Victory Team
Salem Al Adidi (centre) and Eisa Al Ali (extreme right) celebrate their trophy with chief engineer Luciano Barbati at the end of the first round of the 2019 ABPA Offshore Championship Series held on Cocoa Beach, Florida, late on Sunday. Image Credit: Victory Team

Dubai: The Victory Team pair of Salem Al Adidi and Eisa Al Ali are looking towards consistency, heading into next week’s second round of the ABPA Offshore Championship Series, on Lake Ozark, Missouri.

Al Adidi and Al Ali were in fine form during the season-opening round of the Class 1 powerboat series held on Cocoa Beach, Florida, late on Sunday, as the duo took second spot behind winners James Sheppard and Steve Curtis in their ‘Miss Geico’.

Onboard Victory Team’s Boat No.3, Al Adidi and Al Ali held on against steadily increasing winds, huge waves and chasing competitors to open their account for the season on the North American Class 1 circuit.

Termed ‘Thunder on Cocoa Beach’, the opening race saw Victory Team battle Miss Geico and Darren Nicholson and Giovanni Carpitella in their ‘222 Offshore’ boat even as Jay Johnson and Nigel Hook brought their ‘Lucas Oil’ boat into fourth.

“I think we have every reason to be pleased with the first points of this season. Racing conditions were not easy out there with the winds picking up and the waves increasing. We had our chances, but we decided to preserve the boat and ensure we end up with some points to start the season. I think this was a good decision considering all the circumstances,” Al Adidi told Gulf News after the race.

“Secondly, we were up against some of the best Class 1 drivers, including experienced people like Steve [Curtis] and James [Sheppard] and Gio [Carpitella]. So the idea was to stay safe and get the points,” the Victory Team driver added.

The race got off to a quick start with 222 Offshore forcing their way through to the top.

But with the trio of Victory Team, Miss Geico and Lucas Oil giving chase, Carpitella and Nicholson were unable to handle the pressure while slipping into third by the end of the first lap of 7.4km.

The Victory 3 boat led for much of the second lap when Miss Geico took the outside on turn two for the lead to never look behind for the remainder of the nine-lap competition.

Throttleman Al Ali enjoyed the huge learning curve during the weekend.

“We’ve never been together as a team in a Class 1 boat, so today was huge for us and the team,” Al Ali related.

“Perhaps, we could have pushed a bit harder and got a better result. But then, we always had the next week coming up and it was wise to preserve the boat rather than take unnecessary risks,” he added.

“For sure, Geico will be the one to beat because of their experience. But we can leave that for the next few rounds. This is a rather long championship and we will find a way to get to the top,” he stressed.

The race was followed by the presentation of trophies at the dry pits near Cape Canaveral Tower. The second round of the ABPA Offshore Championship Series will take place on Lake Ozark situated in the Camden and Miller counties from May 30 to June 2.