Villwock secures boat high points
TRIBUNE NEWS NETWORK
DOHA DAVE VILLWOCK, driving U-96 Spirit of Qatar, was immaculate on Friday, helping Ellstrom Racing claim the 2011 Air National Guard Hydroplane Championship’s Boat High Points title at the Doha Bay on Friday.
Having already sewn up the Driver’s crown before the Doha round, Villwock had needed about 400 more points to complete the double. His machine unleashed furious pace and easily claimed a total of 800 points from the heats 1C and 2A victories, which made the boat owner Erick Ellstrom very proud.
The Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF), which backs the U-96 Spirit of Qatar Team, was also delighted with the achievement. “Congratulations to Dave Villwock, Erick and all the team for this tremendous success,” said Sheikh Hassan bin Jabor Al-Thani, President of the QMSF.
“It’s been a difficult season and that’s what championships are supposed to be about,” said a delighted Villwock. “If it was easy, everybody could do it. Now there is one goal remaining this year and that is to retain the Oryx Cup on Saturday!” This was the third Boat’s High Point crown for Ellstrom, who commented with delight: “That is fantastic. I think this is the first time that this has happened in history of the hydroplane racing.
It is nice to make history and it also means that we have to come back next year to defend this.” Ellstrom also praised the QMSF and its president for the remarkable support to the team.
“Earlier we made sure of the Driver’s title. Now we have the boat’s title as well. I am sure that the QMSF and Sheikh Hassan would be proud of the achievements and it has also been honour for us to be part of the team.” Kip Brown and Steve David claimed victories in the first two heats (1A and 1B) and David added a win in heat 2B to his tally, while Jeff Bernard won the final heat of the day, 2C.
Kip Brown, Greg Hopp, Jeff Bernard and J.W. Myers featured in the first of the weekend’s heats (1A) on Doha Bay and Brown forged into an early lead and began to extend his advantage to the chequered flag. When J.W
Myers was forced to pull out with engine trouble on the first lap, a fascinating duel developed between Bernard and Hopp for second place. The pair were sideby- side for two laps and Hopp held the advantage through the final turn, only for Bernard to power through into second on the final straight to the flag.
Steve David started as favourite to win the second heat from lane two against Brian Perkins, Jimmy Shane and rookie Ryan Malloy. The U-1 Oh Boy! Oberto driver passed Perkins to hit the front before the first turn and extended his lead to the chequered flag.