ROUEN, FRANCE - The Shark Racing Team overcame every obstacle that the world's toughest powerboat race could throw at it to finish 7th of 12 entries in Classe 1 at the 24 Hours of Rouen.
The team, which included Herd Racing's Dana Tomes as one of four pilots, was among 32 boats entered in the only 24-hour-long endurance race in powerboating. The race, conducted over three days on the River Siene in Rouen, is known as the toughest event in boating.
"Finishing Rouen is an accomplishment in itself," said Herd Pilot Dana Tomes after the event. "This team that invited me to become part of their program for this race is amazing. They know their sport and have more heart and determination than any team I have ever seen. They would not quit, regardless of how many obstacles we faced."
The team's #47, which included French pilots Romain Nedelec, Jean Francois Nedelec, Max Reguena and nearly 20 team members, ran third and fourth on the water consistently, but suffered breakdowns both Sunday and Monday. Sunday saw two breakdowns for silicone and water in the boat's fuel system. Monday saw two more breakdowns for trim problems. The team lost just over two hours of time on the water during the 24-hour event.
"Had we been able to run without any problems we could have logged enough laps to have been on the podium," Tomes said. "But that's part of endurance racing. The team that has the least problems wins. We would have loved to have finished higher and I think we deserved to have finished higher but I am so proud of the effort this team put forth. They are truly professional in every way."
Tomes said just having the opportunity to participate in the 24 Hours of Rouen was a tremendous opportunity in itself.
"Rouen is a race that every racer wants to participate in at least once in their life," Tomes said. "Very few pilots in America have had the opportunity to have raced at Rouen. It is truly an amazing place to visit. The logistics and organization of this race event is something you won't see anywhere else."
As many as 300,000 spectators attended the three-day race, lining the Siene River's banks and overlooking from bridges along the race course. Daytime temperatures hovered in the 40s and both Sunday and Monday's racing was done during steady rains, winds and even a little sleet.
"Seeing thousands of people standing along the race course with their umbrellas for hour after hour was gratifying," Tomes said. "This race means a lot to France and the people here. I am honored to have been given the opportunity to have participated in it."
The next event for the Shark Racing Team's quest for a 2013 World Endurance Championship takes them to Augustow, Poland in mid July for the second and final round of the two-race UIM World Endurance Series.