As the 2018 season of P1 Aqua X was ready to release their schedule everyone was excited for it get started and taking their racing to Daytona Beach, Florida as it has been for the past five years. To the surprise of the majority of the people instead of Daytona being the first stop on the tour, it showed Miami Florida as the season opener instead and Daytona Beach being completely removed.
The tour chose a historically iconic venue in the Miami marine Stadium, which was located on Key Biscayne. Twenty-five years ago it was a Mecca for boat racing and other events such as the Miss Universe pageant, and concerts. It was slated as an entertainment marvel with the city of Miami in the background. Unfortunately Mother Nature had other plans and Hurricane Andrew, which is known as one of the most catastrophic storms in United States history unleashed her devastation on South Florida. The stadium sustained major damage that can still be seen today. Since then the stadium has only seen Dragon Boat races in front of it and has been home to the Miami International boat show.
Aqua X along with P1 SuperStock would be the return of motor racing to the waters in front of the stadium. The first day of racing had beautiful weather which South Florida is typically known for and the racers were finishing up some last minute tweaks on their machines to get ready for what was scheduled to be an exciting weekend of racing.
The schedule had the day starting off with the P1 SuperStock boats starting. Unfortunately things would not go as smoothly as everyone had anticipated. The day would start off with a marine hold due to wild life in the waters. Due to the stadium’s location leading into a cove there were dolphins, sea turtles and manatees that congregated in the waters. This continued for quite some time and the schedule would have to be revamped. The crowds that gathered still waited patiently with the hopes of seeing some action on the waters. The Jet Surf team, and some BMX riders that performed would entertain them.
Finally things got started with the Sprint classes. In the Spark race it would be Justin Bellinzoni who would take the top spot taking the hole shot and not relinquishing it the entire race. Jason Lester and Eric Gabryel would follow him respectively. Next on the starting line would be the Junior Ski event. As with many years and races in the past it would the dynamic trio of Hayden Skellett, Taylor Skellett, and Sammy Nehme who would race against each other. Hayden would take the win followed by Sammy and then Taylor to round it out.
The Ski Class would be next with David Cabrera taking the win on his Kawasaki SKR. He would beat out Michael Kelberer and taking third would be Kirk Britto. Kirk who had discontinued racing last season due to a shoulder injury said, “The shoulder feels good and I’m glad to be back out there competing.”
The Sport GP race had World Champion Sam Nehme going against the field. As the racers took off from the starting line it was not looking good for Sam as he was working out an issue with his ski. He got it fixed pretty quickly and took off passing many in the field as the race continued. He would get the pass of the weekend by overtaking the lead from Eric Degler on the final buoy going into the start/finish line and the crowd went crazy. Sam would take the win and put Team Broward Motorsports on top. Once again the event was put on hold because of marine life on the course and people were starting to wonder if there would be any more racing for the day.
After a long hold, racing would continue with the Amateur Enduro. It would be Jose Gonzalez who would take the top spot in the 200 Class followed by Scott Reeves and Amanda Lecheminant. The 300 Class would also race but no points were awarded, as they were qualifiers. Again the racing was put on hold because of the marine life on the track and it was announced that the Pros would have to wait till Sunday to race. Miami was starting to have its issues and hopefully racing would go smoother on Sunday.
Sunday arrived and everyone was hoping to get in their races to make up for Saturday and get the right amount of heats in for Sunday. The day would start off with rain and that was always a wrench in how things would go from there. The day would start with the Professionals to do their first moto of the weekend. The crowd had already started to arrive despite the rain. The rain would hold up and the racers would launch their skis. This was a huge line-up, as many world champions would be battling against each other. As the racers were doing their orientation and parade laps thunder and lightning could be seen and it was close to the stadium’s location.
The racers had to put their skis on the small beach area adjacent to the stadium and racing was put on hold due to weather. Finally the all clear was given and the Pros would launch their skis and racing would get underway. The hole shot by Eric Francis on his Yamaha GP1800. Sea-Doo team Extreme rider Erminio Iantosca would chase him on his RXT-X. Iantosca who was still reeling from the loss of his father and biggest supporter three weeks prior wasn’t sure if he would race again. His father would want him to continue racing and make him proud. Iantosca prior to the race would dedicate this season to his dad and family. Francis would take the top spot with Iantosca taking second and Macclugage taking third. With Iantosca taking second it was finally an end of Yamaha’s reign on sweeping the top spots and if it continued their dominance on the podiums as it was in the World finals in Key West in December.
Unfortunately, racing was put on hold again as it had been on Saturday due to a marine hold. When racing continued it would be Sam Nehme taking the top spot in the Sport GP, David Cabrera taking top honors in the Pro Ski Class and Haden Skellett taking the top spot in the Junior Class.
This would end the weekend of racing for the weekend. With only one moto of racing for the pros there was a lot of disappointment by the riders and it is obvious that picking Miami instead of Daytona wasn’t a great move. It will be interesting if going back to Daytona will be in the future plans as it is a lot more forgiving with the holds. Until that decision is made the Pro racers can only look forward to their next round of racing in June in St Petersburg Florida and the amateurs looking forward to their race In St Cloud Florida next month.