OPA Qatar's Ali-Al Neama wins St. Clair River Classic in Spirit of Qatar 95

2010 AMERICAN OPA OFFSHORE CHAMPIONSHIP, round 4 St. Clair River Classic, Michigan – July 23/25


For immediate release Monday, July 26th, 2010 



  • Qatar’s Sheikh Hassan snatches third overall in Spirit of Qatar 96


ST. CLAIR (USA): Qatar’s Ali-Al Neama and Italian throttleman Matteo Nicolini sealed a sensational victory at the St. Clair River Classic, round four of the American OPA Offshore Racing Series, in Michigan, USA.


The pair led from start-to-finish in Spirit of Qatar 95 to seal rookie Al-Neama’s biggest career success to date in his first full season of racing with the Qatar Marine Sports Federation’s (QMSF) OPA offshore racing team.


His Excellency Sheikh Hassan Bin Jabor Al-Thani and Steve Curtis MBE held fourth overall for much of the race in sunny and breezy conditions on the short St. Clair River course in Spirit of Qatar 96 and managed to nip in front of the BWP Transport (JD Byrider) crew of Tony Marcantonio and Mark Kowalski near the end to confirm the final podium place.


“I said before the start that this race might suit Ali and Matteo and they turned in a fantastic performance,” said Sheikh Hassan, President of the QMSF and driver of Spirit of Qatar 96. “We are delighted for Ali that he has performed so well and managed to hold his nerve and his composure throughout the race with constant pressure from behind.”

Despite a delay caused by large commercial shipping traffic using the important river route in the Great Lakes region, both Spirit of Qatar boats made a good start to the 15-lap race, with Al-Neama and Nicolini taking the early lead from their American racing rivals in WHM and BWP Transport.

Sheikh Hassan managed to hold off Talk-N-Trash, crewed by Jimmy Vinters and Vinny Rifice, to hold fourth position through the early laps.

The quintet maintained station through the next lap, with all five boats closely matched early in the St. Clair River race. Al-Neama managed to maintain his lead as the race progressed, although Spirit of 96 was unable to make in-roads into WHM’s hold on second position and BWP Transport’s grasp on third. Talk-N-Trash languished in fifth place, but began to speed up as the race progressed.

Despite his lack of racing experience, Al-Neama maintained an excellent pace with Nicolini on the throttles and the Spirit of Qatar 95 crew continued to hold off a fierce WHM challenge. Sheikh Hassan began to challenge BWP Transport for third position, as WHM began to reduce Al-Neama’s outright lead.

Spirit of Qatar 96 managed to overtake Marcantonio and Kowalski in BWP Transport to snatch third position, as Spirit of 95 and WHM maintained first and second overall and two Qatar boats filled the podium places.

Sheikh Hassan now plans to remain in the United States to attend the next round of the H1 Unlimited series, where Dave Villwock will appear at the Seattle Seafair in U-96 Spirit of Qatar in August.



For further information:

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







Date issued: 26/07/2010

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