P1: Team 26 Scandinavian GP preview

SW1 Capital - TEAM 26 Rolling the Dice for Win in Sweden With US Team Support from Arneson An offer for a trip to Sweden will be a working vacation for Arneson Industries president, Rik Wimp, but one he anticipates with excitement. Going...

SW1 Capital - TEAM 26 Rolling the Dice for Win in Sweden

With US Team Support from Arneson

An offer for a trip to Sweden will be a working vacation for Arneson Industries president, Rik Wimp, but one he anticipates with excitement. Going racing is not new to Wimp, but this is his first trip to a Powerboat P1 World Championship race and to be helping a good client with his team makes it even more enjoyable.

That customer is Kim Collins, partner with fellow Brit, Daniel Cramphorn of "Team 26," now sponsored by SW1 Capital in its second year of the Powerboat P1 World Championship. The team entered the last two races of the 2008 season as a "Wild Card" in the SuperSport class and promptly wowed the circuit and fans with their energy, charming good looks, amiability-and speed. In a Velocity which Cramphorn had purchased from Florida-based Steve Stepp to double as a race and pleasure boat, the team showed promise and vowed to return as a contender in 2009. Team 26

Collins and Cramphorn attended the Key West Championships to get acquainted with the US racing circuit and to look for new equipment. The atmosphere of Key West whet their appetites standing out from their hometown London and the European race sites in which they had previously competed. They met up with Wimp, who had worked with Collins on the Arneson surface drives he had on his first Donzi over six years prior, and he introduced them to Mike D'Anniballe from Sterling Performance. D'Anniballe made a deal with Cramphorn on a pair of Sterling 600's which were ideal for the SuperSport class. Collins decided to put them into his new 38 ZR Donzi-that the team opted to race after going for a ride with Craig Barrie and the 2009 boat began to take shape-in their minds.

The boat literally took shape-actually, a re-configuration at Bernico International (www.bernico.be), a ski race boat builder and rigger in Antwerp, Belgium. Cramphorn knew Nico Bertels from his own water ski racing days and the team entrusted Bertels with a complete stripping and re-rigging of the boat. They changed from a side-by-side to a staggered configuration, replaced the drive with the Arneson from Collins' former Donzi and added the new Sterlings and a BAM transmission. "There is no one in Europe doing what Nico does," boasted Cramphorn, and while Bernico has been building 21' ski race boats and 28' pleasure boats, often with Mercury Racing 1075 SCi engines, he is now inspired to build a new hull for the SuperSport class. Stay tuned for more on a new entry in 2010.

Team 26 debuted in Malta with great success, winning the Sprint race, then falling to 6th in the Endurance race due to a 4-minute penalty for speeding. In Istanbul, the boat broke a prop shaft, forcing retirement from the Sprint race, but with some help and late-night repair, they came back to win the Endurance race on Sunday. In Italy, with new props and repaired drive, the team took fourth in the Sprint race when they broke a rudder and mangled a prop after hitting "something" in the water in the second race, and again, had to retire. Running the engine on the rev limiter seemed to have caused other issues with the rocker box, so the team was in bad shape as they left Italy, trying to re-group. On Monday, the team truck, laden with parts, uniforms and other equipment caught fire, seemingly due to a battery problem, so the team lost all its ancillary race equipment. With dogged determination, while working their primary jobs, the team fought back and is now ready for Gothenburg-with a little help from their friends.

"Rik has been a huge support since day one," says Cramphorn, "He follows what we do and we talk with him regularly. We are keen to get to Sweden so we asked him to come and help us out with a few things." A few of those "things" will be parts that Wimp will carry across The Pond. He'll spend a day in London with the team, pulling together details on the truck and set up, then they'll head to Sweden, just behind the boat which will ship out on Tuesday, arriving on Thursday. Then testing will start and the SW1 Capital team will plan on ridding itself of the racing gremlins and catching up in the standings where they are in 5th, 118 points behind the 4th place Iko Casa Chaudron, who is 32 points behind the 3rd place MasForce Nor-Tech.

"When it's all held together, we're unbeatable!" says Cramphorn, "The boat has terrific cornering speed and if you can only do 85, you want to do 85 at all times!" He also notes that the World Championship may not be in reach with just four races to go, but that the team will be ready for next year. "We've put incredible time, effort and money into the boat, but everyone has some bad luck sometimes, right?! We have what it takes and now we're working to get more reliability."

The team is also working to get some sponsorship to get them to Key West to compete in the US World Championship races. "To race with the Americans--after visiting last year and to come back and be a part of it would be great!" enthuses Cramphorn. But for a 10-person team, the costs seem a bit daunting after much equipment repair and replacement. "We've learned huge amounts!" Cramphorn states, "You never know how little you know until you're into it. "We're very proud of our team and want to see it all come together," he adds, "It's all forward from here!"

-credit: p1

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