After a stunning pole position shoot-out, which saw home team Gold Coast Australia qualify third, they produced a repeat performance to come home second behind championship leaders XDubai, reports Richard Carr.
Flag to flag victory
Despite their heroics, the home team couldn’t do anything to stop the two men in form – Arif Al Zaffain and Nadir bin Hendi – claiming yet another victory in their charge towards the XCAT Championship.
It was a flawless performance from the duo which saw them lead from flag to flag having qualified in pole position.
XDubai did have to overcome a red flag situation when their Victory teammates flipped their boat for the second time in two days. However, they made no mistake at the restart and sailed home comfortably.
After the race, Bin Hendi said: “It was not easy. It was tough and the conditions were getting worse and worse. They were much better than during Pole Position yesterday though but as we were coming in it was getting worse as we were hitting the waves.
“We were taking it easy and didn’t push like crazy but as soon as we saw the Gold Coast boat were getting closer we were pushing it. I think it’s a very good thing for the Australians having them coming second. It’s good for the whole country.”
Both Tom Barry-Cotter and teammate Ross Willaton were clearly thrilled after coming home second, but it wasn’t all plain sailing, as he explained to the xcatracing.com website.
“We smashed the left engine when we did a big jump before the restart … there were a few moments when we thought we may have to retire, but the engines restarted and we kept going so we were thankful for that.”
On coming second, he said: “It’s a massive weight off our shoulders and to see what this means to myself, the whole team, friends and family, the whole city is just amazing. I couldn’t be happier.
“It gives us a lot of confidence going into the next race and shows that we are really here to mean business and to be serious. We’ve got a lot of confidence going in but a lot of work ahead.”
Same again, says the Mayor
With a live audience of 20,000 and a global one of 400 million around the world, Australian Mayor Tom Tate was clearly delighted with the success of this year’s event.
“I walked around and spoke to a few people and what they loved is it’s free, family fun and excitement and there’s something for everyone,” said Tate.
“Will this stay on the calendar? As long as I’m mayor! It makes common sense to keep going. We have a three-year contract with two-year option. It ticks every successful box. We love it, and the drivers love it, supporters love it and the world loves it so bring it on.”
About Richard Carr
Richard Carr, of Poole, is one of the UK’s most experienced and successful powerboat racers, who has competed in the sport globally.
He has won numerous domestic and international honours: he became British Class 1 Champion in 1991; he was the winner of the coveted Needles Trophy and he also came second in the Cowes Torquay Cowes race in 1992. It was the year the race was controversially competed in the fog and it has been argued for many years that he actually won the race.
He is known in the sport for his aggressive racing character in rough seas and recently raced in the USA for Geico in 2011.
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