In Personal Watercraft racing the month of October is the Holy Grail for the IJSBA World Finals in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. This event draws the best riders and fastest equipment from all over the world for a unique, two-moto format to crown a world champion.
Story and Photos: Sydney Sea-Doo
After a one-year break from World Finals competition, 2014 saw James make a return to racing using a new race package manufactured entirely by Sydney Sea-Doo Performance. The company’s objective was to build and campaign a championship-level craft for Pro Open com-petition, using the original supercharger design and complete a season of racing using only one single engine without failure. This approach would add valuable marketing relevance between top-level equipment and the standard customer units sold off the dealership floor. “As a passionate dealership owner I can literally show customers that the Sea-Doo product is reliable with correct maintenance. We use many stan-dard Sea-Doo components and push them to the limit. Next season we will integrate the standard CLCS (Closed Loop Cooling System) on our race engines using cooling products from our sponsor, Gas Imports.”
On Saturday qualifying for Pro Open was positive with James finishing in sixth position. The top eight riders directly transfer from each quali-fier into Sunday’s main event.
Race one on Sunday saw James slot into fifth position on the first lap. Then on approach to turn nine, was tapped in the left rear corner by Factory Kawasaki rider Craig Warner sending the ski into a slide before being heavily T-boned by fellow Sea-Doo rider Erminio Iantosca. Damage to the hull was extensive, forcing water between the carbon fibre layers, dramatically affecting the weight and handling. A brief stop was required into the pit area to remove broken pieces of hull before James rejoined the course to finish in twelfth. With the ski too badly damaged to fight for top honours, James entered the final race as a mere way to enjoy what was otherwise an unfortunate debut.
Tight time constraints before the final round in Thailand mean the team will not have time to repair any damage.
“It was an unusual feeling for me this year; on one hand I was upbeat as we produced a reliable ski that could out-accelerate most guys off the start line, but on the other hand I totally destroyed a brand-new carbon fibre hull. I escaped without injury so that’s the main thing. I wish to sincerely thank my sponsors and supporters who are reading this, we are growing stronger as a company and have great ambitions for the future, so thankyou for being part of this adventure.”
James will now begin to prepare to compete in the Australian National Tour beginning February 2015 in Perth, Western Australia.