SBI Ali Al-Neama and Mohammed Al-Nasser seal top five finishes at 'Thunder on the Gulf' in Alabama
SUPER BOAT INTERNATIONAL 2013
10th Annual ‘Thunder on the Gulf’ Super Boat Grand Prix, Orange Beach, Alabama –June 1-2, 2013
For immediate release
Monday, June 3rd, 2013
THIRD AND FIFTH IN SUPERBOAT RACES FOR AL-NEAMA
AND AL-NASSER AT ‘THUNDER ON THE GULF’ IN ALABAMA
· JD Byrider wins first Superboat race; Ricks Colision flips over
· WHM Motorsports pips Team Stihl in second race thriller
· 2008 UIM F1 H20 world champion Jay Price visits Qatar Team
ORANGE BEACH (Alabama, USA): Spirit of Qatar 20’s Ali Al-Neama and Mohammed Al-Nasser unofficially clinched third and fifth positions in the two Superboat races at the 10th Annual ‘Thunder on the Gulf’ Super Boat Grand Prix at Orange Beach in Alabama on Sunday.
At the helm of Spirit of Qatar 20 and racing in Baldwin County under the watchful eye of His Excellency Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani, president of the Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF), and team throttleman Steve Curtis, the Qatar duo made swift progress and enjoyed vital seat time in their twin 750hp Scorpion-engined MTI hull during the two races that were held in challenging conditions.
A thrilling victory in the first of the two Superboat races fell to Tony Marcantonio and Mark Kowalski in JD Byrider. They pipped WHM Motorsports’ Billy Mauff and Jay Muller to the chequered flag in the closing metres after the two had been neck-and-neck throughout the action-packed race.
There was an equally exciting finish to the second seven-lap race. Mauff and Muller managed to hold off a fierce late challenge from Robert Noble and Grant Bruggemann in Team Stihl to secure the race win and extend their Superboat Championship lead.
“Ali and Mohammed made a good start and started to play a little but maybe they were a little too conservative,” said Sheikh Hassan. “Saying that, I was delighted that they managed to get third place in the first race. The water conditions changed for race two and we changed the set-up. We had smaller props and that changed the attitude of the boat and maybe it was a bit slower.
“Still, the goal was to give them as much seating time as possible and we have achieved that. They are getting used to it and I am sure that they will be even more competitive at the next race. Our testing programme with the turbine boat is pencilled in for three weeks’ time and we are all on track to use the new boat in Sarasota.”
Two boats in the Turbine and Superboat Extreme classes joined the six Superboat entries to tackle both races in this weekend’s Alabama race sanctioned by Super Boat International (SBI) Inc. The Superboat Vee and Stock boats also entered the same race with a staggered start.
In glorious, albeit windy, racing conditions on the Gulf of Mexico coast of Lower Alabama, Spirit of Qatar lined up against WHM, Team CRC, Stihl, JD Byrider and Ricks Colision in the Superboat class.
JD Byrider snatched the early lead from WHM, Stihl and Spirit of Qatar on the 5.6-mile course. WHM had moved in front after lap two from JD Byrider, Ricks Colision, Spirit of Qatar and Team CRC and the quintet held station through three laps, although there was a frantic tussle developing between the leading two boats until Ricks Colision, crewed by Paul Boudreaux and Mike Stancombe, hooked and flipped over at the start of lap five and lost third overall.
JD Byrider managed to pass WHM and take the lead on lap six when Stihl ground to a halt after losing a propeller. This handed third position to Spirit of Qatar from Team CRC.
But WHM regained the lead on the next lap and maintained the advantage from JD Byrider. Marcantonio and Kowalski had other ideas, however, and the JD Byrider crew managed to sneak through in the closing metres to take the chequered flag and force WHM into second in a thrilling photo finish. Spirit of Qatar and Team CRC finished third and fourth.
Only five of the six Superboats started race two. Stihl was able to continue with a replacement propeller as the wind picked up on the Gulf in the late afternoon for the start of the seven-lap, 40-mile second race. The first race accident sidelined Ricks Colision.
Team CRC led from JD Byrider, Stihl, WHM and Spirit of Qatar into the first turn, but WHM snatched the lead soon afterwards and a tussle began between JD Byrider and Stihl for second place. But JD Byrider regained the outright lead at the end of the next lap and WHM, Stihl and Team CRC were neck-and-neck for second position, with Spirit of Qatar in fifth.
JD Byrider kept the lead through lap three and second-placed WHM began to pull away from Stihl and Team CRC. WHM closed in slightly on JD Byrider through lap four, but the five boats held station heading into the remaining three laps of the race.
Both WHM and Stihl continued to close in on JD Byrider through lap five and WHM moved in for the kill on the back straight to the west side of the course, the boat crossing the leader’s wake in a frantic attempt to find clean water. Spirit of Qatar remained in fifth position.
WHM managed to sneak through into the lead on the penultimate lap and Stihl also overtook a struggling JH Byrider and snatched second. Team Stihl’s Robert Noble and Grant Bruggemann took up the challenge and they began to pressurise WHM on the final lap. Both boats were airborne on the home straight but WHM held on to snatch a dramatic win from Team Stihl, with JD Byrider, Team CRC and Spirit of Qatar in third, fourth and fifth positions in the unofficial results.
Former F1 H20 world champion Jay Price was also a member of the official Qatar Team party during race weekend. Price won the title for the QMSF in 2008 and lives in nearby Louisiana.
The next stop for the Qatar Team on the SBI tour of the USA will be the 29th Annual Suncoast Super Boat Grand Prix Festival at Sarasota in Florida on July 5-7. The event should mark the eagerly anticipated debut of Sheikh Hassan’s new turbine boat.
Super Boat International
Superboat class – positions after race 3 (unofficial):
1. WHM Motorsports 1615 pts
2. Team Stihl 1472 pts
3. JD Byrider 1003 pts
4. Spirit of Qatar 792 pts
5. Team CRC 757 pts
6. Ricks Collision 356 pts
7. Warpaint 331 pts
For further information:
Neil Perkins, NDP Publicity Services, Mobile: + 44 7831 123153, E-mail:
www.ndp-publicity.com (press releases).