The Pro Watercross Hidden Trails National Tour in Sparks, Nevada (located at the Sparks Marina Park) was an exciting event and a great way to promote our sport. The lake is normally not open to motorized watercraft, however once a year they make an exception for this race. Sparks, Nevada was the third stop on the Pro Watercross National Tour welcoming support from sponsors such as Hidden Trails Motorsports, Yamaha, Sea-Doo, Optima Racing, Jettrim, Slippery, Goggle Grip, Jet Lift, Solas, Austin-Spencer Repair Center, Jet Renu, and Davis Trailer World.
The course was large and set up left-handed with a split start from the gate. The inside split start was faster than the outside, but once the race was going, the outside split was preferred by most of the racers. The weather was quite varied between the two race days. The first day on Saturday, June 20th, was beautiful, as it was sunny with a slight cloud overcast, and the water smooth and flat. The second day – landing on Father’s Day, Sunday, June 21st – brought raging 30 MPH winds that churned the water to chop with small white caps, making it difficult for every level of racer.
At one point even the announcer Mikey Young took cover as water splashed the announcer’s stand and strong winds whipped through. Later in the day, the wind died down slightly ridding the water of the white caps. In spite of the unfortunate weather and landing on a holiday the second day, there was still a good audience turnout to watch the event.
Although expected to pass on this round, Chris MacClugage made the last minute decision and attended the event, aptly winning both the Pro Ski GP and Pro Ski Stock classes. In both classes, he battled it out to get the win; keeping the audience on the edge of their seats. In Pro Ski GP, Macc fended off Kommander Industries’ riders David Redinger and Dustin Motzouris (who fought for a well-earned second in Pro GP) both riding on new K1 skis in a 16-deep-field.
Fellow Pro Ski racer, Rob Flores passed out after he finished his first race. Evidently, Flores had the flu and was severely dehydrated. He powered through it though, and continued racing for the weekend but definitely didn’t place as well as he has in the past. Another racer who fought through injury was Josh Block, who after he tore a muscle in his arm during qualifying, still killing it out on the course.
A surprise appearance came from Kevin Redinger who made his first appearance since he was injured in a jet ski race and had to have major surgery three years ago. Redinger took first place in Veteran’s class.
The Kommander Industries team welcomed Shante Bukes back from South Africa who made the podium in two classes, Pro Runabout Stock and Pro Runabout Open. Bukes, who competed on a new FZR SVHO Yamaha, placed second in Pro Runabout Stock and third in Open. Pro Runabout Open saw its first win by a Sea-Doo for 2015, thanks to Erminio Iantosca, whose turbocharged RIVA Racing RXP-X bested Abdullah Al-Fadhel and the aforementioned Bukes, respectively.
But Dean’s Team rider Al-Fadhel was not content without a first place position, and rightfully earned his gold in Pro Runabout Stock on his SVHO-powered FZR, with Bukes and Travis Zielasko totaling out the podium (in addition to another first place finish in the Pro-Am Runabout Super Stock class).
Bibi Carmouche once again proved why she is the sport’s most-watched female ski racer, as she clinched not only a first place finish in Womens Ski Limited, but also a strong second place finish in Amateur Ski GP, against Andrew Gewecke who took first and Thomas Pagen in third.
Two freestyle competitors, Tanner Thomas and Chris Anyzeski were on hand for a brief freestyle display. Hailing from opposing sides of the country – Thomas from Alaska and Anyzeski from Florida – the two friends shared Thomas’ ski for the weekend, and were quite entertaining to watch.
The weekend was a huge success for the sponsors, racers and audience members. Dawn Dawson and Mikey Young did a great job of announcing what was happening to the audience. The pro races were available to view on live stream with a link on www.prowatercross.com. The next stop on the tour is St. George, Utah (Round 4) and will be broadcast live for anyone that cannot make it – and of course, recapped here at The Watercraft Journal!