Dubai: Victory Team ace Salem Al Adidi is confident his side have invested enough to ensure a favourable result at the season-ending Key West World Championships in the United States next month.
Al Adidi, who teamed up with the experienced Gary Ballough at last weekend’s Super Boat International (SBI) in Clearwater, will be back alongside fellow Class 1 world champion Eisa Al Ali for the season finale – the Key West World Championships – from November 4-11.
"To all of us in the team, that result [at Clearwater] is a consoling thought and we are right now in a position to build on this when we head to Key West."
- Salem Al Adidi | Victory Team ace
“The race last week [in Clearwater] was a great shakedown for us. Not only did we want to know where we stood as a team but we were also keen on making a winning North American debut,” Al Adidi told Gulf News after his return from the US.
“We were competitive and we actually had the opportunity to be on the podium in our very first race in North America. To all of us in the team, that result is a consoling thought and we are right now in a position to build on this when we head to Key West,” he added.
Participating in the penultimate round in Clearwater, Victory Team’s Al Adidi and Ballough in Victory 3 were chasing down DF Young and a third place finish when a stray swimmer forced the midway cancellation of the race.
“We were right there to make a move for a podium spot, and all we needed was a few more laps to make that happen. But then the swimmer decided to intervene and we lost a good opportunity to put the Victory Team right up there,” Al Adidi recounted.
“We were in a position to even lead at the start of the race, but we didn’t have the adequate power to take on main challengers like Miss Geico and Wake Effects. In all probability, we will be in a better position to get the most out of our package when we race in Key West. The race in Clearwater was a bit of a challenge for us considering that we had less horse power on our engines. But this aspect will be sorted out and we hope to be at the top in the final round,” he added.
As per prevailing regulations, engine power of boats should not exceed 3,500 horse power (hp). However, from the 2019 season all boats will be required to cut down and keep their engines to a maximum of 2,200hp.
“We managed to stick around with the big boats despite limitations. I feel we will be much better once everyone lands in Key West for the finale,” he confided.
“This is the first time-ever that Victory Team is participating in North America, and it is our focus to ensure we fly the UAE flag there. I can sense that we can take that next decisive step where we will be able to consolidate on the positives and end at the top of the podium,” Al Adidi added.
Though the series is yet to receive a formal endorsement from world governing body UIM, the Super Boat International (SBI) Championship is the leading North American professional powerboat organisation for Class One powerboats that was founded by John Carbonell nearly three decades ago.
This season’s SBI campaign commenced in Cocoa Beach (May 18-20) before heading off to Michigan City in the first week of August and last weekend’s penultimate round in Clearwater.
“It will be an all-out assault for the top spot in Key West,” Al Adidi shrugged.
“We have nothing to lose really, and everything to gain. Our ultimate aim is to ensure Dubai and the UAE shines bright wherever we travel,” he affirmed.