XCAT Gold Coast GP in Australia got to race day: and only current Series leaders XDubai could come between the home team and victory, with the Italians of Six completing the podium in third.
Taking on the fourth round of the UIM XCAT World Series, on the Gold Coast in Australia, XDubai produced another flawless performance to lead from the start and cross the line first, with Gold Coast Australia second and Six third.
Arif Al Zaffain and Nadir bin Hendi started the race in Pole Position and powered straight to the front. Their only hiccup came when Victory teammates Salem Al Adidi and Eisa Al Ali flipped their Dubai boat for the second time in two days and the race was red flagged.
XDubai made no mistakes at the restart, however, and maintained their lead in the then-shortened race to take maximum points and extend their lead at the top of the Series standings.
Right after the celebrations, Bin Hendi said: “We were taking it easy and didn’t push like crazy but as soon as we saw the Gold Coast boat were getting closer we were pushing it. I think it’s a very good thing for the Gold Coast having the Australians coming second. It’s good for the whole country.” Some arrogance was then natural from the pilot who has won the 2014 championship with a clean sweep: “Anybody can challenge us but we are always there on top.”
The home racers were thrilled with their second spot. There were some nervous moments, however, when Tom Barry-Cotter and teammate Ross Willaton realized their engine was giving trouble during the period when the race was suspended.
“We smashed the left engine when we did a big jump before the restart … there were a few moments when we thought we may have to retire, but the engines restarted and we kept going so we were thankful for that.
Speaking about achieving the podium spot, Barry-Cotter added: “It’s a massive weight off our shoulders and to see what this means to myself, the whole team, friends and family, the whole city is just amazing. I couldn’t be happier.
“It gives us a lot of confidence going into the next race and shows that we are really here to mean business and to be serious. We’ve got a lot of confidence going in but a lot of work ahead,” he added.
The Six boat of Tomaso Polli and Matteo Nicolini produced another very good performance to finish in third spot after starting the race in seventh. “It was a great race,” enthused Polli afterwards. “Our boat was perfect: the balance, the props, even the top speed where we normally have issues.
“We are especially happy for the overall Series standings, as we are fighting with Abu Dhabi for second spot and we finished much better than them today.”
Six have closed the gap significantly on Team Abu Dhabi as they’re now just five points behind them in third spot. Abu Dhabi are second with 108 points with XDubai way out in front with 131.
Meanwhile, Gold Coast mayor Tom Tate was delighted with the event which attracted over 20,000 spectators to Doug Jennings Park. He said that the Australian race will stay on the calendar “As long as I’m mayor”, as it was successful in every way and everybody (local hosts, drivers, supporters, public) loved it.
It would be good to see a powerboating offshore championship really go worldwide in the years to come.