Dubai: Reigning two-time world champion Shaun Torrente is eager for “some real action” as he awaits the start of the 2020 UIM F1H2O World Powerboat Championship, some time later this summer.
Torrente, who barely made it back home to Miami before the world shut down to arrest the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, has been doing everything possible to be at his best when the season eventually commences.
There have been initial talks for a restart of watersport activities following the opening out of some of the major sporting events especially through Europe. And Torrente, who has had a wonderful opportunity of being with wife Flavia and daughter Isabella during this lockdown period, is hoping F1 powerboating will get under way shortly as well.
“I guess it’s been a good thing to spend so much time with the family. But, I am a professional just like any other sportsperson and my feeling is that I just want to go out there on the water and carry out a job that we all love so much,” Torrente told Gulf News from the US.
“The basic idea would be to compete again. But that’s the biggest challenge at the moment, as there is no competition happening anywhere in the world. We’ve been racing online and stuff like that, but it’s not the actual thing.”
Making his debut in 2007, Torrente is considered one of the most dynamic drivers on the F1 powerboat circuit due to his daring attitude and ability to think out of the box in various situations. His first success on the UIM F1 circuit came in 2013 when he finished runner-up in the standings.
The Miami resident then struggled for a perfect set-up with two back-to-back third place finishes in as many seasons before switching over to the Dubai-based Victory Team. But Team Abu Dhabi came calling and the American flourished picking up his first-ever world crown at the end of 2018 at the season-ending Grand Prix of Sharjah.
Last season, he was challenged all the way but managed to reclaim his world title despite being tied with an identical 79 points with Team Sweden’s Jonas Andersson. “This time has been mentality tough, and despite this I think I have tried to stay pretty much ready for anything that may come up on our schedule. I was all ready to go to Saudi Arabia and start the season in March, and then the world stopped,” Torrente said.
“The most difficult part at the moment is that we don’t know when racing is going to start again. So till then we’ve all got to wait for the medical experts to tell us what to do as we continue staying safe at home before I can have some real action again.”
The 2020 season was scheduled to start with the Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia in Jeddah from March 17-21 followed by two stops in Europe in Portimao, Portugal, and Evian, France, during May and June. The next four races had been planned in Asia with China hosting rounds four and five in September and October before another two rounds in Asia followed by the traditional season finale in Sharjah from December 16-19.
“Honestly, for a day or two after Saudi Arabia didn’t happen, I didn’t know what exactly had hit us all. I didn’t know what to do,” Torrente said.
“Staying home for so long has been strange too. As long as I can remember this has never been the case with me for a long time. Of course, it’s great to be at home with the girls, but at the same time, I feel the need that we should go on with a life that I was so used to. At first, it felt weird as I was so used to coming and going in a rush always. I was always thinking: ‘What we are going to do next, where we are going to test etc, etc.’”
However, after slowly coming to terms with the lockdown, Torrente has been utilising his time. “I went to the gym yesterday for the first time and I found that was amazing. I have to be mentally sharp and tough as the other guys also be equally determined to get going as soon as the signal is given,” he said.
“I’ve had some projects pending and I am working on those now. We don’t know when we can start, but we at least know that we have to prepare and stay prepared. Honestly, I am just waiting to get back into my race boat. When you do something as long as I have been doing this, you get used to that routine and get used to that time frame. I was all geared up for that first race to start my title defence, and then all of a sudden there was nothing.
“I want to go out there and get some real competition.”