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spirit of norway, kjell inge røkke, bjørn rune gjelsten, bård eker

CLASS 1 is considered one of the most spectacular motorsports in the world. A Class 1 raceboat is twin-engined and can reach speeds in excess of 257 km/h (160 mph), with V12 engines limited in performance to 850 hp at 7600 rpm and V8 engines limited in performance to 850 hp at 6100 rpm. All boats are limited by a minimum weight of 4950 kg.

While a Class 1 raceboat is highly technical and state-of-the-art, and its overall performance is dependent on design, aero and hydro dynamics, choice of propeller and gear ratio selection, the relationship between driver and throttleman, who navigate and control the power, must provide direct input to adjust trim and drive settings during a race or official qualifying, is ultimately the defining factor and crucial to performance.

Thirty three titles have been won by Americans, 19 by Italians, 15 by competitors from the UAE, eight by Britons, six by Norwegians, two by competitors from Monaco and Puerto Rico and one each by representatives from Brazil, Finland and Saudi Arabia. Five champions have taken their titles as novices in their first season in Class 1 racing and four driver/throttleman partnerships have managed back-to-back titles: Bonomi/Powers in 1973/1974, S Al Tayer/Serralles in 1995/1996, Gjelsten/Curtis in 2002/2003 and Al Zafeen/Bin Hendi in 2009/2010.

Gjelsten and Curtis are the only partnership to win the title five times - including the hat-trick 2002/2003/2004 - and Steve Curtis the only man to clinch the world title eight times. Nadir Bin Hendi is the only other racer to win a hat-trick of World titles. The world title was not awarded in 1990, as a mark of respect for Stefano Casiraghi who died while defending his title in Monaco.

Twenty-three titles have been won in monohulls and 24 in catamarans. Of these winning boats, 35 have been built in GRP, eight in aluminum and four in wood. Petrol engines have powered 40 winners and diesels the remaining seven.

"Spirit of Norway" was a Norwegian boat race team in Class One. The team used Michael Peters-design. The boats were 12.65 meters long and 3.74 meters wide and weighed 4,800 kilograms. They had two pieces Lamborghini SKEMA 8.2 liter V12 engine, which gave 920 horsepower per pack by 8200 rpm. minute, and could do over 140 knots.

The boats were run by Bård Eker, Bjørn Rune Gjelsten and Kjell Inge Røkke. Gjelsten was five times world champion with trottelmann Steve Curtis and Eiker stands with one title. After the 2007 season, the team was closed down after 10 years.

From Norway there have been several boats, "Spirit of Norway" (Bjørn Rune Gjelsten - 5 World titles), "Jotun" (owned by Andreas Ove Ugland), "Welmax 90" and Welmax 91, with the first and only female driver in world, Marit Strømøy, Zabo Racing boat "91 Relekta" and "Hydrolift" which was in competition for a short period of 2004. Kjell Inge Røkke has also been a pilot for Italian owned Jolly Motor.

"Spirit of Norway" - Bård Eker
"Spirit of Norway" - Kjell Inge Røkke
"Spirit of Norway" - Bjørn Rune Gjelsten
"Hydrolift" - Bård Eker
"Jotun" - Andreas Ove Ugland, Inge Brigt Aarbakke, Jørn Tandberg, Christian Zaborowski
"Welmax 90" - Kolbjørn Selmer, Jørn Tandberg
"Welmax 91" - Marit Strømøy
"91 Relekta" - Christian Zaborowski.


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