POWERBOAT P1 TRAVELS TO KEY WEST SBI CHAMPIONSHIP
The International Racing Circuit Visits US Mecca for Offshore Racing
Though the Powerboat P1 World Championship has concluded its 2009 season, its racers, administrators and fans are still hungry for more racing action. A trip to the US for the29th Key West SBI World Championship races November 10-15 became a group effort as the P1 SuperSport SW1 Capital team led the way across The Pond in its quest for another win in 2009. Powerboat P1 Heads to Key West
Driver, Daniel Cramphorn and thottleman, Kim Collins are bringing their Sterling-powered Donzi to compete against the US' best. The highly competitive team just missed a shot at the P1 World Championship when mechanical difficulties short-circuited them mid-season, thwarting its momentum but not its spirit. The SW1Capital team however, came on strong at the end, with help from their Arneson drive liaison, Rik Wimp; they plan to race in the speed-bracketed P-class with a 95 mph limit.
"We took the decision to go to Key West simply to gain further experience and test ourselves against some of the best teams in the world," says Cramphorn, "As was the situation at the start of the Powerboat P1 season, we have no pre-conceptions of how competitive we will be at Key West which is very exciting for all of us."
Though other P1 teams like the Supersport World Championship, Chaudron Seagull Ukrainian Spirit, aspired to race in Key West, the logistics of bringing boats to the US after the final race in Sicily presented challenges. Siegfrield "Sigi" Greve and Mark Nelson of the Evolution Class SeaRex team will make the trip as "research" and vacation to the sunny Keys--a pleasant break from Germany in November.
Also visiting from Powerboat P1 management will be Commercial Director, Robert Wicks and Race Director, Jean Marie Van Lancker. Both were in Key West last year and look forward to visiting again. They will be joined by former P1 racers and fans Martin Lai, who owns the SuperSport Phoenix 8 Dragon team, and Miles Jennings, a British racer who has competed in various circuits over the years and could be eyeing another opportunity in P1.
Martin Sanborn, the US voice of Powerboat P1 who shares the P1 Radio commentary with British colleague Steve Ancsell, will also be in Key West, this time, not behind a microphone, but behind the throttles of a 42 Fountain Lightning, like the Furnibo and former Fountain Worldwide model, with Mercury Racing 525's. He and the boat owner, driver and former motorcycle racer, Dan Davies will enjoy this race in Key West after teaming up in Clearwater at the last SBI race. "It's great to be back in a race boat again!" says Sanborn who won several Championships in his years of US APBA Offshore racing competition. "I love commentating on racing for P1 Radio and on our US show, Talk Offshore.com," says Sanborn, "But being in the seat is so much more exciting!" The team will compete in the Super Vee class.
The 2009 Powerboat P1 Evolution Class Lucas Oil Outerlimits team will divide into two teams for Key West. Nigel Hook will pair up with his new 2010 P1 partner, Swede Michael Silfverberg in Hook's Lucas Oil Skater with Mercury power. The team will compete in the Performance class since the Skater and engines do not "fit" either the SuperVee or Extreme Vee classes. The duo looks forward to extra seat time as they prepare to race in 2010 in a new Vector race boat.
Outerlimits has been busy in its Bristol, Rhode Island factory as Joe Sgro decided just over a month ago to compete in the Key West Championship. Outerlimits used the opportunity to build a brand new Pearl white and red SV 43' to compete in the Super Vee Unlimited class using its own new proprietary engine package. "We wanted to have a real racing engine that we could rely on," says Sgro, "Everything in racing is clearance and oiling--if you have that right, the motors should last forever! We just haven't had that in our prior engine packages."
According to Paul Fiore, Outerlimits Vice President and the Powerboat P1 team manager for the 2009 Evolution Class World Champion SNAV OSG team who ran a similar Outerlimits SV 43, Outerlimits bought an engine builder and brought the shop in-house so it could control its own power packages. "It was a natural progression for us," said Fiore, who reported the first engine was still one the dyno, "We don't have a lot of time to test or get it dialed in, but we'll learn a lot when we're down in Key West!"
Other international competitors in Key West will include two Class I race teams who will compete in the Superboat 750 and 850 classes. Abdullah Al-Sulaiti will join Italian throttleman Matteo Nicolini in Qatar 95, who also throttled for the P1 Smash Poker team; Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani will team with veteran throttleman Steve Curtis of England in Qatar 96. The eight-time World Champion Curtis has competed and consulted in Powerboat P1 and is also involved in the Formula F4SA series just acquired by Powerboat P1.
The Powerboat P1World Championship will be highly visible at the US event. "Key West is an amazing place!" says Wicks, "We're keen to see the international action where so much offshore history has been made!"