At long last, PWC racing has returned to the Nautical Beachfront Resort in beautiful Lake Havasu City, AZ. There are very few venues that are as deeply rooted in jet ski racing history as the Nautical. Kary Austin stated, “This was a huge goal of Jet Jam Racing from the start to win the Nautical back as a venue and it took many meetings with the Nautical’s awesome staff and Jet Jam Racing’s own Tiffany Taylor to pull all this together.”
This venue played host to some of the greatest events in racing and has seen some of the best of the best racers of the sport. After almost two decades of absence from the Nautical Beachfront Resort, the Jet Jam Red Shirt Crew finally brought racing action back to this location. It honestly is one of the best venues for spectating as well, as the guests had the Naked Turtle Bar with its giant palapa’s to sit under and watch the races.
The riders’ appreciation dinner is where it all started on Friday night before Round One of the Hydro-Turf Jet Jam Tour. It was a jet ski racing family reunion. The racers hadn’t seen each other since last season and it was a homecoming of sorts. The stories were soaring of past seasons, and stories of the off season. The laughs and jokes went on for hours and hours, even though the next day was race day. Most of the riders and staff had to be up early, but that night was a special night to be with race family.
Rounds 1 and 2 set the bar high for the rest of the season. The tight challenging track was the great equalizer in most classes. More than one hole shot was given away in the first split. This track caused the best of the best to rise to the top. We saw in more than one instance, a rider that got a bad start was able to fight back and end up on the podium.
With the volume of riders that showed in most classes, the battles were going on all over the track which made for not only some great racing, but great spectating. In Ski GP2 open, Revin Harris and Theo Beaumer battled back and forth Saturday, but it was Revin that ended up on top of the box. Sunday, Round 2, was a different story with Preston Matzdorff taking the top of the podium with Revin Harris close behind. R/A GP3 saw its own battles, after not getting the best starts on Saturday, David Palmer ended up with the first, and the second going to Colin Richards.
Sunday saw Tony Beck take the win over all followed by the previous day’s winner David Palmer. It was the Ski GP1 Open class that had most of the action though. Tyron Motzouris took a hole shot win both motos on Saturday with his brother Dustin close in tow. But it was Preston Matzdorff taking third that was the one to watch, especially after breaking the hull on his open race boat going over the log jump in Moto One. He was forced to switch to his stock class boat and fight from the back for the rest of the weekend. Sunday was just as exciting if not more. Dustin Motzouris squeaked out the win over Preston Matzdorff who had a very hard-fought battle with Aaron Gewecke with the deciding pass being made on the last lap.
Rounds 3 and 4 were not to be out done. With what was called the best course ever raced by most of the competitors, it laid the ground work for one of the best racing weekends.
All eyes were on the track this weekend with the action mounting from turn to turn. Ski GP2 Women saw Stevie Bascom take the win over Aryana Thayer on Saturday, only to see them switch places on Sunday with Aryana taking the over all just ahead of Stevie. Ski GP3 had its ups and downs. After dislocating his shoulder in practice, Caleb Kile ended up taking a second place to Matt “Happy” Rollings who was running consistently all day. Sunday brought a bit of a different story Caleb Kile took the top spot on the podium with Steve Fitzen so close behind.
Ski GP1 saw a lot of different players on the box between Rounds 3 and 4. Theo Beaumer charged to a first overall win on Saturday, and Mike Klippenstein taking second coming back from a bad first moto finish. Staying consistent all day charging through to a third-place finish was Brock Austin. Sunday saw an up and comer Preston Matzdorff take the top spot with great finishes in both motos, followed in second by Mike Klippenstein, with Aaron Gewecke rounding out the top of the box in third.
Even though the racing out on this track was some of the best we’ve seen at a regional race in years. It’s the racers, the fans, the families, the staff, the venue, that makes these races so great. Without these things we wouldn’t be able to have as much fun as we do. Remember without all the racers, the Red Shirt Crew wouldn’t be putting on all these races. And without the Red Shirt Crew there would be no races, and especially no races at the best venues like the Nautical Beachfront Resort.