own and, under the leadership of crew chief Erick Ellstrom, the U-96 has racked up 20+ victories since 2000 and won the National High Point Team Championship in 2005, 2007 & 2011.

Despite a trio of first-place finishes in 2006, MISS E-LAM PLUS was unable to defend her High Points crown. However, with legendary driver Dave Villwock behind the wheel, the Ellstroms were determined to reclaim their spot atop the leaderboard in 2007. And they did.

The Ellstroms followed a reduced schedule in 2008 and only appeared at two races but still took first-place at their hometown Chevrolet Cup on Seattle’s Lake Washington.

In 2010, racing as the U-96 Spirit of Qatar, the team scored victories in the APBA Gold Cup in Detroit, the Air Guard Championship in San Diego and the Oryx Cup UIM World Championship in Doha, Qatar on the way to strong second place finish in 2010 Season High Points.

The 2011 season showed the Ellstrom team back on top after a rocky beginning of the season in Madison, where Dave Villwock was involved in one of the most dramatic accidents in hydroplane history when the U-96 Spirit of Qatar spun out in the first turn and was broadsided by Steve David in the Oh Boy! Oberto, severely damaging both hulls, but fortunately resulting only in a couple broken ribs for David. With only five days until the start of the 2011 Gold Cup event in Detroit, the team worked around the clock to rebuild the boat, allowing Villwock to drive to what was probably the team’s most hard-fought victory ever. Two more wins in Tri-Cities and San Diego helped deliver the team’s third National High Point Team Championship.

The 2012 season had a disappointing finish as Villwock and the team arrived in Doha in a close race with the Oberto team but suffered a series of setbacks that dropped the team all the way to third place in the final standings for the season.

Damage to the boat put it on the beach for 2013, and the Ellstrom team began construction on a new 96 Spirit of Qatar which  made its debut in 2014.


The Roostertail

  • Follow the Team:
  • Boat Name: Spirit of Qatar
  • Team Website: http://www.ellstromracing.com
  • Owner: Marine Technologies
  • Founded: 1994
  • Home Port: Seattle, WA
  • Driver: Kip Brown
  • Boat Colors: White/Silver/Orange
  • Primary Sponsor: Qatar
  • Associate Sponsors: 5 Axis Industries
  • Crew Chief: Mike Hanson
  • Crew:

    Trevor Hanson
    Jeff Minar
    Rick Swanson
    Dan Heye
    David Heye
    Bob Ross
    Sven Ellstrom II
    Krister Ellstrom

  • Engine: Lycoming T-55/L-7 Turbine
  • 2013 Boat Points: 6845
  • 2013 Driver Points: 6845
  • 2013 Season Finish: 3rd
  • Victories:

    (1) 2000 – Tri-Cities, WA (Columbia Cup); driver-Mark Evans
    (2) 2001 – Seattle, WA (General Motors Cup); driver-Nate Brown
    (3) 2001 – San Diego, CA (Bill Muncey Cup); driver-Nate Brown
    (4) 2002 – Madison, IN (Indiana Governor’s Cup); driver-Nate Brown
    (5) 2002 – Tri-Cities, WA (Columbia Cup); driver-Nate Brown
    (6) 2004 – St. Clair, MI (St. Clair International Trophy); driver-Terry Troxell
    (7) 2005 – Madison, IN (Indiana Governor’s Cup); driver-J.W. Myers
    (8) 2005 – Tri-Cities, WA (Columbia Cup); driver-Dave Villwock
    (9) 2005 – San Diego, CA (Bill Muncey Cup); driver-Dave Villwock
    (10) 2006 – Evansville, IN (Thunder On The Ohio); driver-Dave Villwock
    (11) 2006 – Madison, IN (Indiana Governor’s Cup)
    (12) 2006 – Tri-Cities, WA
    (13) 2007 – Evansville, IN (Thunder on the Ohio)
    (14) 2007 – Madison, IN (Indiana Governor’s Cup)
    (15) 2007 – Detroit, MI (APBA Gold Cup)
    (16) 2007 – Tri-Cities, WA (Columbia Cup)
    (17) 2008 Seattle, WA (Seafair)
    (18) 2009 Madison, IN (Madison Regatta)
    (19) 2009 Detroit, MI (APBA Gold Cup)
    (20) 2009 Seattle, WA (Seafair)
    (21) 2010 Detroit, MI (APBA Gold Cup)
    (22) 2010 – San Diego, CA (Air Guard Championship
    (23) 2010 – Doha, Qatar (Oryx Cup UIM World Championship)
    (24) 2011 – Detroit, MI (APBA Gold Cup)
    (25) 2011 – Kennewick, WA (Lamb-Weston Columbia Cup)
    (26) 2011 – San Diego, CA (Air National Guard Championship)
    (27) 2012 – Madison, IN (Lucas Oil Madison Regatta)
    (28) 2012 – Detroit, MI (APBA Gold Cup)