Right now, if you want to talk about the best jet ski tournament in the world, being a world leader in many aspects, like the most honorable trophy, the biggest number of the teams participating, the highest prize money, the widest broadcasting through many international TV networks, the largest crowd of spectators at the race site, and the most demanding 4-moto racing that allows only the toughest riders to win, there is only one that you can think of: That is this 6 star tournament, King’s Cup – Thai Airways International Jet Ski World Cup 2016 at Pattaya, Thailand.
At this King’s Cup, you can feel the excitement in the atmosphere that you don’t find anywhere else in the world. Despite the recent loss of the nation’s revered ruler, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who passed at the age of 88 after helping unify the nation during his 70-year reign, spectators from all over the world came to visit Pattaya and bought the ticket to watch the game, packing on the stadium. These people were not team crew but they were here because they wanted to cheer for the racers to make a spectacular race for them to witness and enjoy. This is the magnetism of this King’s Cup.
None of the 19 categories was less than sheer excitement. Here are the champions of the 5 Pro categories: Jeremy Poret from France in Pro Ski GP, Ekchon Kingchansil from Thailand in Pro Sport GP, Chaowalit Kuajaroon from Thailand in Pro Runabout 1000 Superstock, Gyorgy Kasza from Hungary in Pro Runabout GP and Taiji Yamamoto from Japan in Pro Freestyle.
In Pro Ski GP, Austria’s Kevin Reiterer suffered both a huge crash and electrical issues throughout his motos, pushing the World Champion further back in the pack. In light of the challenge, he fought back, pushing ahead of Chris MacClugage (USA) and points leader Jeremy Poret (FRA). He was quoted, “Despite my second place finish, it has been an amazing weekend. It was great fun racing and just having a good time pushing myself beyond my limits. That’s the most important for me. The rest will come as it should.“
As mentioned above, Pro Runabout GP was swept by current 2016 IJSBA World Champion Gyorgy Kasza, taking home the $40,000 USD prize. England’s James Bushell pursued the Hungarian, as fellow countryman Phil Pope involved in a huge wreck with Kuwaiti Yousef Alabdulrazzaq, thankfully with none seriously injured. OZPWC questioned Bushell who said, “After winning for the last 2 years I really wanted to win again, but Kasza rode well and his ski suited the flat conditions. I got a win in the second moto when it was rough and managed to pull a half lap lead. I was pleased with the result and we had some great battles. We will work hard and come back stronger next year.”
In the Endurance class, a huge 29 entries boiled down to Australia’s Christian D’Agostin and Russia’s Yury Ryabko in a tight showdown. Every factor was in play, as the Aussie and Rusky battled lap after lap. As it were, D’Agostin’s throttle management is what saved the day, as he nearly ran out of fuel just a few feet from the finish line, barely making it across. Ryabko dialed up the boost in the second moto, but Christian pursued, closing the gap when Yury had to back off to save fuel. The back-to-back wins gave the Australian the top podium spot.
Despite the allure of $14,000 USD in prize money, a scant three entrants in Pro Freestyle were found on the beach. After two rounds, the winner (and with it $8,000 USD) was Japan’s Tauji Yamamoto who bested Elijah Kemnitz from the USA. For the results of other classes, please visit here.
Mr. Parikhet Subsahakarn (Drake), Tournament Director, said “The objective of this tournament is to improve and develop our jet ski sport to be one kind of popular sports. I really believe that jet ski sport can create fun and exciting games like any other sports, but unfortunately the fans do not have much chance to watch the game through international TV networks. This is the reason why we are cooperating with FOX Sports, and having a plan to work with EURO Sports as well. All in all, I want to say ‘thank you’ to everyone who supports this tournament.”
[Special thanks go to Bomb Photography who supplied The Watercraft Journal with the single-largest photo gallery that we’ve ever published. Enjoy these below – and know that all full-sized, original versions are available for purchase HERE – Ed.]