TEAM 26 SURVIVES SARASOTA 'FREEZE OUT'
Intrepid Brits Test Despite 'Unseasonable' Weather Conditions
"It was bloody COLD!" is how Powerboat P1 World Championship Team 26 in Sarasota SuperSport racer Daniel Cramphorn described his recent testing experience in "sunny" Sarasota, Florida.
Cramphorn, along with his TEAM 26 partner Kim Collins, decided following their U.S. Racing debut in Key West, Florida, last November by sending their 38 ZR to the Donzi Marine factory and return from their London base for a combination holiday and testing time. The strategy was solid: It would be warmer in Florida than at the team's race base at Bernico International in Belgium.
"It was not quite what we had hoped for," Cramphorn lamented, "It was no different than being in Belgium, really." Team 26 braved temperatures in the mid-30s (3-4 degrees Celsius), and both Brits got not a tan, but a common cold, AND still managed.
Working with Donzi vice president Craig Barrie and others at the factory, Team 26 was able to "iron out the problems we discovered in Key West" Cramphorn said, describing those setbacks as "water pickups that were too low and incorrect fittings on our sea strainers."
"It was so cold, they thought they were back in England!" said Barrie who also noted some center of gravity changes and a custom set of props made them "run like a dragster!"
Team 26 won their first race in Key West but the boat was rigged for the 85 mile-per-hour speed limit of Powerboat P1. The faster speeds in the U.S. proved too much for the set-up, and after taking a checkered flag in the first race, the boys from Britain failed to finish in the subsequent events.
"If we had more time, more hands and more money, we would have done much better then," Cramphorn stated frankly, "But when you try and save budget using second-hand equipment...well, it's the one weak point that catches you, isn't it?"
Cramphorn was quick to point out that many individuals and race teams provided assistance in November, citing Barrie along with Rik Wimp of Arneson surface drive fame and Carmen Belanger Martin of Aero-marine for being instrumental in "helping out the daft British boys."
Despite the cold temperatures-Florida's coldest since the 1940's, Team 26 received a warm welcome from the folks at Donzi. "We sort of feel like we're carrying on the Donzi tradition and spirit of offshore racing, and it was fun to see that same attitude among the folks at the factory," Cramphorn said.
Team 26 is well-underway in making preparations for the 2010 Powerboat P1 World Championship. They purchased a new tow vehicle to replace the truck that caught fire last summer, sent their engines to American builder, Sterling Performance, for a complete overhaul and are negotiating with potential new sponsorships.