Racing Community Mourns Sudden Loss of Multi-Time Champion Eric Francis


A quote from screenwriter C. Robert Cargill seems sadly poignant: “Not all destinies are fair […] We get the lives we choose, even when we don’t.” The world of professional personal watercraft racing was rocked Saturday night as word spread that Eric “The Eagle” Francis had passed away tragically during the MG (Marie-Galante) Race in Saint-Louis, Guadeloupe earlier that day.

After confirming the news, WCJ issued the following statement: “All of us at The Watercraft Journal are heartsick to learn of the passing of world champion racer, Eric “The Eagle” Francis while competing in Guadalupe this weekend. Eric was one of the hardest-charging racers today, a loving husband to Sophie and a dedicated father, as well as a good friend to so, so many in our sport. Godspeed, Eric.”

As of now, details are slim. The five-time world champion had arrived in Guadalupe with his wife, Sophie and daughter earlier that week. Water conditions were deemed as “moderate” for Saturday. After not checking in for the final stage of the event, a search party was sent. Eric’s undamaged Kawasaki Ultra 310X JetSki was located with Eric found unresponsive a short distance away.

Eric had piloted Kawasaki Ultras as a privateer to global success for half a dozen years before joining the Broward Motorsports Racing Team. In a career wrought with big wins and heated rivalries, Francis bolted into the limelight with a handful of national and world P1 AquaX championships and several visits to Guadalupe for its challenging offshore races.

On the water, Francis was ferocious, determined to prove his mettle. Off the water, Francis was approachable, friendly and welcoming – and slipped effortlessly into the role of a loving husband and father in recent years. In the news’ wake, major racing bodies like ProWatercross, P1 AquaX and the IJSBA have shared their condolences online as well as hundreds of friends and fans.

We may have lost Eric, but The Eagle gained his wings.

Update: Dennis Mack has launched a GoFundMe to raise funds for Eric’s widow, Sophie and their two daughters. Click HERE to donate. A second GoFundMe created by Michelle Petro was launched later, which can be viewed HERE.

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Kevin Shaw

Editor-in-Chief – kevin.shaw@shawgroupmedia.com Kevin Shaw is a decade-long powersports and automotive journalist whose love for things that go too fast has led him to launching The Watercraft Journal. Almost always found with stained hands and dirt under his fingernails, Kevin has an eye for the technical while keeping a eye out for beautiful photography and a great story.

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