Keeping Pace

ABRA Series Drivers Ready For Doha

 2009 ABRA Series Drivers - Top row L to R - Ken Muscatel, Gregg Hopp,      Jean Theoret, Jimmy King, Dave Villwock, Steve David Bottom Row - L to R - Brian Perkins, J Michael Kelly, Jeff Bernard, Kip Brown, Mike Webster Photo courtesy of ABRA/Bill Osborne (The Spokesman-Review)
2009 ABRA Series Drivers - Top row L to R - Ken Muscatel, Gregg Hopp, Jean Theoret, Jimmy King, Dave Villwock, Steve David Bottom Row - L to R - Brian Perkins, J Michael Kelly, Jeff Bernard, Kip Brown, Mike Webster Photo courtesy of ABRA/Bill Osborne (The Spokesman-Review)

The drivers of the 2009 ABRA Unlimited Hydroplane Racing Series are preparing for the longest trip in the modern history of the sport, 7671 miles from the USA to Doha, Qatar.

Courtesy: ABRA Media Relations

The drivers of the 2009 ABRA Unlimited Hydroplane Racing Series are preparing for the longest trip in the modern history of the sport, 7671 miles from the USA to Doha, Qatar.

The trip will involve a major shift in time zones and cultures, and for some, a chance at the 2009 ABRA and UIM World Chamionships.

Steve David, Driver of the U-1 Oh Boy! Oberto is the defending National High Point Champion, and leads the series in 2009 High Points.

He feels the new surroundings will serve as somewhat of an equalizer.  "Normally, the drivers with more experience have a bit of an advantage on the courses we race on in the USA," said David. "They know the nuances and characteristics of the courses better than drivers who haven't seen them as often.  Doha Bay will be new to all of us, so that advantage goes away."

He is also excited about the cultural opportunity, pointing out, "With everything going on in the world today, I think it's great that we get to see and meet these people where they live, in their home and culture.  After meeting Sheikh Hassan in Seattle, you realize that you have a lot in common even though you live half a world apart.  We have a great opportunity to be ambassadors for our country and our sport."

Jeff Bernard, Driver of the U-5 Formulaboats.com won the final event on the North American portion of the schedule, Thunder on the Ohio in Evansville, and moved into second place in the 2009 High Point Standings.  Bernard sees the trip as an opportunity  to gain ground on David, and a shot at the championship.

"In many ways, it's just another race, " said Bernard, "and I'm glad we have it after Evansville.  It gives us a chance to gain points and maybe even earn enough to be U-1.  But my international travels have been limited to Canada and Mexico, so the series and the Oryx Cup are giving me a great chance to see another part of the World.  It will be quite an experince visiting the Middle East.  I hope it all goes well and we can go back many times."




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Keeping Pace

Motorsports correspondent Doug Pace keeps up with motorsports news and notes from around the region.







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