MECHANICAL issues just two days before the 52nd edition of the TT Great Race threatened to prevent cousins Micheal and Jason Ross from winning another title in the 80 miles-per-hour (mph) class. Some help from their racing peers not only earned Mobil Outlaw another 80 mph class victory, but they were also the first boat to Store Bay, Tobago, on Saturday morning.
Jason, who was the throttleman, and driver Michael were in a race against the clock as some issues left them scrambling to ensure they were prepared for the annual event.
“We did have a serious mechanical issue this week,” Jason told Newsday.
“Our fuel tank has a racing foam in it and that foam disintegrated on Thursday. They don’t have that foam available in the country, so a couple of the other racers that had old foam sitting down in their shops lent us. We were lucky to get to Tobago because when we reached to Tobago our filter was still filled of foam, but not as much as we would have had if we did not change out the foam so we were lucky.”
The other class winners included Super Tuff (50 mph cruiser class), Limitless (60 mph), Fire Chief II (70 mph), Energiza (95 mph) and Blue Thunder (130 mph).
In the 130 mph class, the fancied Mr Solo did not complete the race. A total of 23 boats started the race and only a few boats did not finish.
It was a staggered start with the slower boats speeding off first from Williams Bay, Chaguaramas.
There was a ten-minute gap between each class with the 50 mph boats the first to hit the water at approximately 7.10 am.
The 80 mph boats started ten minutes before the 95 mph boats and 20 minutes before the 130 mph boats which was enough for Mobil Outlaw to stay ahead of all challengers.
Outlaw has now competed in five Great Races in the 80 mph class, speeding to Tobago first on four occasions.
Discussing the strategy, Jason said Outlaw wanted to stay ahead of the faster boats as long as possible, but they had enough in the tank to arrive first.
“Normally when we run the boat we stick with the class and keep with the class, but this morning we decided we are going to race on our own pace. We wanted to see how much distance we could’ve put on the bigger boats before they passed us, but I guess they did not pass us.”
Around the halfway point Jason said one boat in particular could have prevented them from capturing their first overall title.
“The boat we were really looking out for is Energiza, they were the first boat to Tobago last year.”
Speaking about the conditions, Jason said, “It had its moments. There had some very rough patches and they had some choppy patches. Of course the north coast is never really calm. It did have some challenges on the course.”
The Great Race was originally scheduled to be held on August 22, but because of the covid19 pandemic it was postponed until Saturday.
Great Race enthusiasts still got the opportunity to be involved in the action as a live stream on the TT Powerboat Association's Facebook page was available.
Jason thanked those who made the event possible as it is the 52nd consecutive year the race was held. It is the longest running powerboat event in the world.
“First of all let me say a big hearty thanks to the Ministry of National Security and the Ministry of Health. The association gave them a covid19 plan that we would adhere to...which we did to the tee. Through that plan they allowed us to race the boats. Thank you for that.”
Cruiser (50 mph) Class
1 Super Tuff
2 Dream On Super Muff
3 Jesus Is Coming
60 mph class
3 High Grade
4 Soul Rebel
70 mph class
1 Fire Chief II
2 Extreme Measures
3 Ketch This
80 mph class
1 Mobil Outlaw
2 Hammer Time
3 Blue Ice
5 Hero V
6 Hero III
95 mph class
130 mph class
1 Big Thunder