Villwock, U-16 Ellstrom Elam Plus finish third in Oryx Cup

Auburn’s Dave Villwock and the U-16 Ellstrom Elam Plus unlimited hydroplane racing team overcame engine difficulty and choppy water to finish third at the inaugural Oryx Cup in Doha, Qatar last weekend.

Villwock came into the final race as the favorite against Puyallup-based driver J. Michael Kelly in the U-7 Graham Trucking boat and Steve David in the U-1 Oh Boy! Oberto hydro.

Although Villwock managed to hold off Kelly until the final lap, the U-16 began to compression stall, and a yellow flame was visible from the tailpipe.

David and the U-1 came away from the first international hydroplane race with enough points to sock away the team high-point championship with 7,970 points, as well as the driver high-point title.

The U-16 was second in the team competition with 7,735, and Villwock was third in the drivers standings with 7,564 points.

Villwock posted the highest speed on the course at 146.427 mph in qualifying.

The Oryx Cup marks the newly-renamed H1 Unlimited hydroplane racing organization’s first international race, designed to keep the sport alive by introducing it to a whole new audience.

“I think it’s exciting for everybody to go to a new place and present ourselves to a whole new public,” Villwock said in a pre-race interview. “It’s a unique opportunity in the history of this sport.”

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