The Watercraft Journal: Congratulations on your recent World Championship at this past World Finals! The Pro Stock class was an exciting one to watch, as there were so many ups and downs! Can you tell us a little bit about how the race went down?
Brian Baldwin: I think the Pro Stock was the most talked about class due to the speeds these boats are running and the skill level of the riders. In the first moto, I was on the outside due to changing the boat from the FX I was riding [borrowing Travis Zielasko’s FZR – Ed.]. There were two false starts, in which even with the jump, I had the hole shot on both.
The third restart, I had the hole shot again with a nice margin but a ferry going by was putting out some 6-foot waves that I hit and launched what seemed to be 100-feet off my course and my teammate Abdullah got by me in the inside, leaving me in third for the moto. In the second moto… I lined up in the same spot and killed the hole shot again, checking out and never looking back. Abdullah finishing second and Aqsa breaking with an electrical issue, and being the Moto One winner, gave me the points to win the World Title.
WCJ: We normally see you aboard your white-and-silver #502 FX SVHO. What brought you to switch over to Travis’ FZR for Pro Stock? Can you tell us about what made this Yamaha a world championship-winning boat?
BB: What made it the world-winning boat? Dean Charrier made it the world-winning boat, he is the undisputed best Yamaha tuner in the world. The FZR is a better handling, lighter boat and I felt the FX SVHO in Havasu wasn’t going to get it done (even though it is a bad ass boat in its own right). The FZR had more speed and snap around the course. Huge thanks to Travis Zielasko for renting me the ski!
WCJ: You shared the podium with two others of your fellow Dean’s Team/RIVA Racing/Factory Yamaha racers. What has it been like to be part of such a team?
BB: We are without a doubt the Dream Team: the best tuner [Dean Charrier], best parts [RIVA Racing], and the best riders [Aero and Aqsa Aswar, Abdullah Al-Fadhel, Mike Klippenstein, Rob Greenwald, Paloma Noceda, etc.]! What else can I say? It is a dream come true.
WCJ: When you’re not on the water, where can we find you? (What can you tell us about your training regimen?)
BB: When I’m not on the water, I’m working at my jet ski shop Champion Powersports (in Denver, North Carolina), or riding at my favorite watering hole – Lake Norman. It’s killer nice and big. My GP class standup (an SX-R with a “mildly built” 1,100 triple) has been my training for the season – who knows? You might see me out there in the [AquaX] Ski class next year.
WCJ: The race season isn’t over for you yet, right? What do you have coming up?
BB: The race season isn’t officially over – we may do the King’s Cup in Thailand and the Peru Jetraid. We will have to see! [Baldwin had just finished third behind Sea-Doo’s Eric Lagopoulos and fellow Dean’s Team Yamaha rider Paloma Noceda in the 2016 AquaX USA 250 Class. -Ed.]
WCJ: Can you tell us what to expect from Brian Baldwin in 2016?
BB: I plan to race the AquaX USA series next year and all the closed course races I can. Yamaha has some exciting stuff coming down the line that I can’t wait to be a part of! [laughs]
WCJ: Alright, here’s your chance to give a big shout out to your sponsors and supporters. Who would you like to thank?
BB: Hands down, I couldn’t have done it without the man, the myth, the legend, Dean Charrier, RIVA Racing and Dave Bambas, Yamaha, Fly Racing, Jetlift, my wife and awesome family!