Welcome to Round 3 of the P1 AquaX tour and beautiful St. Petersburg, Florida. Round 2 in St. Cloud, Florida was in the past and the racers were ready to get back on the water. This round would be the first time in the 5-year race series that it would grace the shores of St. Pete and it was a welcome venue. The Amateurs who raced Round 2 welcomed back the professionals along with the P1 Superstock race boats for this site.
Prior to this weekend, the overall point totals showed that there was a new Number One racer on the tour for the professionals. Chris MacClugage was named the new world leader coming into the weekend (taking it over from Aero Aswar) and it was going to be interesting as many racers had it set to knock him off the podium.
First up for the weekend was the Amateur class, so the battle for the top spot in the Pros would have to wait just a little bit. The racing started had Enrique Chia taking the hole shot just as he had done in St. Cloud and many wondered if he would gain his second win of the season. Sophie Francis, who in the past races came up just a tiny bit short of getting a podium spot followed Chia. Sophie looked like she was on a mission and took the lead from Chia and held off all the rest of the racers all weekend to claim her very first win in AquaX. With the win she also became the very first female racer to ever win a race in the 300 class, showed that with her husband Eric Francis, that a family who trains together can both get big wins.
In the 250 class, Kevin Sullivan would continue his winning streak for the season and take the first win for the weekend in his class. In the 200 class, we would see Jennifer Nolan take the win over Eric Diaz. After the race, Jennifer was glad for the win but was really tired. A combination of the extreme Florida heat and humidity – along with fighting a severe case of bronchitis, she definitely needed to get as much rest as possible if she was going to finish racing the entire weekend.
Then, the Pros took the water. Many wondered who would come out on top in a field of 25 racers that included numerous world champions. As the race started it was RIVA-sponsored racer Brian Baldwin who grabbed the hole shot and would not relinquish the lead the entire race. Chris MacClugage would try to chase him down but it appeared from the shore that Macc wasn’t charging as fast as he usually does.
Nicholas Rius and Eric Francis were on the hunt; as the race ended it was Macc and Rius following Baldwin. As soon as MacClugage arrived back to the shore, he tore off his race gear and we knew something was going on with him. It turned out that Macc was also battling a severe case of bronchitis and with no wind and the thick Florida humidity; it would be a lot for him (as well as any racer) to endure for 30 minutes.
Race 2 in the Amateur class was up next. After seeing Daytona winner Carlito Del Valle take the win in the 300 class, Kevin Sullivan in the 250 class and Jennifer Nolan in the 200 class, the second Pro moto saw Nicolas Rius take the win in the 300 class followed by Chris MacClugage and Eric Francis, respectively. Day 1 of racing was officially in the books and the racers were pumped up for the Day 2 of racing to get here.
Day 2 arrived and the conditions were a repeat of the previous day with the same high temperatures. Would Chris MacClugage be rested enough from his bronchitis to get a get a win and maintain his number one ranking in the world or would someone else take the win? Racing started with the Amateurs racing again. Cody Tetreault took the win in the 300 class and the Overall win for the weekend. Sophie Francis would follow him for second place and garner her very first podium spot in the series. Following Sophie was Enrique Chia but it wasn’t enough for him to gain points for a podium spot.
In the 250 class, Kevin Sullivan who would get a clean sweep for the weekend and put him at the top podium spot in his class. In the 200 class, Eric Diaz took top honors for the final race of the weekend in the Amateur class. Jennifer Nolan would get the overall top podium spot for the weekend even while fighting bronchitis.
The final race of the weekend had the Pros in Race 3, with Eric Francis taking the win over Chris MacClugage, garnering him a podium spot, and joining his wife Sophie for the weekend. Brian Baldwin would take third place in the final race of the weekend. Due to points, it ended with MacClugage getting the overall top spot (by one point) for the weekend having finished a consistent second in every race. Eric Francis and Brian Baldwin finished tied for the weekend and would have them rounding out the top three. Another race weekend was in the books and the racers said good bye to St. Petersburg and have now set their sights to the next round, which will be only the Pros racing in Sarasota, Florida in July.