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  # 294
Round Ireland Record - Broken Again
Thurs 15th Oct 09

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Round Ireland Record - Broken Just One Month Later!
On Thursday 15th October, Phillip Fitzgibbon and Mike Shanahan re-claimed the UIM Round Ireland Powerboat Record with a sub 19-hour time in their 7.5m Tornado RIB powered by a single 250hp Suzuki outboard.

Their finishing time was clocked at 18 hours 38 minutes and 50 seconds, which was over 30 minutes faster than Team Pulsar who had broken the record just a month or so earlier, also in a Suzuki powered RIB.

The team took to the water at 1am from Kinsale, Co Cork in Phillip's own boat, which is a 7.5m Tornado RIB called ‘Dreamer' that had been modified by Valentia Island RIBs for the event. It was powered to the finish line in record time by a single Suzuki DF250, which is a 250hp, 3.6 Litre, V6, 4-stroke outboard that is lightweight, fuel-efficient and powerful. Suzuki's advanced variable valve timing gives the DF250 powerful acceleration in the 1500 to 5000 rpm range while a multi-stage induction system provides the most efficient air-flow, for the ultimate in top-end performance – a must for this type of challenge.

Mother Nature was kind to the team as October is not usually known for its calm seas and light winds, but that is exactly what the team got to help them achieve the new record. However, they did not have it all their own way and had to overcome technical difficulties with the steering and the fuel line whilst still trying to keep their speed up during the first leg.

As they passed Rathlin Island during the second leg Phillip needed to get into the console to pump the fuel prime balls again in order to resolve the recurring fuel starvation problem from the under-deck tank, whilst Mike took the helm and kept them going at 40 knots. In doing so Phillip suffered a painful injury to his ribs, which made him even more determined to clinch the record.

In readiness for the final push Mike re-fuelled their deck tank from the spare jerry cans that they were carrying, which was no mean feat as 250 Suzuki horses continued to push them along at 44-45 knots. The team were really going for it and with the weight of the fuel disappearing ‘Dreamer' picked up speed, peaking at about 49 knots.

There was one final twist as the team passed what they thought was the finish line, only to be told that they needed to round a trawler which was another one nautical mile away. Phillip powered up the Suzuki one more time to blast across the official finish line in 18 hours 38 minutes and 50 seconds. 3 minutes and 13 seconds later their fuel finally ran out, but they had done it.

Reflecting on their new record Phillip said, "This is an amazing achievement, though I am sure my body wouldn't agree with me. We are so pleased to have got our record back again, using a boat/engine package that really punches above its weight."

He continued, "The Suzuki outboard was flawless – it sung like a choir of angels all the way round. I have used Suzuki's for leisure and commercial purposes for over 20 years now and can't praise them high enough. The DF250 that powers 'Dreamer' had already done over 200 hours before we set off for this record attempt and I had no qualms about it lasting the distance."

Gareth Lumsdaine, Sales & Marketing Manager for Suzuki GB's Marine Division commented, "We would like to congratulate Phillip and Mike on re-claiming the record. With Team Pulsar also recently using a Suzuki powered RIB for their record attempt, it is clear that the excellent power-to-weight ratio, fuel-efficiency and reliability of the standard Suzuki V6 range makes them an ideal choice for this type of off-shore endurance power boating."

Phillip is also planning to use Suzuki power for the 2010 Round Ireland Offshore Powerboat Race, which is taking place from the 5th to the 12th June.

October 2009