Sharjah: Victory Team bagged a record 25th world title when their Austrian pilot Kevin Reiterer powered his way to a clean sweep of the third and final round of UIM-ABP Aquabike World Championship on the Khalid Lagoon on Friday.
A faultless performance from the 26-year-old Reiterer — needing just one point from the third and final moto in Sharjah — saw the Austrian come up with a memorable weekend as he clinched his second world title in the Ski GP Division of the UIM-ABP Aquabike World Championship. Reiterer’s first world title came in 2015, after which he ended 2016 and last year as the runner-up to Bossche.
Reiterer, who has one more year left on his contract with Victory Team, was in a class of his own while finishing 32.76 seconds ahead of outgoing world champion Quinten Bossche, while Frenchman Raphael Maurin came in third and pushed the Belgian champion into third overall this season.
“Some things are meant to be cherished and I am in that situation where I want to enjoy possibly the biggest win of my career. I have made a clean sweep in two of the three events and that has proved how much hard work I’ve put into getting so far,” Reiterer told Gulf News.
“It’s the first year in the aquabikes for Victory Team and we already have one world title. I am sure we can confidently look ahead to many more in the future,” he added.
Reiterer was signed by the Jebel Ali-based outfit on a two-year contract earlier this year to compete and also spearhead a junior development programme that will slowly see the entry of Emirati riders onto the world scene in the near future. “This is the 25th world title and this is truly historic not just for Victory but for all involved in watersports,” Huraiz Bin Huraiz, Chairman of the Board of Directors at Victory Team, noted.
“Today’s triumph will further push us towards finding the right young riders to join our team with an eye on the future. The presence of Kevin in the team will be the focal point as he is meant to guide the young riders as a mentor with his experience as a double world champion,” he added.
Victory Team made its Class One debut way back in 1986, but it was not until 1993 that it won its first world crown. Since then the team has gone to clinch 14 Class One titles while the remaining ten successes came in the Class 2 and XCAT categories. “But this one [aquabikes] is special as it is the first world title for us,” Bin Huraiz said.
Following Team Abu Dhabi rider Rashid Al Mulla’s crowning as world champion in the Freestyle class on Wednesday, there was success for Latvia’s Krista Uzare in the Ski Ladies GP1 as she finished ahead of Sweden’s Emma-Nellie Ortendahl (139 points) and Jasmiin Ypraus of Estonia (93), while Jeremy Perez (156 points) from France took the honours in the Runabout GP1 class ahead of reigning champion Yousuf Al Abdul Razzaq (150) of Kuwait and Lars Akerblom (77) of Sweden.