Hydro Racing

Villwock wins again in San Diego

SAN DIEGO -- Dave Villwock won his second consecutive Air National Guard Championship at San Diego Bayfair on Sunday, sweeping through all of his heats and closing in on his first national championship in four years.

Villwock won for a record ninth time on Mission Bay and as a result his U-96 Spirit of Qatar boat has more wins than any other hull in the sport's history.

Villwock also became the sport's all-time winningest driver earlier this season in Detroit. He has 65 career victories.

"I was just hoping to get one more win on this boat and I didn't know if lady luck would give it to us," Villwock said. "I can't say I wasn't thinking about getting the Ellstrom boat (the team's owner) into the history books."

He left little doubt that the Spirit of Qatar boat would make history in the five-lap final on the 2.5-mile Bill Muncey Memorial Race Course.

Villwock got a strong start and led from start to finish, averaging 154 mph, despite driver Kip Brown pressing him late in the race.

"I think my boat needed another 10 mph out there to catch Dave," Brown said. "He had too much speed for me to pass him."

It appeared the final would be a showdown between Villwock and Steve David.

Both drivers swept through three heats each and in Friday's qualifying they were within 1.5 mph of each other.

But luck played a part in the final.

Lanes were determined by a random draw and David's U-1 Oh Boy! Oberto got an outside lane, while Brown -- in the U-17 Miss Red Dot -- and Villwock occupied the inside lanes.

David started in third place and was never able to make up the ground.

"I said from the beginning that luck was going to have a lot to do with it," David said. "We didn't have the luck going our way in the final."

Villwock and his boat are a rare combination in sports history, both at the top of their sport.

The Ellstrom-built boat has 25 wins and was previously tied with three other hulls before the win Sunday.

While Villwock said the boat, built in 2001, is showing its age, it still can perform.

"I wanted to get the record for the Ellstroms," Villwock said. "Because if they ever build a new one or it gets put aside, I wanted them to have that record."

With the North America leg of the series complete, the tour concludes its season with the world championships in Doha, Qatar, Nov. 17-19.

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