The city of St. Cloud, Florida was home to the P1 AquaX tour this past weekend for the fourth round of the race series. Lake Tohopekaliga was a buzz with activity. Due to the increasing popularity of AquaX series, St. Cloud was moved to a regular race site instead of the Finals race site this year.
At the beginning of the day the racers and the race staff were rearing to go and the weather looked pretty good. The first race of the day was the new format of racing that was previously used in Sarasota. It was a staggered start due to the high volume of skis on the water at the same time. This allowed the 300 class to start their race as they normally would. Then there was a 15-to-20 second break before the 250 and 200 class racers started their race.
In the 300 class, the lead was taken by Jason Russo and followed by Blaine Spooner and Eric Francis. It finally looked like the Aswar brothers had their work cut out for them. This trio ran the entire race with Francis and Spooner swapping positions and Russo holding the lead. Then due to mechanical issues, Jason Russo ended his race and the rest of the weekend.
This left the door wide open for Eric Francis to get back on top for the first time this season. Blaine Spooner wasn’t having it and on the final lap of the race and charged hard to overtake Francis for the last 200 feet claiming the first win. The finish was by far one of the closest in the three-year history of the series.
In the 250 class, the usual group of Brian Baldwin, Eric Lagopoulos and Ron Levy battled it out with Brian Baldwin taking the win. Travis Zielasko along with teammate Rob Greenwald battled in the 200 class as they have all season with Zielasko coming away with the win.
While the racers took a break for lunch and prepped for the second race of the day, Mother Nature decided to dampen the event. Florida is known as The Sunshine State but this past month it has been known as “The Rain-Soaked Month.” Since the racers typically get wet while racing, it isn’t an issue but the horn was constantly blaring advising everyone that there was lightning in the area. Central Florida is known as the lightning capital of the world for valid reasons.
Finally, the racers were able to get back out there for race Number Two and get down to business. The Aswar brothers decided to regain their winning ways and got back on top for the second race of the weekend. The real battle was in the 250 class for the second race thanks to Paloma Noceda and Brian Baldwin going at it to end the first day.
Sunday started off with the standup skis and Sport Spec racers going at it. This was the first time that AquaX has allowed the two classes to race at a lake location. It had looked like Kirk Britto was going to come away with the win in the Standup Class easily, but due to mechanicals, Broc Harris took the win with Johnny Smith coming in a close second. In the Sport Spec class, David Gorie was king of the hill and showed that not only does he know how to battle it out in the 250 class but also in the Sport class.
The final race of the day saw Jason Russo, Eric Francis, Erminio Iantosca, and Jeffrey Thorton sit out of the round due to mechanical issues and damage to their skis from Saturday. This left the 300 class in the hands of Aswar brothers and Blaine Spooner.
The Watercraft Journal talked with 250 class racer Ron Levy who said, “[The] third moto, we all missed a buoy, but Baldwin ran out of gas on the back on the last lap putting Paloma in first me in second [in] a photo finish.” Sea-Doo’s Anya Colley finished the podium in third.
The weekend was a total success and all had fun. Now the racers head back home to fix skis, get practice time in and prepare for the next round, which is Cocoa Beach in September.
For all of the results from this past weekend’s AquaX Series in St. Cloud, click the hyperlinks for the 300 class, 250 class and 200 classes. The Ski class and Sport Spec class are also available by clicking the respective hyperlinks.