Collision mars unlimited heat race in Doha

Tri-City Herald news servicesFebruary 9, 2013 

Jon Zimmerman, Steve David, Kip Brown and Jimmy Shane shared a win apiece in the second and third pairs of race heats at the 2013 Oryx Cup UIM World Championship in Doha Bay, Qatar, on Saturday.

The racing timetable was delayed when U-11 Miss Peter & May’s Tom Thompson suffered a broken arm in a spectacular first turn collision with Brian Perkins in U-21 Snoqualmie Casino and had to be rescued from his overturned hydroplane after the first turn of lap two.

“I saw him (Thompson) coming toward me at speed from the inside and there was nothing I could do to get out of the way,” said Perkins, as both boats were eliminated from the rest of the day’s racing.

Jon Zimmerman was a convincing winner of the re-run of heat 2A.

Steve David was handed victory in 2B when Jimmy Shane was penalized for making contact with David’s U-1 Oh Boy! Oberto in the final turn of their thrilling three-lap race.

Kip Brown confirmed his first ever heat win for the Spirit of Qatar Team with a convincing performance at the helm of U-95 in heat 3A.

“It is a great feeling to take my first heat win in the colors of the Spirit of Qatar team here in Doha Bay,” Brown said.

Shane exacted revenge for his second heat disappointment by fending off the determined Steve David challenge in heat 3B, the Maryland driver reaching the finish less than a boat length in front of David’s flying U-1. It meant that each of the day’s four heats had been won by a different driver.

In Heat 2A, J. Michael Kelly managed to hold the inside line for the legal start to heat but got a fierce challenge from Zimmerman in the outside lane. Kip Brown looked to be in the hunt from the outset, but 95 Spirit of Qatar sputtered almost to a halt after the start with engine problems, as Brian Perkins and Tom Thompson became locked in a frantic tussle for third and fourth. Then on, it was all Kip Brown as the 95 driver delighted the home crowd with a convincing performance to take an easy heat win. Kelly came home a distant second and Evans scored vital points for third.

Four rooster tails were closely matched at the end of lap one and Kelly appeared to be edging clear of Zimmerman when Thompson rode up over the back of Perkins’s 21 Snoqualmie Casino on the exit of turn one. The race was immediately red-flagged while officials rescued Thompson from the overturned 11 Miss Peters & May. The driver was brought to the shore by rescue boat and treated by an awaiting ambulance for an elbow injury before leaving for a hospital evaluation. A delay ensued while the remaining boats returned to the pits to re-run the heat later on. Perkins was uninjured in the accident, but the fin and front cowling of 21 suffered substantial damage.

Heat 2A was rerunafter heat 2B and this gave Kip Brown’s team the opportunity to replace the poorly-performing turbine engine in the 95. “Even before the heat it wasn’t running right,” admitted a team spokesman. “This was the quickest and best option.”

The three surviving boats took the restart, but the contest became a two-boat affair from the start when Brown was alleged to have jumped the gun and was forced to run a penalty lap. Despite holding the inside line into the first turn, Kelly had no answer to Zimmerman down the back straight and the 9 Jones Racing driver kept up his perfect start to the race weekend with a convincing second heat win. Kelly finished second and Brown ran an extra lap to take third.

Steve David, Jimmy Shane, Mark Evans and Ryan Mallow lined up for the start of heat 2B after a one-hour delay and David and Shane hooked up from the start, with Shane taking the inside line and holding the National High Points champion off through the first turn. The pair raced neck-and-neck down the back straight but David had a little extra boat speed and managed to edge in front at the end of lap one. Evans held third and Mallow struggled in fourth.

Shane regrouped over the next lap and they were side-by-side at the end of lap two. Shane held the inside line and a tiny lead down the back straight for the final time. At maximum velocity the pair turned into the final corner and there appeared to a little contact between the 5 and the 1. But Shane managed to hold his line and reach the finish of a thrilling race in front by less than a boat length. Mallow had long since stopped on the near side of the course with technical issues when Evans crossed the finish line in third.

Race officials were forced to take a look at the video of the final corner to decide what course of action to take after the contact between Shane and David. It was decided that Shane was responsible for the incident and a one-minute time penalty dropped him to third and handed the heat win to David.

J. Michael Kelly, Evans and Brown took the start of heat 3A. Mallow was unable to start. Kelly held the inside line into the first turn, but Brown had boat speed on the 37 driver and managed to lead on to the back straight. From then on, it was all Kip Brown as the 95 driver delighted the home crowd with a convincing performance to take an easy heat win. Kelly came home a distant second and Evans scored vital points for third.

Heat 3B promised more good racing, as David, Zimmerman and Shane – the fastest three racers of the weekend so far – took the start in failing light in Doha Bay. All three made a legal start and Shane held the inside line through the first turns and managed to keep a determined David at bay, as Zimmerman slipped behind. Shane maintained a small lead to the finish as David could not keep up his perfect record on the weekend in tact. Shane claimed the heat win and a maximum 400-point score

The fourth set of heats and the 2013 Oryx Cup UIM World Championship final will take place on Tuesday afternoon to coincide with the Qatar National Sports Day.

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