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Published on Mar 12, 2012
SilverHook GP48 seizes Silver Medal!
Six-foot seas, white caps and up to 30 mph winds, stirred an exciting racetrack for the first two rounds of the UIM Endurance World Championship and European Championship Series.
Situated in the Mediterranean just south of Sicily and north of the African coast, Malta has been a focal point for ocean racing for decades. As well as attracting celebrities like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie for their upcoming movie in Malta, the Ocean Grand Prix brought in powerboat racers from Italy, Germany, Ukraine, Great Britain, Belgium, Sweden and the United States.
Saturday morning practice was cut short due to untenable conditions for the safety craft in the high seas but virtually nothing stops the racing in UIM Endurance so in the afternoon even as the winds picked up, the course was set for the first round of racing starting at 4pm. A textbook start unleashed the fleet of racers roaring down the back straightaway heading to the two 90 degree corners, Foxtrot and Golf.
The Scandinavian Offshore Challenge Team's #77 Lucas Oil accelerated to an early lead with #66 edging up on the outside as they headed into the first turn with #33 Furnibo / ING Financial hanging tight on the inside. It seemed evident Silfverberg and Hook in their new SilverHook were taking the conservative approach into the first turn and with very little test time in this newly design race boat, caution was the better part of valor.
Emerging out of the first two turns was #66 Siegfried Greve and Douglas Verbanck with #33 Frank Hemelaer and Pierre Colpin right in their rooster tail. As the pack approached the start finish line, the Sterling powered #77 Lucas Oil SOC made their move and surged to the front of the pack. Silfverberg and Hook held the lead confidently for the first half the race until turn buoy Delta came adrift giving the second place boat #33 time to cut inside and overtake.
While attempting to regain the lead, #77 broke a trim pump losing control of their port trim tab (used to keep the boat level flying in varying seas) along with some electrical systems whose wires got tore out by the carnage. "Basically what happened was the trim motor broke off its mount due to the high G-forces while still tethered by its wires. It was lashing around in the engine compartment like a ninja nunchaku damaging everything in sight!" exclaimed driver Michael Silfverberg.
"Trim tabs on a monohull are an essential control system for flying the boat level and minimizing roll just like on an airplane", explained throttleman Nigel Hook. "Without the hydraulic tabs we lost several miles per hour and the ride became rougher as we rode more on the side" added Hook.
"Ancora in grado di prendere un secondo posto nella sua prima uscita è stata un successo enorme e il nostro post-gara ha rivelato l'ispezione dello scafo. SilverHook era totalmente senza danni, dopo una gara molto ruvida per molto tempo!" commented chief mechanic Franco Galluzzo from Rome.
"I'm thoroughly relieved", shared Hook. "We have been on a well planned, yet extremely tight schedule, and just making this race was a huge effort by everyone on our team!" said Hook. "When we passed the Furnibo Fountain I felt relief. We have a few wrinkles to iron out, but there is no doubt, no doubt at all, we have a winner in SilverHook!"
Sunday's endurance race was triggered early at 2pm as the weather conditions were just as strong and the seas bigger than the day before. "Other race organizations have cancelled races not even as rough as this", Crew Chief, John Cosker was quoted remarking. UIM Endurance series was going to earn its reputation for being the toughest race series on the planet with the marine environment exacting the most brutal test for the machines and men that race in it.
Sunday's green flag saw a similar scene unfold with Belgium #33 screaming out of the first turn just ahead of the #77 with the English duo of Miles Jennings and Drew Langdon in the Silverline Fountain hanging onto the third slot. Before the first lap was done, the new SilverHook GP48 had taken the lead showing its speed on the straightaway.
The #77 Lucas Oil SOC SilverHook GP48 powered by Sterling and owned by the Scandinavian Offshore Challenge Team had to contend with cruising to a hobbled third place after finally succumbing to a failed transmission.
Overall World Championship points for the weekend were as follows: First Place #33 Second Place #77 Third Place # 66