AOPC Barry-Cotter and Nilsen claim 2010 AOPC Australian Class 1 title
Sandringham Offshore Superboat race - Melbourne, Australia
Australian Offshore Superboat Championship, final round, November 21st, 2010
For immediate release
Sunday, November 21st, 2010
SPIRIT OF QATAR’S AL-NEAMA AND STEVE
CURTIS FAIL TO FINISH MELBOURNE RACE
· Melbourne win gives Barry-Cotter and Nilsen AOPC title
· Al-Neama and Curtis qualify second for season’s finale
MELBOURNE (AUSTRALIA): Qatar’s Ali Al-Neama and British throttleman Steve Curtis were unable to round off their offshore racing season with a finish in the Sandringham Offshore Superboat race, the final round of the AOPC Australian Offshore Class 1 Championship, in Melbourne on Sunday.
At the helm of Spirit of Qatar 96, the pair occupied one of three boats that were handed a DNF by officials in a race which saw Australia’s Tom Barry-Cotter and Norwegian Pal-Virik Nilsen claim victory and snatch the Australian Offshore Class 1 title from the ACME Racing duo of Christopher Searle and Andrew Seale.
Barry-Cotter and throttleman Nilsen had taken back-to-back race wins at Geelong last weekend and arrived in Melbourne with a pair of new race engines for Mustang-Maritimo. They were a mere 125 points behind the ACME Racing boat, owned by Steve Searle, in the Australian Class 1 Offshore Championship and needed to finish in front of ACME to stand a chance of winning the title.
Spirit of Qatar 96 had missed two race meetings and Al-Neama and Curtis were realistically looking at fourth in the title race heading into the Sandringham meeting.
The pair had enjoyed a week sampling the Melbourne hospitality before race day and Al-Neama was determined to end his period standing in for His Excellency Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani on a positive winning note in a boat supplied by Team Maritimo Offshore.
Al-Neama and Curtis qualified second in the pole position session on Saturday afternoon behind Barry-Cotter and Virik-Nilsen. “It was a bit windy with a two or three foot chop on the water,” admitted Curtis. “The boat ran well. We didn’t really have a good set-up and were more optimistic for the race today. Ali and I have been getting on well in the boat.
But the Spirit of Qatar 96 crew joined ACME Racing and Colin Craven and Steve Jellick as non-finishers in the Sandringham race, which saw Ross Willaton and Peter McGrath seal second place in Maritimo and claim third in the final points’ standings. The Spirit of Qatar 96 team had been up against it to improve on fourth position in the championship in any case. Missing two of the six rounds meant that the Qatar boat was indeed classified fourth in the final points’ standings.
2010 Australian Offshore Class 1 Championship – final standings
1. Tom Barry-Cotter/Pal Virik-Nilsen (Mustang-Maritimo) 3125 pts
2. Christopher Searle/Andrew Seale (ACME Racing) 2850 pts
3. Ross Willaton/Peter McGrath (Maritimo) 2800 pts
4. Ali Al-Neama/Hassan Al-Thani/Steve Curtis (Spirit of Qatar 96) 2250 pts
5. Colin Craven/Steve Jellick (Trojan Steel) 1988 pts
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