West Coast Championship closed course PWC racing returned to The Blue Water Resort & Casino on May 5th and 6th. One hundred and twenty entries in 26 classes of IJSBA-sanctioned closed course racing plus freestyle competition kicked off the start of the 2018 Jettribe Best of the West Series, The Gary Hart Memorial Race presented by Jettrim, Hot Products, Hydro-Turf, Jet Renu, Bomber Eyewear, Kawasaki, Skat-Trak, ProWatercraft, Oakley, Works H20 Designs, JCRacing, 3D Design Concepts and IPD Graphics.
The Parker race is always a highly anticipated event and typically draws the most competition of the season. It’s a fun event to attend because it is in a beautiful location and it is the perfect time of year to go racing. It’s traditionally been held on or around Cinco de Mayo and during the Las Vegas Supercross finals which makes for some great parties on Saturday night. If you weren’t able to make it, we encourage you to check it out and make plans for next year.
Ski Pro-Am GP was stacked this year with 13 of West Coast’s fastest racers all wanting to be on top. Tyron Motzouris launched his Kommander GP1 turbo out front and led the first moto start to finish. Behind Tyron was Preston Matzdorf and Mike “Klipper” Klippenstein. Kole Cramer was making some moves toward the front until he went down entering the outside split and ended up spraining his knee. The second moto started out like a repeat from the first with Tyron jumping out to an early and impressive lead.
Tyron was well on his way to going 1-1 for Saturday until he hit a buoy wide open which sent him swimming. Tyron ended up 8th in moto 2 for 4th overall. Klipper went on to win the second moto and the overall for the day, followed by Preston Matzdorf in second and Blake Wicklund in third. On Sunday, Preston Matzdorf dominated the day going 1-1 for first overall. Kole Cramer showed he was tough enough to bounce back for second overall going 3-2, and Klipper rounded out the top 3 going 2-3 on Sunday.
Most 16 year old girls want a car for their birthday, but River Varner from Riverside, California wanted to go Jet Ski racing. This 16 year old newcomer came out to try her hand racing her new SXR1500. River started riding last summer and has been determined to develop her skillset and be competitive in the 2018 season. She impressed us all as she cleaned house in the Ski Women’s Limited class on Sunday. River is proof that anyone can start from knowing nothing about our sport and dive in head first to win her first race! I have a feeling we will be hearing a lot about this new women’s racer.
Runabout Pro-Am GP was exciting to watch as 2-time world champion Brandon Warner took his ’96 XP with a Mel Miller built 1050 engine and annihilated the competition. When asked how he had such an advantage on these new turbo runabouts, he said, “The power to weight ratio is way off on the new machines for a track like this. They are 300+ horsepower and several hundred pounds heavier than the old XP, which is producing around 220+ horsepower. On tight tracks, this boat really shines.” Brandon’s XP was indeed fast. After winning the first moto on Sunday, he jumped it out of the water, and when he landed, the driveshaft sheered in half at the splines showing the torque of his engine. Luckily Brandon was able to borrow his friend Troy Leseney’s XP for the second moto to secure his sweep for the weekend with a first place overall on both Saturday and Sunday.
Some other notable mentions from the weekend, Julien “JuJu” Beaumer was ridiculously fast on his new Bullet V3 in the new Ski Am Mod Lites class and won every moto. Logan Gasperone and Revin Harris battled in the Blaster Spec class, welcome to the racing scene Logan! And Revin raced 4 classes both days including winning Am Ski Lites. He lapped me, thank you Revin, I was pretty tired come lap 7.
The band start has long been a tradition in PWC racing and still is. However, due to some malfunctions of the band that was experienced on Saturday, many racers requested that Sunday be horn starts. At the riders meeting on Sunday, a poll was taken and it was clear that the majority wanted the horn over the band. It ended up being a class preference if they wanted the horn or the band.
Many racers were heard saying, “The horn is a lot of fun because there is no way to really jump the start,” and nothing to malfunction. The band is great, if it doesn’t malfunction. The band can be dangerous as we saw from the few of us, (including myself), who saw it move and went, only to get close-lined by the malfunctioned band. It also snapped in the starter’s face leaving quite the mark. I think most can agree that between now and round 3 in Lake Elsinore, there needs to be some perfecting of the band.
Special thanks to the whole RPM Racing Enterprises crew who once again put on an amazing event. Thank you to the series sponsors and to all the racers, team members and spectators who attended the event. Come try your hand at West Coast racing as the series moves to Lake Elsinore, California on July 14 & 15, then on to Lake Perris, California on August 11 & 12.