This past February 1st was Superbowl Sunday in the States, which is nearly its own holiday in many households. While the rest of the nation is buried in snow, beneath Florida’s iconic Skyway Bridge this past Sunday was an accumulation of jet ski hotheads brought together for the single purpose of teaching and learning the ins and outs of PWC racing.
Thanks to the efforts of Brad Clark and Brent Venderley of Kaotik Products and IJSBA-sanctioned Region 7 Hydrocross Racing (together with the Jetski Junkies Jet Ski Club), a showcase showdown of pro and amateur racers, rec riders and youth gathered with the interest in learning what it takes to become a circuit PWC racer. Nobly dubbed the “Free Open Track Day,” the day’s event allowed PWC enthusiasts from all walks of life to come out in play.
The day did start off very windy, but soon settled down and sunny skies, 75-degree temperatures and a long high tide in Tampa Bay made for a perfect track day. The day kicked off with lunch, which was graciously supplied by the Watercraft Superstore (WCSS) and hand-delivered by WCSS’ own Carrie Sinwelski who spent the day hanging with all of us, discussing traction mats, custom seats and more.
After lunch, the buoys were dropped in and it was time to warm up! All the top 4-stroke runabouts from Kawasaki, Yamaha and Sea-Doo were there in addition to plenty of standups, ‘Blasters and more, a complete measure of jet skis graced the Skyway Beach. Two types of races were held, closed course and an island endurance race.
For those of you not familiar with closed course racing, a track of buoys was laid out for the racers to weave in and out of for stated amount of time or laps. On this day, it was 5 laps and the skis were categorized by either type or engine size so the standups and ‘Blasters ran together and then the runabouts together.
The island endurance race was a simple 2 lap, 20-mile, WOT run out under the Skyway Bridge around the fishing pier up the Intra Coastal Waterway cutting back into Tampa Bay finishing at the Skyway Beach. The closed course racing was awesome to watch, the location was prime for all the spectators who made their way off I-275 to watch all the awesome fun racing and stand up flipping taking place.
The day ended with a great raffle with products donated by Kaotik products, PWC Muscle, SeaDooForum, Watercraft Superstore, WCP, Fulmer Helmets and more. Well over thousand dollars in products were raffled off and everyone who bought a ticket won a prize! Everyone walked away from this experience with smiles on their faces and the anticipation of the next open track day.
All images courtesy of Kenny Gore and Carrie Sinwelski. Video by Brad Clark.