Aussie F1 power boat pilot Grant Trask must be wondering what he has done to deserve the dreadful run of bad luck which has beset the team in their inaugural assault on the F1H20 UIM World Championship.
Grant Trask is the only Australian and the only disabled pilot contesting the 2017 World Championship.
The Grand Prix of Liuzhou – China round of the F1H20 2017 UIM World Championship saw Grant Trask perform well in practice and qualifying.
At this, the fourth round of the championship, Grant Trask had a rock solid set up. He managed to get in more seat time on the Liujiang River course, than at any of the preceding rounds.
Despite the frustration of a busy circuit and less than ideal water conditions, the 28-year-old “Wonder From Down Under” qualified in a respectable pole position #12.
With the qualifying Mercury 2.5 litre EFI race engine fitted, Grant Trask was unable to get a clear run through the qualifying sessions.
However, the team knew that they had a very competitive set up.
With a best lap time of 48.05 in Q2 around the 6-turn 2200 m circuit, there were 11 F1 pilots crammed into a window of less than 2.5 seconds.
Come race day, the run of bad luck kicked in.
During the morning practice session, a piston blew on the race engine.
Although the F1 Atlantic Team swung into action to swap powerheads and run a fresh engine, F1H20 2017 UIM World Championship rules stipulate that an engine change on race day relegates the team to the back of the grid.
Grant Trask started the Grand Prix of Liuzhou – China in pole position #19.
This isn’t the first time that I’ve started at the back end of the grid, so I knew that I had a battle ahead of me.
And battle he did.
Driving more like a veteran of the sport, rather than a first year rookie, Grant Trask powered his way through the field to move from 19th position to seventh place mid-way through the 44 lap GP.
With the engine running strong and set to finish in the top 6, Grant Trask had a huge moment and very nearly crashed out.
A competitor chopped in front of Trask’s DAC hull, making an illegal move by not leaving enough space between race boats.
At speeds of 200 km/h, the infraction resulted in Trask being hit by a huge wall of water with the F1 Team Atlantic hull blasting skywards.
Fortunately, Trask’s experience kicked in and he recovered well from the incident, to regain control of the race boat.
But the incident proved to be pivotal.
By the time Trask was settled and back in the groove, a whole bunch of boats had passed relegating Trask back to 16th position.
To his credit, the Aussie stuck at the task and managed to claw his way back to 13th place by the time he crossed the finish line.
Team boss and Grant’s father, Bob Trask commented after:
It was an enormously difficult race.
Grant drove really well in extremely hot and humid conditions.
Technically we were challenged by running a prop a little too big for the course and one of the injectors was stuck open for the whole race.
This flooded one cylinder and affected acceleration.
This was another tough round for the whole team, but it adds to our bank of experience.
What doesn’t defeat us only makes us stronger and a better outfit for the next round.
The fifth round of the F1H20 UIM World Championship is the Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi – UAE and will be held on December 6th – 8th.