Smith closes in on title

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That is the situation after two wins in a row in the three-race competition at Tvedestradd, in Norway.The first win came on Tuesday, the second, over a 99-mile course, was yesterday, and afterwards Smith was delighted with the way both he and navigator David Simpkins had turned the screw.’We’re both feeling very happy,’ he said.

‘The weather conditions favoured us, with waves up to a metre and a half, which slowed the fast cats down.

‘There were three boats together for most of the race, us, Rib Eye and a Swedish catamaran, Karnag, with a season campaigner, Thomas Wrenkler, on board.’It was amazing to see his catamaran going over the top of the waves, but six miles from home I put a surge on, knowing that when there’s no wind under a catamaran’s tunnel, there’s no lift.

‘We accelerated clear and although it was a much closer race than the first, which made the win all the sweeter, we came in first past the line.’Smith’s two wins means he has 810 points (there are 405 for a win, 230 for second place).

Only Karnag, with 535 points, can catch him, and for Wrenkler to win, something disastrous will have to happen on tomorrow’s shorter, 60-mile circuit, where any place in the first five will give Smith the title.’The wind is expected to pick up and it could be even rougher than yesterday, which will suit us,’ he said.

‘This time tactics will play their part.

If Schumacher only had to finish third to win the world championship he wouldn’t risk everything by going out for an out-and-out win.’We aim to conserve the machinery and finish the race.’One of the other, quicker boats, challenging strongly after the first race, New Jeans, owned by an Italian, was not so fortunate yesterday.

They flipped over at the first turn and the driver spent the night in hospital.

And although Smith admits ‘you wouldn’t be human if you weren’t, at times, afraid,’ he has confidence in his navigator (‘we’ve really gelled as a team,’ he said) and his boat, which after minor repairs today, will be in the water for a 2 pm start tomorrow.Smith is loving his racing, and a second world championship would be a late birthday present after he celebrated his 50th birthday on Thursday last week.

Commodore Ferries C54 is competing against another 22 powerboats and crowds of 2,000-plus have been watching them race.

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