A Decade of Dedication: 10th Annual 2014 Mark Hahn Memorial Havasu 300

Hundreds came from across the globe to compete in what has become a benchmark in competitive PWC racing.

It was in April of 2004 when regional long distance endurance racer, Mark Hahn passed away during an event in Parker, AZ. To commemorate the fellow racer and dear friend, Yamaha/R&D Racing’s Mike Follmer organized the first ever Mark Hahn Memorial Havasu 300 on the shores of Lake Havasu Island.

Only a couple dozen others joined Follmer that first year, a pale comparison of the 58 multi-person teams that showed for this year’s event, happening a decade later.

Although still winds made for smooth waters, otherwise giving Yamahas and Sea-Doos a clear advantage, it was the larger, big horsepower Kawasaki Ultras who survived the 300-mile enduro.

Although the larger runabouts suck up much of the attention, it’s those riding the smaller standups who truly accomplish a feat of strength, eating up each 10-mile lap.

“Who would’ve thought where we’d be 10 years ago? This event has truly made a mark on the industry – it’s a world recognized event,” Follmer told The Watercraft Journal.

Over 14 nations were represented at this year’s Memorial 300, who lined the shoreline of the Crazy Horse Resort this past February 22nd. “Without our sponsors none of this would’ve been possible. That, and the racers. It’s very impressive how this has become a lifestyle event. Just to finish is an achievement.”

Although finishing the Hahn has its merit, the sport’s very best came from across the globe for a chance at glory, to win outright. Half of last year’s winning Pro Runabout team, 18-time IJSBA champion Chris MacClugage sought the impossible: winning both the Pro Runabout and Ski classes.

When the starting shot was fired, it was France’s Jeremy Portet who impressed, streaking out ahead of the pack like he was given a head start. Russell Marmon and Chris MacClugage soon reeled him in.

The initial dash to the first turn boat is a wild one, as 58 riders fly towards one single point, with the faster units churning up the glass first.

This feat would require an extraordinary amount of training, preparation and planning to coordinate how Macc would trade between a wickedly fast Yamaha FX SVHO and a Bullet Racing V2 standup featuring a Wideboy hull capped with a lightweight deck.

Sporting a Skat-Trak pump and impeller, and powered by a Limited SX-R 800 twin and ADA cylinder head, the crew manning the #3 Bullet included Aaron and Andrew Gewecke in addition to MacClugage.

Chris MacClugage’s plan was so insane it just might’ve worked: Macc entered both Pro Runabout and Pro Ski classes, trading off between team members on two very capable PWC. Unfortunately, during Lap 15, Macc’s wickedly fast SVHO Yamaha broke down, leaving him to refocus on winning Pro Ski.

The tenth annual Hahn 300 brought out some of the biggest names in racing, including Mike Klippenstein who rode his #212 Yamaha SVHO.

The previous Ironman champion from 2012, Russell Marmon, opted to team up with Sylvain Ente. Similarly, last year’s UWP-IJSBA Watercross Tour Stock Class champion Eric Francis paired with Anya Colley, as Canada’s Amy Green joined Lake Havasu local, Eric Burton in the Veterans Class.

“We rode in memory of Myles Andreasen, a young local Havasu resident,” Green explained to The Watercraft Journal. “He passed away last year unexpectedly. So, we rode a Kawi Ultra with Myles’ #331 in his honor.”

Kommander Industries’ Dustin Motzouris partnered with Jared Moore, who rode a Kommander Industries-built, Sea-Doo Centre-powered RXP-X. The two sported all-new Burn Industries gear to boot.

The Mark Hahn Memorial is quite literally won or lost in the pits. Expensive “quick fill” fuel systems are central to clocking competitive pit stop times.

Tony Beck, who worked alongside Andreasen at Walt’s Motorsports, also competed in the Veteran’s class with legendary racer Chris “The Fish” Fischetti.

Craig Warner, who won the Overall championship in 2009 with the complete Kawasaki Racing crew behind him, sought to clench not only the Overall win, but that of Pro Runabout and Ironman simultaneously.

The Hahn’s traditional Le Mans-style start poised the record number of racers along the pebbled shoreline. “Havasu had been pretty flat most of the last couple of months,” Amy Green said. Gentle 3-to-4mph winds did little to stir the still water, promising a very fast race. The standing record stood at 4 hours and 12 minutes (set by Warner). Whether it would remain was on everyone’s mind.

National Tour Stock class champ, Eric Francis, who rode his Monster Energy Kawasaki all the way to a second place behind Marmon and Ente. His place came only through his team and pit crew.

The action on the beach was just as frenetic as it was on the water. The smooth conditions shook out a lot of built skis, shaking the ranks of skis that finished to less than half of the original 58.

The sudden staccato crack of the starting pistol (a 12-guage shotgun) sent them sprinting to their waiting craft. France’s Jeremy Poret would explode from the lineup, distancing himself before Marmon and MacClugage’s wickedly fast Yamaha reeled in his Ultra.

MacClugage’s SVHO quickly devoured the course, greedily chewing up the 10-mile lap and put a 30-second lead on Monster Kawasaki’s Warner, who’s 310R whistled with the banshee cry of a high-spinning turbo.

For lap after consecutive lap, it was between the Yamaha and Kawasaki, with literally a minute’s cushion between them and the rest of the pack. In fact, it would be until MacClugage had completed nearly half of the 300 miles before he would hand over the lead to Warner due to a mechanical. Sadly, Macc’s SVHO wouldn’t be alone. The high speeds led to a gruesome attrition rate.

The new 2014 SVHO-powered Yamahas were on hand in a big way. Dennis Mack’s Stock class FZR wasn’t alone on the field.

Flyin’ Brian Smith tested his mettle, but thankfully didn’t need to change much for the glassy conditions; plugs and add fuel. He joked, “We thought about changing the timing with my pro ignition but we didn’t feel it was necessary.”

Newly relocated Kommander Industries Rockstar Energy racer Dustin Motzouris recalled, “[Because] the water was so smooth we had good top speed but our rev limiter was cutting out on the fuel map and this lost us a ton of time. We also ran out of fuel on [teammate Jared Moore]’s first run, so that set us back too.”

Green likewise underestimated the rate of fuel consumption, “Due to the conditions being so calm, the fuel consumption was at a faster rate than many planned for. There were a dozen boats towed back to the pits after running out of fuel on the track, much more than year’s prior.”

Before the skis hit the water, pit areas were marked and designated for each respective team.

Since it’s beginning 10 years ago, the Mark Hahn Memorial 300 has welcomed hundreds of different competitors from nations around the globe, and there’s no sign that anything will be slowing.

“We had an issue with the back pressure in the quick fill system, and fell a bit short on one of the fuel stops ourselves, so I found myself getting a tow back, too. That cost us quite a few laps and took us out of the 4th place overall position we had been running.”

With fuel being a major concern, Francis and Colley had a quick fill system installed to his ’13 300X by Steve Webster at Kommander Industries. Francis beamed, “We had zero issues and ran a solid race all day and everyone from the pit crew to the riders worked as a team and smoothly.”

There are very few other venues where you’ll find standup racers and runabouts sharing the same track at the same time, especially for over four consecutive hours.

Never without his iconic fishtail mohawk, Chris “The Flying Fish” Fischetti partnered with Tony Beck to dominate the Veterans class aboard a SVHO FX Yamaha.

By the twentieth lap nearly 35 skis out of the original 58 were still running. By the end, the numbers were even fewer. There were even two skis that only made a single lap, one of which being the legendary Tera Laho.

Unique to the Hahn is the pit stop. Each team is required to pull their craft completely out of the water to refuel, and spillage can result in disqualification. Quite literally, the race can be won or lost in the pits. PWCOffshore competitors Mark Gerner and KC Handler enjoyed the benefit from a pit crew who ran like clockwork, recording a near 30-second stop.

Monster Kawasaki racer Craig Warner returned back West from his new home in Georgia to claim not only the Overall win, but both the Pro Runabout and Ironman titles.

Warner continued, “Thanks to my sponsors Monster Energy, Kawasaki, Troy Lee Designs, Hydro-Turf, Skat-Trak, Slippery, Mountain Motorsports, WWR Products, and my family.”

As the timer passed the speed record, it was up to Warner to keep his craft together long enough to turn his lead into a win. And at one minute and 24 seconds past 4 hours and 30 minutes, he did exactly that.

Elated, Warner stated, “I cannot explain how hard it is to get prepared for this race, and everything come together so well. I would like to thank my team for an outstanding performance in the pits and my mechanics setting this PWC up extremely well.”

KC Heidler and Mark Gerner played it safe, and ran a almost completely stock ’14 Ultra 310R hoping that keeping the ski within factory tolerances would ensure zero breakage.

Every year, one of Mark Hahn’s iconic GP Yamahas are raced. This year his son-in-law was honored to ride.

MacClugage, whose Yamaha had been trailered earlier, joined his teammates to bring in their Monster Energy ski in for the win in Pro Ski Open.

Mark Clemons, who alongside John Carter, provided The Watercraft Journal with the awesome photography you see here, had this to say, “Mark Hahn was a personal friend of mine. I raced with him, and spent hours upon hours in his garage just talking racing. I was on the track with him the day he died. It was a tragic day. I lost one of my very best friends.”

But through Mark’s legacy and the friends who knew him in life as well as those who have come to know him, we have all gained new friends, grown together and come to call the Mark Hahn Memorial Havasu 300 one of the greatest traditions in our sport.

It was 10 years ago that the sport of personal watercraft racing lost a good friend and champion. But because of his loss, the sport has grown closer as a community through this event.

Overall results link. By class link.

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Kevin Shaw

Editor-in-Chief – kevin.shaw@shawgroupmedia.com Kevin Shaw is a decade-long powersports and automotive journalist whose love for things that go too fast has led him to launching The Watercraft Journal. Almost always found with stained hands and dirt under his fingernails, Kevin has an eye for the technical while keeping a eye out for beautiful photography and a great story.


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