The Hidden Trails Pro Watercross tour wrapped up their National Championships in “Hip, Historic, Almost Heaven,” Charleston, WV. Each tour stop brought added points for each racer as the compete for the Pro Watercross National Championship that would be decided this weekend in August. During the tour series, attrition on machine and racer took its toll and it came down to this National Championship race held on the beautiful banks of the Kanawha River in Charleston, WV.
The weather conditions and the City of Charleston were all accommodating to the weekends motos including a weekend of fun events which brought hundreds of spectators to the venue and help fire up the racers to perform well in front of the crowd. There was also excitement in the race pits as the cameras were rolling and recording segments for the upcoming CBS Sports segment scheduled to air in October.
The weekend also was filled with emotion as Rob Greenwald (sponsored by RIVA and Yamaha Factory Racing), received an award for his retirement after 23 years of racing of which, 20 of those years with the Pro Watercross National Tour and winning Runabout N/A Spec class. Rob holding back the tears, stating he was “Open a new chapter in my life” and made everyone in the crowd feel a little emotional.
The point standings for the Pro Ski GP class were very close. The top points leader up to Round 5 at St. George UT., was Chris MacClugage on his Monster-sponsored Pro Ski, until Macc strained his back while in Doncaster, England, and opted to bow out of the point series to rest up for the Pro Watercross World Championship in Naples, FL in late September.
With Macc out of the points running, there was an open door for Dustin Motzouris on his Kommander sponsored ski, Brock Austin from Bountiful Utah and his Shark Energy sponsored boat, and David Redinger on his Monster and Kommander sponsored ski. The race battles turned out to be also the podium standings as Dustin Motzouris took first overall, Brock Austin taking second, and rounding the Top 3 of the tour points was David Redinger.
The Pro Ski Stock class had plenty of racers and as usual, and Pro Watercross Race Director, Cliff Roy, made the track a challenging, but enabled plenty of opportunities for some clean passing. In the end, Rob Flores on his #88 Yamaha-sponsored ski took first overall for the tour with Mike Wendricks taking second and Chris MacClugage with his Monster Energy sponsored ski taking third.
The runabout classes had battles of their own, but in the end, Abdullah Al-Fadhel out of Kuwait City, Kuwait sponsored by Dean’s Team, Factory Yamaha, and KSR Racing, took the overall Triple Crown first place finishes for the series tour in the Pro-Am Runabout Open, Pro-Am Runabout Super Stock, and Pro-Am Runabout Stock classes. Rounding the fields with Pro-Am Runabout Open was Erminio Iantasca on his Sea-Doo taking second overall and Troy Synder in third.
In the Pro-Am Runabout Super Stock class, Travis Zielasko grabbed a double crown for second overall for the Pro-Am Runabout Super Stock and the Pro-Am Runabout Stock class. Jeff Dyckowski took third overall for the series for the Pro-Am Runabout Super Stock and Troy Snyder walking away third overall in the Pro-Am Runabout Stock class as well.
Billy Dearman from Madison, MS. ironmanned the win for the Pro-Am Runabout Box Stock, taking a first overall in points for the year closely followed by Factory Yamaha-sponsored rider Robert Greenwald and Chriss Saxon from Orange Beach MS.
The Sport GP class had a great number of riders this tour year which surprised many people as this class continues to build in ridership. Overall Kelly Smith on his Fly Racing and Team Faith sponsored boat would take 1st overall for the tour with the ironman, Billy Dearman taking second and Sam Nehme third. We should be seeing more action of the Sport GP class as it sees a revival in the sport.
The crowds were in awe as the Pro Freestyle champions performed this weekend but in the end, Jason Stoyer “The Destroyer” from Clearwater, FL. was crowned the 2015 tour Pro Freestyle champion, second overall but surely not least was Jeremy Parr from Red Oak, TX.
Finally, it was an amazing sweep from possibly the hardest working women’s rider on the tour, Bibi Carmouche, who entered more classes than many would think possible and came out the National Champion in Women’s Ski Limited, Am Ski Limited and Am Ski Open, and even finishing mid-pack in the hyper-competitive Pro Ski GP class.
Bibi stated, “Racing [Pro Ski GP] was definitely one of the hardest things I have done but the progress I saw from my first race to my last is what it’s all about. I have learned so much racing with these guys and I can’t wait to continue growing as a rider and see where it takes me.”
This year’s announcing brought back Dawn Dawson, but unfortunately Mikey Young was absent this year as he was announcing another race and helping promote the Pro Watercross World Championships in Norway. Jason Stoyer assisted on announcing for the weekend and brought a great, colorful commentary on the races. AJ Handler and the Pro Watercross tour staff worked diligently to make the weekend memorable for everyone. Live-streaming the event was Rick Ignacio with an estimated 2000 viewers watching all the action throughout the weekend.
The racing year is not over and the excitement continues with the week long racing for Pro Watercross’ World Championship in Naples, FL. The event will be the first World Championship race for Pro Watercross and racers from around the world are expected to participate. The event site is also the hometown for Sea-Doo-sponsored rider Erminio Iantosca and Monster-sponsored rider Chris MacCluggage, so this should be a very memorable event for their local hometown families.
The Pro Watecross racers, sponsors, fans, and local Naples businesses are all excited for the upcoming Pro Watercross World Championship held September 19 to September 27. Hotels are quickly filling up as the dates draw closer to this historic event. This surely will be a milestone event for Pro Watercross and sport overall. See you in Naples Florida for the Pro Watercross World Championships!