This year’s Hydro-Turf US Hydrodrags Nationals said that it was going to be a record-breaking event, one for the books. Days before the event, a few riders were injured testing their PWC making them unable to make it to the event due to minor injuries. Hosted by Mike Young, of H2X Racing, the ‘Drags returned to Tavares, FL where a new ramp was constructed to ease the ins-and-outs of the riders with their trailers. Saturday morning was cloudy with a 90-percent chance of rain, but that didn’t stop the competitors for a chance to prove themselves on the track.
Riders began to hit the water for last minute adjustments and new riders gave the launch pad a break-in after the installment of new green light towers. After a few passes by the riders on the new tree light system, Mike called a riders meeting. It was scheduled that Speed Alley’s Round 1 went first, but instead started with the Box Stock Class. In Box Stock, Christian Figueroa from Dean’s Team on his 2016 Yamaha won first place against Gus Hatzistefanou racing a Yamaha GP1800 for the very first time at the HydroDrags, who took home second place and Scott Rice of Dean’s Team taking third on his GP1800.
Stock Class began with El Tecato from Velocyraptor Performance against Tonito Lopez. El Tecato took the win and moved on to face Angelica Gonzalez, but soon found out why Angelica goes by the name of “The Golden Girl.” Gonzalez took the win putting El Tecato on the losing bracket. A new competitor, Sundaily (sponsored by Chezzy Performance) lined up against one of the strongest competitors in the game, Stan Hightower who took the win and moved on, putting Sundaily on the losing bracket. He quickly lost to El Tecato, who took the win and disqualified Sundaily on his second run of the day.
Tonito Lopez of Dean’s Team moved up on the winning bracket, facing El Tecato giving him his second loss, but Tonito still had to win against Gonzales to get second place – but Angelica, with her experience in the game, managed to beat Tonito right at the finish line, putting Tonito in third place. Stan, with no losses, faced Angelica (who already had one loss against Stan during a previous race). Gonzales won this race against Stan and took home first place, leaving Stan in second and Tonito in third.
Spec Class began soon after with strong competitors and fast skis. With its new class rules, teams have to step it up to keep up with the new innovations. Angelica managed to win first place again against Stan Hightower, Tonito Lopez and Manny Salgado (KRT); while Osmel of OPerformance fetched one loss against Scott Rice, who took two wins against the Chezzy Performance #123 Sea-Doo and El Tecato of Velocyraptor Performance. El Tecato took his first loss when going head-to-head with Scott Rice. Manny, driving the green KRT #17 made it to the Final 3 with only one loss after facing Gonzalez, but afterwards had to face Angelica again to decide between the first and second places. Angelica again took the win on the final race putting Manny Salgado in second place and Kerry Hibdon, with only one loss and one win, in third place, putting Angelica the first place winner of Spec Class.
Right after Spec Class was the Speed Alley. Soon, staff members had all of the competitors on the water. Beginning with Super Stock, Jesse Gonzalez hit 99.3MPH on West Hawkings’ Yamaha GPSHO, followed by Ross Nemo with his custom supercharged Yamaha FZR with a 98.9MPH pass. The moment everyone was waiting for was the Unlimited Speed Alley. The crowd had their phones ready to record history when Uva Perez of Ujet Team ran 122.1MPH. His record didn’t last long as Uva made a second pass of 123.2MPH, breaking his own record twice in the same day. The unbelievable top speed set the world record even higher for others competitors. Jesse Gonzalez took second place with 111.9MPH.
Sunday morning started with the Speed Alley before the water would get any choppier. Super Stock riders got ready to break world records, beginning with Hector Alvarez of CRT driving Lazaro Alonzo’s Yamaha FZR, who broke the record of the fastest supercharged watercraft with a top speed of 106.1MPH on his first pass. Sandor Blanco made the second pass with Alonso’s FZR. Hoping to make better numbers he ran 105.8MPH. Taking the third place with a run of 94.3MPH was Jesse Gonzalez on Wes Hawkins GPSHO.
In Unlimited Class, Uva Perez had everyone hoping he would break his own record of 123.2MPH from Saturday afternoon, but that Sunday morning he ran 115.1MPH leaving everybody surprised. Uva had made his mark and didn’t need to push the ski any further. The day continued with Manny Salgado driving Rayge Sanchez’s ski reaching a top speed of 107MPH. He also took third place with Carlito Del Valle’s Sea-Doo RXP with a speed of 82.3MPH.
Super Stock class began with Kerry Hibdon winning against Scott Rice; Orlando and Jorge (both from the same team) had to face each other on their very first race, with Orlando taking the win. Chezzy Performance with their Sea-Doo #123 broke down after the qualifying pass, unable to continued racing. El Negro from Boosting Performance won against Kerry Hibdon. Angelica Gonzales stepped it up and beat El Negro, putting him in second place. Jorge from OPerformance outdid himself taking the win against El Negro, Manny Salgado and Scott Rice, leaving him in third place. Angelica could not believe it; after beating El Negro on the last race she had won first place in Super Stock.
As Unlimited riders got in to position, it was turbos competing with superchargers. Gus, with his Stock Class GP1800, made it a few rounds, but after facing Ernesto Calas got disqualified. Sandor Blanco of CRT driving Carlos del Valle’s carbon-edition Sea-Doo RXP got thrown off of the ski on the first pass, making him unable to continue. Rauling Cue, also from CRT, was the only one left with a turbo, giving him the advantage. Rauling took the first place home, as Scott came in second after winning against Angelica, who was getting too close to another victory, and Osmel from OPerformance took third place after a close race with Scott Rice.
It was a record-breaking event raising top speeds even higher and breaking the barrier of 120MPH! Congratulations to “The Golden Girl” Angelica Gonzalez for taking home three first places and to her excellent team at Jim’s Performance and family members who are always supporting her; Uva Perez showing the world the unbelievable speeds of 123.2MPH (and we believe he has more in it); Hector Alvarez for breaking the supercharger world record by 106.1MPH – outstanding job! Thank you all the staff members for the excellent work out there, and see you all in November.
Drags Box Stock: 1. Christian Figueroa, 2. Gus Hatzistefanou, 3. Place Scott Rice; Stock: 1. Angelica Gonzalez, 2. Stan Hightower. 3. Tonito Lopez; Spec: 1. Angelica Gonzalez, 2. Kurt Michel Lopez, 3. Kerry Hibdon; Saturday Speed Alley Superstock Speed Alley: 1. Jesse Gonzalez 99.3, 2. Ross Nemo 98.9; Unlimited Speed Alley: 1. Uva Perez 123.2, 2. Jesse Gonzalez 111.9; Drags Super Stock: 1. Angelica Gonzalez, 2. El Negro, 3. Jorge Perera; Unlimited: 1. Raul Cue, 2. Scott Rice, 3. Orlando Riveron; Sunday Speed Alley Superstock: 1. Hector Alverez 106.1, 2. Sandor Blanco 105.8, 3. Jesse Gonzalez 94.3; Unlimited: 1. Uva Perez 115.1, 2. Manny Salgado 107, 3. Manny Salgado 82.3