Unlimited Hydroplanes shine in the Middle East - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Unlimited Hydroplanes shine in the Middle East

Posted: Updated:

DOHA, Qatar (November 17, 2009) The Oryx Cup race site at Sheraton Park in Doha is beginning to take shape.  In a city skyline where you can count upwards of 30 sky cranes working on high-rise buildings you can triple that count with workers constructing tents and making the area race ready.  All in the shadow of this Middle Eastern shining city.

As the Unlimited Hydroplane mini-city takes shape many of the drivers have been doing their own preparation for the Oryx Cup UIM World Championship, Nov 19-21.

“I have been looking at pictures on the Internet, trying to look where the pits and race course might be,” Brian Perkins (Black Diamond, Wash.) driver of the U-48 Go Fast Turn Left Racing said.

Mike Webster (Reading, Penn.) driver of the U-22 Matrix System Automotive Finishes said he had been sweating bullets waiting for his passport to arrive from the passport office. “I finally got my passport, which at one point seemed to be an alarming issue of getting it in time.”

 Webster applied in late August with his parents.  “My parents got theirs within a month.”  Webster said.  After two weeks of not getting his passport after his parents received theirs he finally heard there was a hold-up.  

“I finally got a letter through snail mail stating they needed more information, I guess they didn't’ feel my urgency,” he said.

 J. Michael Kelly (Puyallup, Wash.), driver of the U-7 Graham Trucking said, “I have been preparing myself for the international travel to Doha by making sure I have any and all credentials taken care of.

 Like Perkins and many other drivers, Webster has spent a good deal of time on Google Earth and reading a few books on international cultures and business.

 U-1 Oh Boy! Oberto driver Steve David (Lighthouse Pt., Fla.) took his research seriously and began studying the history, traditions and the Arabic courtesy of Rosetta Stone, the software for learning various languages.

“It’s a very difficult language to learn.  I think I will be utilizing their money back guarantee, David joked.  He continued, “ I hope they don’t refund me in Riyals,” the Qatari currency.

 Ken Muscatel (Mercer Island, Wash.), driver/co-owner of the U-25 Superior Race Team said he was already prepared.  Muscatel has made two trips this past year to Qatar.

 Muscatel sent crew chief Jay Leckrone (Port Orchard, Wash.) three days earlier than the rest of his team to help in the early setup.

Not all the drivers and crew will be able to take in much if the city.  Because of commitments back in the states several drivers including U-100 Leland Racing’s Greg Hopp (Snohomish, Wash.) will have to make this a quick trip.

“Unfortunately I can’t go early, to race I have to use my vacation time, so I have to save every hour I can,” Hopp said.

Muscatel left Sea-Tac airport on Monday and will arrive in Doha on Tuesday.  He said his time in Doha will be spent at the race course, “I will not have any time for sight seeing even though the Museum of Islamic Art is not too far from the race course.”

No matter how they prepared, the Unlimited Hydroplane teams are ready to share their exciting sport with the rest of the world.

American Boat Racing Association (ABRA) - The American Boat Racing Association (ABRA) is the exclusive promoting organization of Unlimited Hydroplane Racing by the American Power Boat Association. Founded in 2005, ABRA is responsible for overseeing all marketing, administrative, racing and technical aspects of the sport. It is governed by an elected Board of Directors and a Chairman. Under the event sanctions issued by American Power Boat Association, the ABRA conducts the events in its series throughout North America and internationally including the prestigious American Power Boat Association Gold Cup which has been contested for 100 years and is the oldest known motorsports trophy in all of racing.”

Union Internationale Motonautique (UIM) - The Union Internationale Motonautique (UIM) was formed in 1922 and is the world governing body for marine motorsport and is recognized as such by both the General Association of International Sports Federations and the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF) - Established in January 2000.  The attention given by the federation to marine sports stems from the generous support of Emir, H.H. Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, the sponsorship of Heir Apparent, H.H. Sheikh Tamim Bin Harnad Al Thani.

QMSF seeks to develop the sports of power boating in the state of Qatar under the able leadership of its president, Sheikh Hassan Bin Jabor Al Thani, who is the driving force behind this emerging new activity.