Dubai's Victory Team triumphs with US crown
Dubai: Victory Team have promised an even bigger presence across the Atlantic after landing a historic 15th world title at the end of the 2019 APBA Offshore Championship Series that concluded with the Roar Offshore race in Fort Myers, Florida, in the early hours of Sunday.
Pitted in a do-or-die battle against some of the most experienced and talented drivers and teams, Victory Team’s Salem Al Adidi and Eisa Al Ali guided their Victory 3 boat to an outright win to help the Dubai-based operation a historic first crown on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean in the sixth and final round of the series.
After lead starter Jim Jackson had called for a restart following a jump start by 222 Offshore, Victory 3 surged into the lead at the first turn, and barring a few instances when the Australia-based 222 Offshore Team came close to overtaking, the men in blue cruised to their maiden Class One world crown along the Fort Myers Beach.
“I can’t describe my feeling as it’s like a dream come true for me in Class One racing. I have been waiting for this moment for a long time now, and to achieve this in the very last race with such a narrow win against some of the top boats and drivers is even greater, not just for me, but for the entire UAE. It’s a win for our country,” throttleman Al Ali told Gulf News.
“It was a fight till the end. 222 Offshore was the biggest threat and so was Miss Geico. So the idea was not never give either of them an opportunity to pass us, and that to me, was the key for the race. We had the best of everything today — a good set-up and a good understanding between Salem and me. This was indeed a true team effort.”
Tied with 82 points each after the fifth round in Michigan City, Al Adidi and Al Ali had only the top spot on their minds. And this showed as the Victory 3 boat immediately hit a speed of more than 120mph to negotiate that first turn ahead of 222 Offshore, with stablemates Victory 33 and Miss Geico in chase.
Sunday’s 20 points took the Victory 3 total to 102 points, while Darren Nicholson and Giovanni Carpitella’s 222 Offshore was second with 97 points and Steve Curtis and Miles Jennings followed in third with 80 points for the 2019 season.
By the third lap Victory 33 slowed down allowing 222 Offshore to be a serious challenger to Victory 3. But new entrants Erik Stark and John Tomlinson managed to sneak in over the wake on the straight and challenge 222 Offshore from the inside while denying them a clear look at race leader Victory 3.
“I am lost for words and I don’t get the words to describe the feeling at the moment. I am very proud of my entire team for landing such an important title in the world of Class One racing. This is historical for Victory Team on the other side of the Atlantic,” Al Adidi said.
“This title is good for Victory Team and for me personally as I can now proudly say I am a world champion. This world title is perhaps the best that has happened for me and for the team. This is the just the beginning for us all. I promise to work hard and bring even more titles home.”
1. Victory 3 — 102 points
2. 222 Offshore — 97
3. Miss Geico — 80
4. Lucas Oil/Silverhook — 25
5. Victory 33 — 12
6. Zabo Racing — 7
7. Stotler — 7