First impressions can often be misleading. That has been the personal experience of many standup riders upon initial meets with the 2017 Kawasaki SX-R 1500 standup. Many claimed the big (551-pounds!) ski big heavy, to long, or just too dang big to really operate like how a standup jet ski “ought to” in their opinion. Thankfully, time on the water and the race course has proven the new SX-R a solid competitor and even has many singing its praises. Some in the aftermarket took to the Kawasaki begrudgingly but have found quite a purposeful machine under the bulky exterior. The hull design pulls heavily from the brand’s line of successful runabouts but also has decades of world championship-winning standup ski experience in there as well.
One aftermarket manufacturer – JC Racing – saw the potential right off of the bat. The small Southern Californian shop has been developing innovative performance products for the PWC industry since first opening up for business in 2014. Helmed by former Best of The West regional champion, Jason Carlton, JC Racing benefits from his 15-plus years of experience as a mechanical engineer and literal rocket scientist, imbuing his products with top level designs. Paired together with over 25 years of powersports racing experience, and JC Racing’s products are built to perfection and to withstand the rigors of a hardcore enthusiast.
Above left: The #219 Mid-Sponson kit comes complete with two billet aluminum sponsons, (4) M6x1 by 25mm-long 316 stainless steel button-head cap screws. Above right: The only tool outlined by JC Racing is a 17/64-inch drill bit to fit the stainless cap screws through the bond flange. We used a sharp-edged etching tool, a hammer and a socket wrench with an Allen socket.
Above left: As per JC Racing’s instructions, we measured from the inside of the rear bumper bond flange to measure off exactly 28-inches. Thankfully, this places our mark exactly at a pre-existing rivet holding on the factory bumper rail. Above right: Using this rivet as our beginning point, we drilled it out with our two bits, exposing a hole through the bond rail (careful not to drill too far in and marring the hull’s gel coat).
Jason took a shine to the new SX-R immediately and has been developing products all year to increase the ski’s balance, handling and cornering prowess. He recently reached out to The Watercraft Journal to test his mid-sponsons on our loaner SX-R and we said we’d give ’em a shot. The installation is remarkably non-invasive (despite using a power drill) and can be reverse with almost zero evidence of any modification having been performed. The tools needed were a hammer, punch, sharp-edged etching tool (or paint marker), an electric drill, a 17/64-inch drill bit and a smaller bit for a pilot hole, and an Allen wrench or socket.
The #219 Mid-Sponson kit comes with a set of mid-sponsons made from billet aluminum, 316 marine-grade stainless steel fasteners, and instructions for the suggested mounting location on your ski. In all, the total installation took less than an hour and that included stopping to take pictures and film the process, which video we’ve included below. In testing these out on the lake, we found the claims by JC Racing to hold true: the rear stayed planted and never broke free, found the ski’s stability (ie. predictability) entering and exiting a turn increased, improved straight-line stability, and generally keep us hooked harder without any added lift to the rear.
Above left: The JC Racing sponsons offer three points of adjustment, per the instructions we started in the middle point and threaded in a stainless cap screw to temporarily place the sponson on the outside of the bond rail, allowing us to mark our forward-most hole location. Above right: With out sponson in place, we found our front hole location and marked the bond rail with our etching tool.
Above left: With our hole location marked, we first used our small bit to drill a pilot hole and then chased it with our larger bit. Above center: With our holes drilled, we mounted the mid-sponson inside of the bond rail and fed the cap screws through the holes, tightening the tapped-and-threaded sponson down. Above right: After finding a position that we preferred, we ran a bead of marine grade silicone along the top edge of the sponson and on the screws where they contacted the hull.
For the paltry cost of $109.99, the added improvements to the ski were significant. Gary Patterson of Team Faith pushed our JC Racing-equipped SX-R even further and echoed our review word-for-word. We believe in JC Racing’s sponsons, and so do they – so much so that they offer a “satisfaction guaranteed” full refund (within 30 days of purchase), which as we can see, is the only such offer in our industry. Here we have provided a quick step-by-step tutorial with high resolution images from which to follow, as well as our review both in written form and in video. And now use coupon code WCJ-20 to take 20% off of these and all JC Racing products! But act now, because it’s only good through 10/9/2017.