Now that the AWSA’s Hydro-Turf JetJam Racing Series Presented by Bud Light has made its swing out of Arizona and into its first of 3 tour stops in California, the weather made its shift from cooler temps to mid-80’s low 90’s giving all the racers and their family’s a great weekend in the foothills between Bakersfield and Fresno at Lake Success near Porterville, CA.
With all the recent rain and snow the West Coast has received this winter, the lakes have filled up and even as we were at Lake Success, the water rose another 3-5 inches. This was a sight as the last time the JetJam series was visiting this venue, the lake was almost empty and very low!
As I rolled in Saturday morning, coming across the bridge I saw that the buoys were set, the safety staff was on the water conducting practice and the JetJam Red Shirt Crew was all in their positions ready to assist all the racers and their crews. The US Army Corps of Engineers staff was also onsite and were excited to see the most popular event held during the year at Lake Success.
I asked them what they thought and they all said they had requested to work this weekend so they could enjoy a great event! Walking down to the beach, the onsite ambulance staff was under the shade and called an additional ambulance to come enjoy the event as their station was just a couple miles down the road. When the racing started, I also noticed that the areas surrounding the race site started to fill up with day use spectators who had seen all the Bud Light and Hydro-Turf signage that had been placed at the main gate of the lake weeks earlier.
Saturday’s racing saw those fast juniors ripping up the water to start off the day, Jake Pierce on his #88 SX-R 800 take the lead over Dominic Cannady and Justin Navarro. Cooper Schexnyder clocked in to do some work on his #28 and swept both motos over the “Iron Man” Tony Beck. Who not only raced a SX-R 1500, but battled Troy Leseney on their Yamaha GP1800Rs.
Nick Leseney atop his black #33 Sea-Doo XP800 had a great battle with Chris Heppe riding his #73 Judge Motorsports powered Wamilton ‘Blaster and Kyle Cameron battled CJ Fee and Jackie Harden on race prepared Sea-Doo Sparks. Pete Zernik and his #149 Bullet V3 gave the crowd a little show with a very unusual get off on the front stretch, Brady Courson took his Kommander Industries hull to the top spot for the overall!
On Sunday, Mason Courson took his Yamaha SuperJet to victory over a well packed field of talented riders in Ski GP5 Novice. Reese Maricich got to enter his newly acquired SXR1500 and with both moto wins, this may be the ride Reese needs to start seeing the top spot of the podium more often! A crowd favorite to watch on Sunday was the ongoing battle of ‘Blaster vs HX in Sport GP2 Spec with Nick Leseney on the HX, Norm Yee on the ‘Blaster.
These two were neck and neck but ultimately the HX won the battle. Ski V2 650/750 is a fun class to watch as this is a starter class for new racers. Joe Ochoa took first, James Hendry got second and Jared Conder finished up with third. In Vintage X2, 2017 World Champion Tom Yamamoto showed up for Sunday only and walked away with a first over Nic Verdone, Joseph LaPlaca and Kyle Cameron.
As racing finished, awards were presented as well as a Bud Light guitar won by James Hendry during the raffle. The Red Shirt crew had the course removed and the entire site packed away in record time and ready to head home. Special thanks to all the series sponsors, staff, and most of all the racers, crews and families who keep this sport moving along!
All photography provided courtesy of Kenny Wong.