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Can Mr Solo wrest its 18th crown?
With 17 titles in 42 years, the six Mr Solos are responsible for the greatest dynasty in Carib Great Race history. When the event takes off from the Hyatt Regency Trinidad this morning, the current version will be the safest bet of the 26 entrants. The team’s most dominant era began in 1999 when in its fifth reincarnation as a 40’ Formula III, it won the event two year’s straight. Returning in 2001 as a 40’ Scism, it captured the title a further five times in succession, and after setting a new record (58 minutes) but placing fifth in 2006, won three more from 2007-2009.
Its Driver Ken Charles and throttleman Darrin Marshall share the record for most individual wins at the Great Race (11) while navigator Gino Fusco has been involved in 10 successful campaigns himself.
Fusco, a self-proclaimed “Irish Trini”, said the secret behind the team’s success was its commitment to doing all the hard work necessary to be the best. “I think its really because of the team effort, preparation, attention to detail and sheer love of racing. Those things come together as a package that make us unbeatable... We’re like a family and have always got along well. Every person knows what his responsibility is so they get down to it and do the job.”
Racing the in the 120mph (M) Class, Solo’s main rivals will be debutante Monster, a 46’ Skater, and Fury, a 41’ Doug Wright. “We have more competition this year, but our chances are always good. [Monster and Fury] have certain advantages: Bigger engines, longer boats, but we have the most experienced team and I think skill will win out in the end.” Fusco added that he was looking forward to racing on the new course, which has been lengthened by approximately 18 miles and will include a circuit in the Gulf of Paria for the M Class. “Anything that prolongs the race will affect the outcome since the likelihood of boats breaking down has increased. I think it will definitely make the race more interesting and hopefully it will even the odds. ”
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