SBI Sheikh Hassan misses out on Superboat Unlimited win in Cocoa Beach


5th Space Coast Super Boat Grand Prix, Cocoa Beach, Florida - May 16-18, 2014

For immediate release
Monday, May 19th, 2014


· Qatar’s Ali Al-Neama and Billy Moore finish third in Superboats
· Team Stihl beats WHM Motorsports to Superboat class success
· Marc Granet and Scott Begovich snatch Superboat Unlimited win

COCOA BEACH (Florida): His Excellency Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani replaced Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah and sat alongside Italian throttleman Matteo Nicolini to steer Spirit of Qatar 613 to second position in a thrilling Superboat Unlimited race at the 5th Space Coast Super Boat Grand Prix off Cocoa Beach in Florida on Sunday.

The Spirit of Qatar 613 pairing became embroiled in a stunning duel with American arch rivals, Marc Granet and Scott Begovich, in Miss Geico 113 and the pair traded turns, momentum and rooster tails for 11 of the 13 laps, before Granet edged in front of a slowing Qatar boat over the closing two laps to reach the chequered flag in first position.

Qatar’s Ali Al-Neama and American throttleman Billy Moore were entered in the hotly contested Superboat category and reached the finish in third position after a solid performance. Victory fell to J. R. Noble and Mark Kowalski in Team Stihl US-1. They were pushed all the way by early leaders WHM Motorsports.

“It was a fantastic race to be a part of, but the engines kept switching into ‘guardian mode’ at crucial times, especially after the fourth lap and, every time we wanted to push a little harder, we did not have the power at the crucial time,” said Sheikh Hassan, president of the Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF) and driver of Spirit of Qatar 613.

“We backed off a little over the last two laps, but we are delighted with the progress the team has made. We will assess the engine data and make sure that this boat is ready for Nasser to drive in Sarasota. He will love these engines. As far as the turbine boat is concerned, we are on track and should have the engines ready in the coming week or so to ensure that Steve (Curtis) and I are raring to go in Al-Adaa’am 96 for Sarasota.”

Qatari rally driver/boat racer Nasser Saleh Al-Attiyah was forced to miss the race after deciding to continue his rallying challenge for the 2014 FIA World Cup for Cross Country Rallies at the Pharoans Rally in Egypt.

Race 2 – Cocoa Beach

The second of the day’s two races featured Superboat and Superboat Unlimited entrants, who were set to tackle 13 laps of the 5.5-mile course for a total race distance of 71.5 miles. Blustery conditions were prevalent with winds on the Atlantic coast ranging from 18-22mph and blowing from an east-south-easterly direction.

Sheikh Hassan lined up with Matteo Nicolini in the twin-1650 Mercury-engined Victory hull, Spirit of Qatar 613, to take on Lucas Oil Silverhook 77 and arch rivals, Granet and Begovich, in the Superboat Unlimited class.

Ali Al-Neama and Billy Moore entered Spirit of Qatar 20 in the Superboat class alongside US-1 Team Stihl, 05 Broadco, 5 WHM Motorsports, 33 Autonation-Racing for Cancer and 38 Warpaint, with Instigator 22 the sole entrant in Superboat Extreme.

Sheikh Hassan and Nicolini made a superb start and pulled away from Miss Geico through the opening lap and began the second tour with a useful lead. Lucas Oil Silverhook slowed and dropped at least a lap, as Team Stihl pulled into a comfortable lead in Superboats and shadowed Miss Geico into lap two. WHM Motorsports, Spirit of Qatar 20, Broadco and Warpaint followed in their wake.

Granet began to apply immense pressure on Sheikh Hassan through lap two and the two racers were side-by-side into the final turn, but the Qatar driver shut the door in spectacular fashion and forced his American rival to run wide and maintained the lead, much to the delight of a massive vocal crowd. Team Stihl kept the lead in Superboat, but Broadco lost time in the turn.

Lap three was a carbon copy of the second one, with Granet and Begovich leaping spectacularly down the back straight and maintaining the outside line through traffic. But Sheikh Hassan held on to the lead and Team Stihl continued to lead in Superboats from WHM Motorsports.

Miss Geico managed to edge into a lead of several seconds on lap four after Spirit of Qatar 613’s Mercury engines switched into ‘guardian mode’ and the American reached the final turn with the choice of line. Granet and Begovich turned in well and began to pull away from Spirit of Qatar 613. WHM Motorsports was also running well and managed to pass Team Stihl and take the Superboat lead. Spirit of Qatar 20 was third.

Miss Geico and Spirit of Qatar 613 held station through lap five and there were no changes to the top four through the sixth tour. Granet and Sheikh Hassan completed lap seven neck-and-neck but Granet maintained the lead through the left-hand turn and Sheikh Hassan levelled down the straight as the thrilling contest continued. WHM led from Team Stihl and Spirit of Qatar 20 in Superboats.

Miss Geico held the edge over Spirit of Qatar 613 into lap nine and Team Stihl found a way past WHM to lead again in Superboats. Granet and Begovich extended their advantage into lap 10 and maintained the lead into the 11th lap, as Team Stihl stayed out in front of WHM.

Miss Geico was not to be denied and headed into the final lap with a good lead from a slowing Spirit of Qatar 613. Granet and Begovich held on to the chequered flag after lapping Broadco to give the host nation the early bragging rights in the much-vaunted boating battle between Qatar and the USA. Lucas Oil Silverhook retired after five laps.

Team Stihl held on to beat WHM, Spirit of Qatar 20, Broadco, Warpaint and Autonation-Racing for Cancer in the Superboat class.

The next round of Super Boat International (SBI) takes place in Sarasota, Florida, on July 3-6.

Super Boat International – positions after Cocoa Beach (race 2):

Superboat Unlimited
1. Miss Geico 113 967 pts
2. Lucas Oil Silverbrook 77 911 pts
3. Gasse 8 558 pts
4. CMS 3 507 pts
5. Spirit of Qatar 613 496 pts

1. Stihl US-1 1109 pts
2. WHM Motorsports 5 961 pts
3. Broadco 05 920 pts
4. Automation-Racing for Cancer 33 680 pts
5. Spirit of Qatar 20 453 pts
6. Cleveland Construction 4 421 pts
7. Warpaint 38 375 pts


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



Date issued: 19/05/2014

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