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28 October 2014

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Bjorn Gjelston and Steve Curtis
Bjorn Gjelston and Steve Curtis

Curtis wins 8th world title

By Tony Husband in Dubai
Hampshire's Steve Curtis clinched an unprecedented 8th world powerboat title in a dramatic finale to the Class One Series in Dubai.

On one of the wettest days in recent history in the United Arab Emirates, Curtis, and his team mate Bjorn Rune Gjelston, played the tactical game perfectly, leaving championship rivals onboard Victory 77 trailing in their wake.

Spirit of Norway
Spirit of Norway

After their worst pole position finish in five years, coupled with difficult driving conditions, the mood among Norwegian and English fans had been tense.

However their 13 metre dual-engine catamaran moved into the lead in lap ten off the waters of the Mina Seyahi beach, and they never looked back.

Victory 77 suffered from a poor start and at one point trailed Spirit by 60 seconds, and although the Dubai based team closed the gap to 15 seconds, they rarely threatened to pass Curtis and Gjelston.

The win completes an up and down year for the Spirit team. They were certainties for the world championship earlier in the series, but saw their championship lead erode in recent races.

Their response today in front of thousands of rain soaked spectators, proved they're perhaps a class apart in the world of class one.

"It's fantastic - we had a terrible 10 days and it was always going to be down to us and Victory 77 - they did a really straight race.  But we're obviously thrilled to bits - it's a shame it's raining for the party!."

Class 1 is the Formula 1 of the powerboating world with 2-man teams taking part in offshore races in state-of-the-art 42-foot powerboats which can hit speeds exceeding 160 mph.

Hamble-based Steve Curtis, 42, began his racing career on dry land, becoming a schoolboy and junior motocross champion in England. He moved to the United States to race powerboats in 1982, returning to compete in Europe in 1992. Outside the cockpit, he is involved in raceboat construction and design.

His achievement in winning the Class 1 World Championship a record seven times was recognised earlier this year when he was awarded the MBE for 'services to sport' in the Queen's 80th Birthday Honours List.

last updated: 05/12/06
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Andy Woolgar
Congratulations Steve for a marvellous achievement. I work in a sport much like yours, (Le Mans Series Sports car racing) which is much underrated and always overlooked when it comes to recognition for achievements on a world scale. Keep up the grat work and good luck for the 2007 season.

Keith Sparks
Ian is correct. Why did Steve not even get a mention after all of his accoplishments this year? Steve also won the US Championship in 2006.

Keith Sparks
Steve should be UK sport person of the year. In addition to the Class 1 achivement, he also won the championship in the USA this year undoutebly making him the best powerboat driver in the World.

Ian Swinney
Why isn't Steve Curtis even mentioned, let alone invited, to the BBC Sports Personality of the Year? Surely 8 times World Champion is one better than a certain German gentleman...

Lisa Goldsmith
Well done Steve! We're all bloody proud of you. BBC Sports Personality of the Year next year??

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