ORYX Steve David leads formidable field into Oryx Cup UIM World Championship

2009 ABRA Unlimited Hydroplane World Championship

Oryx Cup – UIM World Championship, Qatar – November 19th-21st


For immediate release

Wednesday, November 18th, 2009





·        Unlimited Hydroplane testing and qualifying set for Thursday

·        Sheikh Hassan welcomes Unlimited Hydroplane family to Qatar


DOHA (Qatar): Florida-based Steve David knows that he needs to stay out of trouble during this weekend’s Doha-based Oryx Cup UIM World Championship if he is to retain his ABRA Unlimited Hydroplane World High Point Championship title for a second year.


The driver of U-1 Oh Boy! Oberto/Miss Madison has already claimed victory in the Columbia Cup at Tri-Cities in Washington – round three of the six-race series - and is the favourite to win the first Unlimited Hydroplane race ever to be staged outside the Americas. He has won the Drivers’ Championship on three occasions – 2005, 2006 and 2008 - and is chasing his fourth win in five seasons.


David’s striking boat is owned by the City of Madison in Indiana - a team that has been running since 1961. This boat was built in 2007 and is fitted with a Lycoming turbine engine capable of revving to 19,000 rpm. The team has taken three race victories under the management of Charlie Grooms and Seattle-based crew chief Mike Hanson, both of whom have amassed five wins apiece in their careers.


Jeff Bernard won the Thunder on the Ohio race in Evansville back in August and trails David by 228 points heading into what promises to be a thrilling Oryx Cup showdown in Doha this weekend. The Washington-based driver races U-5 Formulaboats.com, which is owned by Ted Porter of Decatur, Indiana. The team was founded in 2006 and has taken two race wins. Bernard will run under the management of Michigan’s Mark Hooton and crew chief Tom Anderson in Qatar. Both have scored three wins in their careers.


“One of the main differences between racing in Qatar and back in the United States is the amount of extra salt in the water here in Doha Bay,” said ABRA media spokesman Owen Blauman. “Salt can damage the engines on these boats if it is left untreated and there is a greater risk of engines ingesting salt water in a race situation, where the spray from a huge ‘rooster tail’ hangs in the air and is picked up by a boat running behind.”


Several of the teams have fitted snorkels to the air intake systems to prevent the engines ingesting salt water during the Doha Bay races.


His Excellency Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani, President of the Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF), was on hand at the Corniche on Wednesday morning to personally welcome the Unlimited Hydroplane family to Qatar for the first time.


“I would like to thank His Highness the Emir of the State of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Heir Apparent, His Highness Sheikh Tamin bin Hamad Al-Thani, and His Excellency Sheikh Abdullah Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, Special Adviser to the Emir, for their support and backing for all sports in Qatar, especially marine sports.


“This weekend’s race is something we have all been looking forward to since the agreement was signed between Sam Cole of ABRA and myself earlier this year. I would like to welcome everyone involved with Unlimited Hydroplane racing to Qatar and wish them all a safe and successful weekend’s racing.”


The timetable of high-speed action on the water begins on Thursday morning. A drivers’ meeting precedes the official ABRA press conference, before the 10 Unlimited Hydroplane race hulls are permitted two and a half hours of testing on the Doha Bay course between 09.30hrs and noon (local time).


There will be a drivers’ press conference at noon before the three-hour Unlimited Hydroplane qualifying session roars into life from 1pm. Teams will score points for qualifying, as well as during the race heats on Friday and Saturday.


During qualifying in Doha Bay, each boat must average 130mph or higher around the 3.22km course to be eligible for competition and the top qualifier will receive 100 race points, with 80 points for the runner-up, down to 70 for third, 60 for fourth, 50 for fifth, 40 for sixth and 30 points for other eligible qualifiers, who will be automatically entered into Friday’s heats. The world record for this size of course is an average speed of 161.167mph set in Evansville, Indiana, by Dave Villwock in the U-16 Ellstrom Elam Plus race hull.


A podium presentation follows for the top three qualifiers from 4.15pm and then the pit lane will be opened to the general public, who will be offered unprecedented access to view the race boats and meet drivers, officials and team members.


Oryx Cup UIM World Championship – list of entrants

U-1                  Steve David              Oh Boy!Oberto/Miss Madison

U-5                  Jeff Bernard                        Formulaboats.com

U-7                  J Michael Kelly            Graham Trucking

U-16                Dave Villwock            Ellstrom Manufacturing

U-17                Nate Brown             Our Gang Racing

U-22                Mike Webster            Matrix System Automotive Finishes

U-25                Ken Muscatel            Superior Racing

U-37                Jean Theoret                        Schumacher Racing

U-48                Brian Perkins                        Albert Lee Appliances

U-100             Greg Hopp                        Mirage Boats


Timetable of events – Thursday, November 19th

08.00hrs – 09.00hrs                        Drivers’ meeting

09.00hrs                                    ABRA press conference

09.30hrs – 12.00hrs                        Unlimited testing

12.00hrs                                    Drivers’ press conference and autograph signing sessio

13.00hrs – 16.00hrs                        Unlimited qualifying

16.15hrs                                    Podium ceremony for top three qualifiers

16.30hrs – 18.00hrs                        Pit area open to general public (VIP tours available)




For further media information about the QMSF:

Neil Perkins, NDP Publicity Services, Mobile: + 44 7831 123153, E-mail: ndppublicity@googlemail.com. www.ndp-publicity.com (press releases).


For further information about ABRA:

Owen Blauman, Oryx Cup UIM World Championship Media Relations, owenb@m5seattle.co







Date issued: 18/11/2009

For further information or assistance please contact:

NDP Publicity Services
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Tel/Fax: +44 (0) 1952 825001
Mobile: + 44 (0) 7831 123153 (UK)

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