Diego ~ Terry Rinker won his first National Championship for the
AMSOIL/Rinker/Blackhawk team by a convincing margin. Rinker went
into the San Diego "Thunderboat Regatta" with a dominant
192 point lead. Still, Rinker needed to qualify strong and make
yesterday's final to capture the overall Champ Boat championship.
By finishing first in the second of two qualifying rounds on Saturday,
the title was all but secure. Rinker only needed to leave the
dock in Sunday's final to win his first national Formula One title.
"I'd have pushed his boat off the dock if I'd had to,"
said Crew Chief James Chambers.
In a 50-lap final on Mission Bay which saw plenty of see-saw
action, Rinker finished a very strong, but conservative, third
place. It was his fifth podium finish in six events, but more
importantly, it emphatically sealed the deal and the 2003 Champ
Boat national crown. "We couldn't have done it without the
support of our sponsors like AMSOIL," Rinker told the crowd.
His margin of victory was 197 points in the end. Rinker had been
a bride's maid before in national competition. Most recently,
he was leading last year's Formula One PROP tour series until
the season finale at Cypress Gardens where he flipped his canary-yellow
tunnel hull boat after hitting a dock. Rinker plans one more competition
yet this year in Florida before returning to the shop to begin
work on next year. He expects the off-season to be short, but
he plans to savor the victory. According to Rinker, "We'll
have a lot of work ahead of us, but it's better to go into the
next season as number one instead of working from behind."