June 4, 2007 – More World Finals details emerge
June 4, 2007
Filed under Features
The International Jet Sports Boating Association (IJSBA) took advantage of the organization’s May update to clarify a number of questions members have concerning the upcoming 2007 World Finals.
Much of the confusion resulted from the organization’s release in April of the “official” list of classes for the event. No less than 38 race classes are scheduled for the event, in addition to freestyle events in the Pro, Amateur and Juniors ranks. In addition, 11 “drag and oval” events are planned, as are three slalom classes.
The 26th Annual Quakysense World Finals is scheduled Oct. 6-14 at Lake Havasu City’s Crazy Horse Campground in Arizona.
According to IJSBA Managing Director Scott Frazier, the organization continues to field a lot of questions concerning the inclusion of older model 1200 class runabouts. As interested parties have pointed out, this class enjoyed more than a decade’s worth of participation, and hard-core 1200 riders are looking for a way to still compete, without investing a substantial amount of money in new equipment. In response, the IJSBA has indicated that a class will be available in 2007.
“We announced in late 2006 that we would be creating classes that focused on the popular runabouts that were still being used today,” Frazier said. “This is similar to what we did with the 800 class. We don’t want (members) to have to keep spending money on upgrades in order to keep their older PWC competitive.
“We respect that and want to keep it going as long as there is interest. Therefore, we created Classic Runabout classes that have the focus on the 1200cc machines. These are available for both Limited and Superstock divisions.”
The class will not, however, be available for the Pro ranks. “Pros are the best of the best, and a pro rider should be on Pro-level equipment,” Frazier said. “We cannot dilute the Pro classes in the name of inclusion.” Instead, the classes will be aimed at the Novice- and Expert-level competitor.
Pro Classes Defined
Also addressed in Frazier’s update is the situation, and subsequent tension, that currently exists in the Pro classes.
According to Frazier, Pro class competitors seem to be falling along one of two lines, those who contend the class should have little, if any, restrictions on what a rider can campaign, and those who wish to prevent the class from becoming one dominated by those with the money to afford the highest level modifications and equipment.
“Pro-caliber builders want to demonstrate their performance capacities and Pro-caliber competitors want to demonstrate their skill on the highest-performing PWC possible,” Frazier said. “On the other hand, many Pro-caliber riders and builders want to ensure the Pro classes are about rider skill and not rider wealth. They want to keep cost controls, so that a Pro-caliber rider with reasonable resources at his/her disposal can have a shot at the podium without running his checkbook or sponsor dry.”
The IJSBA’s solution has been to divide the pro ranks in two, presenting an Open/Superstock class in both Ski and Runabout that is limited by cost controls, in addition to an elite Invitational (GP) class where more exotic modifications will be allowed. To the IJSBA’s way of thinking, the division will allow the privateer racer to still remain competitive with factory-supported riders in Open/Superstock, while allowing the top-notch competitors and sponsors to push the limits in GP (where a mere one unit must be produced to satisfy homologation rules).
While each will be considered a world championship class and receive coverage on television and the World Finals DVD, the Open/Superstock classes promise to remain the focal point of the IJSBA World Finals weekend. Pro Ski and Pro Runabout titles will come from these classes, and they will retain their “main attraction” billing and coveted Sunday timeslot. The GP classes will compete on Saturday.
As to who those elite riders are who will appear in the GP battle, the IJSBA is encouraging racers to apply for an invitation. Interested racers should be pro-level or elite expert riders and be able to prove they can compete at this highest level both in terms of skill and equipment.
“What we are looking for is a Pro racer — or a very, very good Expert — who has demonstrated remarkable skills on the race course and can prove that their equipment is well maintained, well funded and is of the highest performance caliber,” Frazier said. “Your checkbook alone isn’t going to get you into this class. Fast racers who have Limited Class PWC aren’t going to make the cut, either. You and your PWC need to be the cream of the crop. Extra consideration is given to those applicants who are looking to add to the comprehensive World Finals environment by racing in classes beyond just the GP offerings.”
Both Ski and Runabout GP classes are reportedly about one-third full as of mid-May. Frazier expects the rosters to be complete no later than August. psb