Who: Chris Fischetti
Hometown: Global Aqua Moto headquarters (aka Lake Havasu City, AZ)
Years Riding: Before the words “PWC” or “watercraft” were ever mentioned. And when the only jet skis were JetSkis. When 440/550 standups were the only thing to ride.
Years Racing: Since “Stock 440” was a racing class and Pro Stock 550 could win you $1000 on a weekend!
Recent Races: SurferCross, WORCS Motocross, Hennesseys US Paddleboard Championships, Baja 1000, Barrettt Junction Downhill LongBoard race, Quick-N-Dirty MTB, and the 2014 Mark Hahn 300.
Weapon of Choice: 550 Limited
The Watercraft Journal: Fish, what have you been up to the past few years?
CF: I have been racing everything from standup paddleboards, surfercross, motocross, downhill skateboards, and mountain biking, but there wasn’t any jet ski races that had any rules that my skis could race in – or any that even wanting any of the sport’s veterans to come and be a part of the racing! So, I had to organize my own races, re-structure all the Vintage races classes, orchestrate a full promotional effort and a PWC expo all within two months just to race my standup! But this isn’t about me – it’s all about our cool sport!
WCJ: We noticed that you raced the Mark Hahn 300 race. How long has it been since you have been in a race?
CF: Seem like forever on a PWC or standup!
WCJ: Did this bring back some memories and spark something back in you?
CF: I raced a bunch of endurance races here in the States, but the Spanish Sea-Doo distributor flew me to race their two-day event in Spain, racing up and down the coast of Mediterranean Sea. It got so rough that one of the top guys bailed and couldn’t swim fast enough to get to his runabout. They found the ski, but not the racer. Luckily a sailboat picked him up – they found him down the coast in the other direction a day later! I broke way up the coast in really big, rough surf. There were no safety boats or rescue for miles. Luckily I limped the Sea-Doo into a small beach with a local cabana food/bar. Oh yeah, there was a topless beach too. Now that was a race!
WCJ: Tell us about the Aqua Moto Grand Prix race happening in Lake Havasu on May 3-4.
CF: We’re pairing up Lucas drag boats and vintage jet ski racing in Lake Havasu. It’s gonna be where tan lines meet the starting lines of high speed lake and beach action! It’s going to be a small, fun and professional race. I’ve got K38 as my safety team. We’ll have awards, prizes, and cool pre- and after parties. It’ll be in front of thousands of spectators. I know it is the same time as the Parker, AZ PWC race, but I had this opportunity to put the sport of jet ski racing in front of a large crowd with a professional and established racing organization and the chance of getting exposure outside our industry.
WCJ: What are you planning to accomplish with this one time event?
CF: This race will bring back old racers and bring some new local riders to the track that would never race the Parker race. The Aqua Moto Grand Prix is designed to rebuild the sport from the grassroots, and make it so any rider can now race under the class structure and race format I have put together anywhere in the world under any promoter. Hopefully some of the Parker racers will roll up so we can hangout and swap race stories. I have a lot of them!
WCJ: What do you think this sport needs to put it back on the main stage?
CF: I know what our sport needs to be back in the public’s eye. Without TV we can’t gain new racers, followers or sponsors. Without sponsors we can’t have purse money. Without a pro purse we can’t have real professional events.
I just don’t know of any sport that doesn’t have any of it’s early leaders as a part of it. Motocross has MC, Emic, and Johnson. Ricky Carmichael is designing tracks for Supercross. Football, basketball, baseball has every player announcing, NASCAR looks to it’s history to make it more successful. Every major sport has a successful path that includes it’s history.
We need to show the extreme nature and radical action of racing. We need freestyle to showcase our riders on the level of all action sports. Standup racing needs more obstacles and a tighter track, runabouts need to be raced in a long course format with 30-minute motos and a huge backstretch with a giant safe Daytona first turn. Freestyle needs a man-on-man elimination format like surfing.
WCJ: Where do you see this sport heading and how are you planning to help grow it?
CF: I know that if this sport doesn’t get traction NOW it will never have the following or wheels big enough to get going. I know I can’t rebuild the entire sport myself either. When this sport was first evolving, I was there. And with the help of core riders, racers, and loyal spectators, we made this into one of the coolest watersports on the planet.
I put 25-plus years into building and promoting this sport worldwide, both on the track and off. I filmed, edited and produced my own tour video and “rapid ride adventure” that promoted the jet ski lifestyle. I raced every single class from Stock 440 to Modified big bore runabout, working with almost every aftermarket company and manufacturer to help promote and sell racing products from scoop grates to ignitions. With my pop’s determination and all my sponsors and support we won.
But again, this isn’t about me. So back to your question: can we all come together to regrow the sport? I have seen the sport’s history, I helped make it. Now we know what not to do.