Britain's Steve Curtis and Norwegian Bjorn Gjelstentook took the lead in the world Class 1 offshore championship on 21 July when they won the British Grand Prix off Plymouth.
Britain’s Steve Curtis and Norwegian Bjorn Gjelstentook took the lead in the world Class 1 offshore championship on 21 July when they won the British Grand Prix off Plymouth.
Driving the Lamborghini-powered Spirit of Norway, the pair more than made up for their disappointment at Plymouth last year when they lost the lead after missing a vital course marker. Although they led from start to finish the contest was no walkover.
Held in calm conditions, they were challenged over the 112-mile multi-lap course off Plymouth Hoe by the UAE entered Victory 7 (Victory/Lamborghini) driven by Ali Nasser and Ali Al Qama. Although the Anglo-Norwegian pairing built up a 15 second lead at the halfway mark, this slowly slipped back to six seconds as the leaders began lapping the back-markers in the closing stages.
With a winning average of 125mph the high pace made it a race of attrition. Australian Bill Barry-Cotter who finished fourth in Riviera (Tencara/Detroit) only managed 13 laps but this was better than some.
Veteran Italian Edoardo Polli in Highlander (Victory/Seatek) was another hopeful who couldn’t last the distance while Norwegian Andreas Ove Ugland retired yet again with electronic problems aboard Jotun (Tencara/Seatek).
The result gives Curtis and Gjelsten a total of 52 points in the championship. They now head the series two points ahead of Nasser and Al Qama after Victory 7 stayed the course to finish second. Defending champion Saeed Al Tayer eventually filled third slot in Victory 1 (Victory/Lamborghini) but is now 13 points off the top slot.
The result capped an extremely successful weekend for Curtis and Gjelsten. They set the fastest time in the pre-race speed trials in the pole championship 24 hours earlier. This added to their overall score in this division giving them a total of 60 points, 21 points ahead of their nearest pole rivals, Al Tayer and Mohammed Al Marri in Victory 1.