Britain's three-time world offshore champion, Steve Curtis, well and truly buried the jinx which has kept him out of the winning slot this season when he won the Norwegian GP in Arendal on Sunday
Britain’s three-time world offshore champion, Steve Curtis, well and truly buried the jinx which has kept him out of the winning slot this season when he won the Norwegian GP in Arendal on Sunday, July 15.
The fourth round of the world Class I (16 litre) championship, throttleman Curtis with local hero Bjorn Gjelsten aboard Spirit of Norway, thrilled the crowds when they set the fastest lap ever recorded over the 115mile, seven lap Arendal course. But their success was achieved against tremendous odds
Spirit of Norway was almost destroyed in the German GP two weeks earlier and was thought unlikely to compete. Hastily rebuilt, the hull only arrived at the Norwegian race venue two hours before the qualifying trials began the previous day. The pair then went on to set the third fastest speed. Always in contention, Curtis and Gjesten took the lead on the fifth lap after Ken Thorne from Cardiff driving World of Cars crashed.
Thorne and his Italian co-driver, Massimo Lippi, had led from the start, their best performance so far in the series. It was as they approached the rougher section of the race near the lighthouse turn at the top of the course that they barrel-rolled. The full impact was taken on Ken Thorne’s side of the hull which pushed him back through the cockpit bulkhead.
Dubai driver Saeed Al Tayer lying second in Victory 7 behind World of Cars came to an immediate stop to offer assistance and helped Nicolini rescue Thorne who was immediately rushed to hospital. He was found to have suffered little more than a severe bruising but World of Cars was seriously damaged.
Saeed Al Tayer and his co-driver, Mohammed Al Marri, eventually went on to finish fifth but were awarded maximum championship points for their humanitarian actions under rule 206, ‘Assistance in accidents’. This was identical to the outcome of the German GP, the previous round of the series at Travemunde, where they had assisted Italian Edoardo Polli in a similar crash.
Spirit of Norway slowly increased its lead lap by lap over Victory 1, now lying second, driven by points leader Ali Nasser from Dubai. Norwegian Eric Kirkedelen in Jolly Motor lay third.
The winning pair later finished almost ten seconds ahead of the remaining fleet, a result which makes them joint favourites to win the fifth round at Plymouth on July 29.
World Offshore Championship. Round 4 Arendal, Norway
1. Spirit of Norway S.Curtis/B.Gjelsten (GB/Nor) 20pts
2. Victory 1 A.Nasser/A.Al Qamat (UAE) 15pts
3. Jolly Motor E.Kirkedelen/M.Lippi (Nor/Ita) 12pts
World championship positions after four rounds:
1. S.Al Tayer/M.Al Marri (UAE) 52pts
2. A.Nasser/A.Al Qama (UAE) 50pts
3. E.Kirkedelen/M.Lippi (Nor/Ita) 39pts
4. K.Tzanov/V.Polli (UAE/Ita) 23pts
5. B.Gjelsten/S.Curtis (Nor/GB) 20pts
6. K.Thorne/M.Nicolini (GB/Ita) 19pts