The P1 Aqua X Series had a “make up” round in St. Cloud, Florida for the Amateur racers this past weekend. After the events of Miami and St. Petersburg – dealing with the extreme marine holds – the series felt that it was necessary to add another round for the year so the Amateurs could get some racing in so they could earn points. Since Aqua X has been labeled as a way for Amateurs to race, this seemed like adding a round was a good idea.
There was a good level of participation from the racers for this event with more than 30 racers attending even with World Finals in Lake Havasu getting ready to start this upcoming week. Professional racers Eric Francis and Sophie Francis came to the event to give their support and advise the amateur racers prior to going to Lake Havasu.
The day was set to be extremely hot in St. Cloud on Lake Tohopekaliga, with no rain in the forecast. The racers kicked off the day with the mandatory riders safety briefing. At the briefing it was announced by P1 staff that the issues with marine holds from the previous rounds was addressed and that they have now partnered with a new marine observer crew that would be tested out at the next and final round in Ft. Lauderdale in November. Hopefully this new partnership will be more forgiving with the marine holds and racing will be happening with little to no holds.
Race director Lisa Barsby made the trip from England for this round and went over the rules for racing and what penalties would be given if the rules weren’t adhered to. [Keep in mind, as it would have affect on some of the racing later in the day. –Ed.] The racers all suited up and put their boats in the water and everything was running smoothly. The racers were marshaled out to the course and did their practice laps to get the lay of the course and were then lined up in order at the start. Race control gave a “go” for racing and the green flag was dropped and the racers sped to the first turn buoy.
The racers looked like they took the information by Barsby as it was a clean line start and racing was underway. Taking the hole shot was Jason Taylor on his Sea-Doo RXP-X. Domenico Barilla and Enrique Chia gave chase throughout the race. During the moto, a buoy was missed and Taylor took the penalty buoy along with Barilla. However, the rest of the field didn’t take the penalty buoy. Taylor maintained a 9-second lead over the rest of the pack giving him the win for the first race, followed by Barilla in second and Chia in third.
After a short break for the racers to refuel, it was time for the second race of the day. Again, Taylor would take the hole shot and if he rode like he did, it would be a second win for him. Barilla, Chia, Dave Davidson and Greg Radulski again chased him. Taylor again maintained a sizeable lead and it was looking like Sea-Doo would have their first top podium spot for the year. As the race progressed with just a little under ten minutes left in the race, a racer started to take on water to their Kawasaki JetSki and it began to sink. There was also a separated shoulder injury that took place that caused the safety marshals to attend to.
This caused a shortage of marshals able to maintain a safe course and the red flag and checkered flag was flown ending the second race. Taylor again took the win followed by Barilla, Chia, Dave Davidson and Greg Radulski. After review it was determined that a penalty was assessed to Taylor for another missed buoy and he received a 12-second penalty. This changed the finish order and gave Barilla the win for the second race and Taylor tying with him. It now made it down to the third race of the day to see who would get the top spot on the podium.
After a briefing with the racers by the race director and the safety marshals another orientation lap was given and the racers were lined up for the start. The green flag was dropped and the racers headed to the first buoy. It was Domenico Barilla who got the hole shot as he had the pole position on the start due to his win of the second race. Taylor would have the number two position on the start. Dave Davidson, who would have the fourth position on the start, took the lead during the race due to Barilla having some unforeseen mechanical issues. This was the first time all season that the Amateur racers were racing three races in a single day and it was going to be a challenge.
Davidson held off the pack by getting and maintaining a half course lead over Jason Taylor. It looked like doing a third race in a day was putting Chia to the test as he fell back into the sixth spot causing Radulski to move up to the third position. The checkered flag dropped, giving Davison the win and Taylor coming in second. The racers went through tech and Taylor was DQ’d, causing him to lose all points for the day. This would thereby give Davidson the overall top spot on the podium along with Barilla taking second and Radulski third. Chia grabbed the overall fourth place and missed the podium by one point.
In the 200 Class Jose Gonzalez, Scott Reeves and Amanda LeCheminant would race all three races for the day and finish one two and three giving them the podium spots in their class. It was a great day of Amateur racing and the racers and fans enjoyed themselves. The next and final stop for this year’s race season will be in Fort Lauderdale, Florida on the 17th and 18th of November where not only will the Amateurs be racing but the professional racers will be rejoining the tour. Then we get to see who the top Amateur and Professional will be for the year.