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Ragworm sponsored Bobkat hull will make its debut in the South African Trans Agulhas Challenge
Selio believes he will be the biggest challenge to that of the CTIC China Team next season
A dramatic race in Sharjah caps the 2014 season
Following on from our article the UIM Executive Committee have now issued their findings
Sami Selio finishes fourth in today's qualifying
Chiappe and Carella in the top 3, while Torrente can only place 5th

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20-Dec-14 20:35
Ragworm sponsored Bobkat hull will make its debut in the South African Trans Agulhas Challenge
John Moore

A Bobkat racing in the UK ThunderCat series - Photo: Chris Davies

The Trans Agulhas Challenge starts on the 28th of December from Plettenberg Bay, South Africa and ends on 1st January on the Strand Beach next to the Blue Reef Restaurant which lies on the False Bay coastline.

This historic race billed as the 'World's Toughest Inflatable Boat Challenge' has been run for over 25 years and is rightly known to be the most extreme powerboat race in the world as the teams have to battle high winds and massive surf conditions every day.

Each day starts off a beach and heads out through the surf line and ends with the teams having to do a surf heat at the finish of each leg when they are really exhausted from the long haul of approx. 200 kilometres. 

This year there are around 40 entries and most are really experienced surf competitors who have done this event before with a number of novice teams entered for the first time

There are 3 classes of ThunderCats being Stock, Pro Stock and Modified with other larger RIB classes sporting 1.3L and 2L engines.

With support from Ragworm Printed Circuit Boards, and Majengo Developments, UK based South African Grant Harrison has entered a Bobkat ThunderCat hull. 

Bobkat race boat designs have dominated offshore racing for many years in South Africa since 1967, due to the design genius of the motor racing and boat racing legend Bob van Niekerk being the man behind the innovative designs and South African offshore racing champion and long time offshore racing driver Grant Harrison being behind racing and promoting the brand worldwide.

One of the first Bobkat’s, Meteor 111, was raced by Bob van Niekerk in the 1969 Cowes Torquay Race and was one of the very first offshore racing catamarans ever to compete in this world famous event, so the little Bobkat Thundercat has massive history behind it. Bob van Niekerk is well known for his design of the GSM Dart and Flamingo sports cars of the late 50’s and early 60’s and for his chassis design work with Colin Chapman of Lotus and Sir David Brown of Aston Martin.

The other well known South African and another protégé of Bob van Niekerk involved with the Bobkat brand along with Grant Harrison, is the world famous motorcycle designer and ex Ducati head of design Pierre Terblanche so the brand certainly has credibility and kudos.

The Bobkat hull will make its debut in the Trans Agulhas along with established manufacturers Gemini, Ceasar, Aquirius, Infanta and Thundercat, with top South African driver Dreyer van Niekerk and the experienced Co-pilot Dian Beyers crewing the boat.

Dreyer van Niekerk has competed 15 times in a row in this event and won the Trans Agulhas four times and is a four times South African ThunderCat Champion and an ex ThunderCat World Champion. Van Niekerk is considered the strong man of the sport and known in the ThunderCat racing fraternity to be as tough as they come, when the conditions are really rough and surf very big, and with the Bobkat known to perform best in these type of sea conditions, they are being taken very seriously for a podium place.

The fully sponsored Bobkat works team have had a new Tohatsu engine flown over from the UK, prepared by legendary offshore driver and engineer Geoff Purves. The propellers have been worked by Dave Harwood of Steel Developments in the UK, and although the team in South Africa have not had sufficient time to complete setting up and propeller work with the new Bobkat, they are very impressed with the result they had in their first race in South Africa, which was the last race of the South African season, with them finishing 2nd overall.

The team will be flying the Raceboat International logo on the boat, and are committed to promoting our magazine to powerboat racing enthusiasts in South Africa along the route to Cape Town.

19-Dec-14 15:07
Selio believes he will be the biggest challenge to that of the CTIC China Team next season
Chris Davies

Selio believes he will be the biggest challenge to that of the CTIC China Team next season Photo: Vittorio Ubertone

The biggest smile of the day might have belonged to Philippe Chiappe, after securing his first F1H2O World Championship Drivers title but there was an equally large one on the face of Sami Selio, the lead driver in the Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team. 

As Selio stepped ashore, following his fourth place finish in the Grand Prix of Sharjah, he knew that he had just climbed out of a raceboat that he believes will be the biggest challenge to that of the CTIC China Team next season.

“Normally when you swap raceboats mid season there are just some subtle changes made” said Selio. “This new boat is radically different to the one I started the year with. The old one we knew was a guaranteed race winner having taken the top spot at last years Abu Dhabi Grand Prix but such is the pace of development in this championship if you snooze you loose.”

With testing time limited due to the raceboats being shipped between Grand Prix venues Selio has had very little seat time to fine tune his latest Italian built Baba hull but with the team now setting up a testing facility in Abu Dhabi they can now concentrate on getting the perfect propeller – boat balance set up before the 2015 season commences in Qatar next March.

As to today’s Grand Prix, Selio, who is the undisputed past master of the Khalid Lagoon circuit, knew all the hard work had been done during yesterday’s qualifying and that once Chiappe had established a lead only a mechanical failure would deny the French man his first F1H2O world title. “If you look at the results of the time trials these guys are only separated by fractions of a second, yet they all use different engine tuners and race for different raceboat manufactures. Moore, DAC, Molgaard and BaBa filled the first four places on the start grid. The fact they are so close is purely down to the skill of the drivers, and that’s why each year this championship gets tougher to win.”

With it being so tight around the 2225 metre circuit, whoever made it out of the first turn leading the field would always be hard to beat and as they all safely negotiated the first turn mark it was the pole sitter Chiappe out in front. Torrente from the Qatar team had backed off from the front runners after he was squeezed in the start shoot by Ahmed Al Hameli but he was then able to take a tighter turn around that first mark allowing him to past Selio in the process. “Torrente was pushing really hard today” said Selio. “I knew he would be fired up after his disappointing performance yesterday. As the race went on he made his DAC very wide down the straights so I just dropped back because I knew there would be some restart opportunity in this race.” 

Sure enough it wasn’t long before the yellow flags came out, followed by the pace-boat. It was Selio’s team-mate Filip Roms who had broken down at the second mark. A throttle cable linkage had snapped which meant the young Finnish driver picked up his first DNF of the year.

In the restart both Selio and Torrente managed to get past Jonas Andersson, who soon after retired back to the pits. Just one more restart followed after Kuwait’s Youssef Al-Rubayan flipped his boat on lap fifteen, bringing out the pace-boat once again while his stricken DAC hull was removed from the course.

With over half the Grand Prix completed it soon began to settle down with no one able to catch the fast charging Chiappe and after thirty seven laps had been completed he made powerboat racing history by becoming the first Frenchman to win the F1H2O World Championship title.

For Selio and his Mad-Croc Baba Racing Team there was the consolation of taking third place in the 2014 Team Championship, a feat they are very proud of considering the well funded teams that finished ahead of them. Selio knows that what they lack in budget will be more than made up by a strong team spirit and a huge amount of hard work.

19-Dec-14 13:13
A dramatic race in Sharjah caps the 2014 season
David Sewell

2014 UIM World F1H2O Champion - Philippe Chiappe Photo: Vittorio Ubertone

The 2014 GP of Sharjah was without doubt, the most dramatic and exciting race this season, or any other season come to that. 

Only 3 points separated Philippe Chiappe and reigning champion Alex Carella before the race and victory for the Frenchman driving for Team China was essential as had Carella won, the Italian pilot racing in Qatar colours would have retained his title by 2 points. 

Little did it matter as Chiappe won by a country mile -Subject to any protests with Carella in the runner up berth and American Shaun Torrente also in Qatar colours filling third place ahead of Finland's Mad Croc Sami Selio.

However it was not all plain sailing for Chiappe as firstly the yellow flags were raised on lap ten when Mad Croc Filip Roms stopped on the racing line and five laps later the pace boat was out again when Team Atlantic's Kuwaiti pilot Youseef Al Rubayan flipped over. 

Despite the fleet bunching up, Carella was unable to pass Chiappe and the celebrations from Team China were so well deserved when Chiappe passed the chequered flag. He had broken a three year stranglehold of the world crown by The Qatar Team and became the first Frenchman to win the UIM World F1 title.

The Qatar Team did however win the 2014 UIM F1 H2O Teams' Championship and Khalid bin Arhama Al-Kuwari, head of formula racing at the Qatar Marine Sports Federation (QMSF) reflected, “It was a disappointing day but we cannot win this title every year."

“It was a tough race. Philippe was very fast and we were not able to close him down. Shaun did well to get back from fifth to third, but it was not to be. Now we will go away for the winter break, assess everything and come back stronger and more determined to win back the title in 2015.”

Gold Medal - Philippe Chiappe

Silver Medal - Alex Carella  

Bronze Medal - Shaun Torrente

19-Dec-14 11:33
Following on from our article the UIM Executive Committee have now issued their findings
John Moore

The UIM have now made their findings public - Photo: Tim Tapping

Following on from our article, "Victory breakdown - Was it sabotage?" LINK the UIM Executive Committee have now issued their findings and penalties following the complaint made by the Victory Team against Luca Formilli Fendi (Fendi Racing Team Owner) Claudio Baglioni (Fendi Racing engineer).

The grounds for the complaint;

On 18th October 2014 on the occasion of the UIM Class 1 event in Terracina / Italy the Plaintiff filed a complaint with the UIM Commissioner.

The Plaintiff had detected an intruder by a surveillance camera who manipulated the drop boxes (transmissions) of the plaintiffs boat no 3. The plaintiff identified the intruder as the Defendant #1 who was the crew chief of the Defendant #2. Upon inspection of the drop boxes the plaintive detected a considerable amount of a substance that seemed to be abrasive paste. He incurred costs of about 20.000,00 EUR for the disassembly cleaning, exchange of bearings and other parts and the reassembly of the drop boxes said the plaintiff.

In the hearing the video footage of the surveillance camera was inspected.

The Defendant #1 admitted to have poured material in to the drop boxes of boat no 3 of the Plaintiff. He explained that he wanted to destroy the Plaintiff's drop boxes in order to search for revenge for a Plaintiff's behaviour that was unfair according to his perception.

On the occasion of the previous race in Ibiza the Defendant's #2 boat suffered an engine damage that could be fixed and a damage of one drop box that could not be fixed due to missing spare parts. The Plaintiff rejected a request of the Defendant #2 to lease the spare part to him and thus the Defendant #2 could not race on Sunday.

Since the Defendant #2 found that the Defendant #1 would be responsible for the damages, he downgraded him from crew chief to mechanic.

The Defendant #1 said that all this motivated him to commit the act of sabotage.

He confirmed that he acted autonomously and that the Defendant #2 was not informed about this.

The Defendant #1 declared that he regrets what happened and asked the Plaintiff to excuse the damage of the drop boxes. The Defendant #1 furthermore agreed to pay a lump sum of 20.000,00 EUR to the Plaintiff as compensation for their losses.

The Defendant #2 agreed to guarantee this payment upon request of the UIM Executive Committee and a respective agreement was signed with the Plaintiff. He did this without prejudice and without acknowledging any legal obligation but with regard to rule 36.05 paragraph 8 of the UIM C1rules (pg. 431).

The Defendant #2 declared that he was neither involved in any way nor informed about the Defendant's #1 plans. He became only aware about the sabotage when the UIM Commissioner showed him the surveillance video.

By pouring a harmful substance into the Plaintiffs drop boxes the Defendant #1 committed a deliberate act and is thus subject to a penalty according to rule 406.03of the UIM Offshore rules and articles 1.2, 1.4, 2. a) and 3. c) of the UIM Code of Ethics.

The act of sabotage committed by the Defendant #1 is to be characterized as unfair and dangerous to an extremely high degree. Thus the highest penalty as foreseen by the rulebook would be justified in case of the absence of mitigating circumstances. The most severe penalty is the exclusion according to rule 406.09, a lifetime ban from all UIM activities.

By admitting the offence, apologizing and in particular by accepting to pay a lump sum of 20.000,00 EUR to the Plaintiff in order to compensate him from his losses the Defendant #1 created mitigating circumstances that need to be considered. Thus the Hearing Panel finds a prolonged suspension of 5 Years according to rule 406.08 of the UIM Offshore rules adequate.

With regard to the Defendant #2 the initial suspicion that he was involved into the act of sabotage could not be established. The Defendant #1 clearly stated that he acted autonomous and without any involvement of the Defendant #2 and that he did not inform the Defendant #2 of his plan to damage the Plaintiff´s boat. Further to the fact that the Defendant #1was a member of the Defendants #2 team there is no evidence for any involvement of the Defendant #2. Thus any involvement of the Defendant #2 could not be established and therefore he bears no personal fault for the infringement.

Nevertheless he is not free of any responsibility.

The responsibility of the team owner for their team's conduct at an event is laid down in paragraph 8 of rule 36.05 part 3 of the UIM C1 rules (pg.431). Rule 36.05 concerns mainly post race technical scrutineering and the responsibility for the technical compliance of a boat. But the last sentence of paragraph 8 concerns the general conduct of the team members. This clause is not limited to the technical compliance of a race boat but intends to put the burden being responsible for the general behaviour of the team members upon the team owner. This becomes clear by the wording which is as follows: “The Owner is also responsible for their teams conduct at an event.”

By using the term “also” the rule makes clear, that a responsibility additional to the responsibility for technical compliance shall be created for the team owner. The addition is the conduct of the team and is to be understood as general behaviour.

This is backed by the spirit of the rules and general legal principles.

This principle can be found even clearer in rule 36.05 of the UIM X Cat rules since the relevant paragraph has an own headline named “Team responsibility. Likewise rule 1300 S 6 c) of the UIM Stock rules determines the responsibility of the team for acts of their members.

It is a general principle of law that an entity is in general responsible for its members. This is justified by the fact that the entity and likewise the team owner select the persons of their members and direct them how to act and what to do. Furthermore the members act for the benefit and often on behalf of their entity. All other teams in involved persons can be affected by a wrong selection or instruction as this case shows.

As a penalty is not specified for the respective infringement the hearing panel shall choose among possible penalties the most proportional and adequate penaltly (1.2,3.c) of the UIM Code of Ethics, 406.01 Offshore rules).

Of course and since the personal fault of the defendant could not be established, a milder penalty than against Defendant #1 was to be issued against the Defendant #2.

His willingness to guarantee for the payment of 20,000.00 EUR in order to compensate the Plaintiff for his loss is to be taken into account considerably as mitigating circumstance.

On the other hand and further to the loss suffered by the Plaintiff the UIM incurred costs for the hearing as a result of the offence for which Defendant #2 is responsible according to the rules.

Taking into account that the Defendant #2 did not benefit in any way from the act and that he bears no personal fault for the Defendant's #1 offence the imposition of a penalty that affects his chances in the championship seems to be inadequate.

Finding a penalty that compensates the losses suffered by the UIM due to the respective procedure seems to be most fair after all.

Thus a fine of 6,000.00 EUR relative to UIM's cost for the hearing seems to be the fairest penalty against Defendant #2.

In addition it had to be clarified that any reoccurence of similar offences by the Defendant's #2 team will lead to a heavier penalty.


On the basis of the documents, the video received and of the hearing the UIM Executive Committee decided:

1. A prolonged suspension of five years according to article 406.08 of the UIM Offshore rules is imposed against Mr Claudio Baglioni. He is banned from all activities in connection with UIM governed events during this period. He may participate or be a team member in UIM governed activities only after 02nd December 2019.

2. Mr. Luca Formilli Fendi is convicted to pay a fine of 6.000,00 EUR to the UIM.

3. Mr. Luca Formilli Fendi is noticed that UIM will issue a heavier penalty against him if any further offence by a member of his team will occur again.




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