Villwock Tops in Oryx Qualifying - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Villwock Tops in Oryx Qualifying

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DOHA, Qatar (November 19, 2009) - Dave Villwock (Auburn, Wash.) in the U-16 Ellstrom Elam Plus raced around the two-mile course at Doha Bay at an average speed of 146.427 mph (235.651 km/h) to claim the top qualifying position for the 2009 Oryx Cup UIM World Championship, the final stop on the newly renamed H1 Unlimited series.

The Washington State driver is chasing his 60th victory in unlimited hydroplane racing, a number that will put him within two wins of the late Bill Muncey, the most successful unlimited hydroplane racer inthe sport’s history in terms of race wins.

Standing in Villwock’s way is Steve David (Lighthouse Pt., Fla.) in the U-1 Oh Boy! Oberto. The defending National High Points champion finished second on the qualification ladder with a speed of 145.096 mph (233.509 km/h). The Oberto hull has a 660 point lead over the orange and blue Ellstrom hydroplane in the 2009 team High Point standings.

Jeff Bernard (Kent, Wash.), currently second in the National High points chase, in the U-5 could only manage the sixth qualification spot with a speed of 126.957 mph (204.317 km/h).

The three leaders in the High Points chase will face off head-to-head in Heat 1B, scheduled for 1:30 p.m. (GMT +3).

Jean Theoret in the U-37 Peters & May Racing finished the qualification session in third place with an average speed of 137.654 (221.533 km/h). J. Michael Kelly in the U-7 Graham Trucking followed in fourth, turning 135.320 mph (217.776 km/h).

Brian Perkins struggled with a lack of power in the U-48 Go Fast Turn Left managing a best lap of 124.776 (200.808 km/h), good for seventh position trailing Nate Brown in the U-17 Our Gang Racing 134.386 mph (216.273 km/h) and Bernard.

Rookie Mike Webster couldn’t break the 200 kilometers per hour mark, settling in at 192.877 or 119.848 mph. Ken Muscatel in the U-25 Superior Racing received a fuel flow violation and did not record a qualification speed.

The wind, at times causing havoc on Doha Bay, died down completely during the final 30 minutes of the qualifying session, but Greg Hopp was unable to get the U-100 Leland Racing started.

History in the making

Jeff Bernard and Dave Villwock were the first two racers on to Doha Bay at the start of the Unlimited testing session and duly created apiece of history by being the first two Hydroplane drivers to take to a stretch of water east of Florida and outside the Americas with their
H1 Unlimited hulls.

“It is a beautiful setting here and a perfect place for a race course,” enthused David. “I had to pinch ourselves when I actually hit the water for the first time today. The last race was over 7,000 miles away and the race in Qatar will decide the outcome of the championship. We will be running slightly tighter into the corners here and a bit closer together, but it should be a great two days’ of racing if we can avoid getting any salt in the turbine engines.”

It was also announced in Doha on Thursday morning that the name of the Unlimited Hydroplane series has been changed to H1 Unlimited (formerly the American Boat Racing Association or ABRA) with immediate effect. This is to cater for the fact that the series has expanded outside the United States, with Qatar the first name on a calendar that chairman Sam Cole hopes to expand still further in the near future.

“Our racing series long ago accomplished the mission implied by our old name and with the beginning of the racing series internationally we need a name that more closely represents our new global reach,” said Sam Cole, Chairman of H1 Unlimited.