Sharjah: Defending champion Jeremy Perez won a dramatic double as the world champions’ trio of Kevin Reiterer, Emma-Nellie Ortendahl and Rashid Al Mulla signed off in style at the concluding moto of the Grand Prix of Sharjah, the final stop on the 2019 UIM-ABP Aquabike World Championship, on Friday.
A former three-time world champion, Perez was handed his fourth title on a platter when leader Marcus Jorgensen’s ski stopped in its tracks heading into the final lap of the race on Khalid Lagoon.
The 24-year-old rider from Denmark looked headed for a certain world crown in his debut year when his engine just shut off with Perez still chasing the leader more than six seconds off the pace.
“I’m totally gutted at this moment and I don’t want to say anything. The world title was in my hands,” Jorgensen said as he sunk his face on his jet ski.
Perez was elated to have staged a recovery of sorts in the three motos of the Grand Prix of Sharjah. His total of 72 points from three motos was enough to hand him the Grand Prix of Sharjah crown along with a defence of his world title.
“I just couldn’t believe it when I saw Marcus [Jorgensen] stop on the final lap. I have put in a lot of hard work and I think I fully deserve this crown. I knew that I had to follow Marcus and see if I could get past him, and then when he stopped it was a feeling of elation,” the 33-year-old Frenchman said.
“I think I needed the luck today, but there was also a lot of hard work and planning that went into this world title. Next season is going to be interesting with quite a few strong riders coming to the fore. But I will be there with an eye to win next season as well.”
Capping off a perfect weekend were two already crowned world champions — Victory Team’s Kevin Reiterer and Team Abu Dhabi’s Rashid Al Mulla. Both won their last motos to claim maximum 75 points and sign off for the season on a perfect note.
“It’s an amazing feeling to win a Third World title and a fourth crown in Sharjah,” Reiterer said.
“I am actually living my dream. As a youngster I used to have fun on my ski and think that one day I will be a world champion, and today I have already achieved this for a third time.”
Al Mulla’s record was far more impressive as he extended his unbeaten run to 24 motos over 10 grands prix while signing off with a perfect record of maximum 225 points for the season. Italian Roberto Mariani had to settle for the second spot with 192 points, while Russian Sergey Chemezov was third with 171.
Saturday will be the concluding day of the Grand Prix of Sharjah with Team Sweden’s Jonas Andersson chasing his first world title while starting in pole ahead of CTIC F1 Shenzhen China Team’s Philippe Chiappe and Victory Team’s Erik Stark at 4pm.
AB Runabout: 1. Jeremy Perez (France) 159 points; 2. Samuel Johansson (Sweden) 149; 3. Marcus Jorgensen (Sweden) 140
AB Ski Division Me: 1. Kevin Reiterer (Austria) 297 points; 2. Stian Schjetlein (Norway) 179; 3. Axel Courtois (France) 176
AB Ski Division Women: 1. Emma-Nellie Ortendahl (Sweden) 289 points; 2. Jonna Borgstrom (Sweden) 245; 3. Estelle Poret (France) 221
AB Freestyle: 1. Rashid Al Mulla (UAE) 225 points; 2. Roberto Mariani (Italy) 192; 3. Sergey Chemezov (Russia) 171