The Watercraft Journal: How did you first get interested in jet skis?
Erminio Iantosca: Years ago my dad bought a standup off of a friend. I was too young to ride it, so after a little while my dad sold it to his good friend Richard, who happened to be Chris MacClugage’s dad. I would always hangout with Chris, and as I got older I was able to ride and learn. Then I started to go to the races to watch Chris. Even at a young age, I fell in love with the sport and I knew that this was something I wanted to pursue…and it was all down hill from there (or up, depending on how you look at it).
WCJ: Was that the watercraft you first learned to ride on?
EI: When I was about 10, my dad bought me a 550 of my own and I was off. I took to the JetSki like a fish to water. Back then there wasn’t a Junior Class so I had to be 14 to race, which really stunk cause I had to wait 4 years. In the end I think it molded me into the rider that I am today and gave me that work ethic that I needed to be successful. So every Sunday my dad would take me to the lake from sun up to sun down for 4 years, and everyday I would tell my parents I wanted to race and my dad would always tell me when you’re ready I will let you know so I just practiced and practiced.
WCJ: Can you tell us about your first race?
EI: In 1993, the Kawasaki X-2 came out and I had to have one. I was so lucky my dad got me one and I was off. I practiced learning to master the X-2. Finally, my dad told me I was ready. I remember it like yesterday: my first race was in Orlando, FL. It was so cold and I was just a little 14-year-old kid racing against 24-year-old grown men in Novice Sport. And I went out there and won ever race that day and there was no turning back. I knew this was something I was going to do for a long time.
WCJ: How did that first season go for a 14-year-old Erminio?
EI: I ended up qualifying for the World Finals, and this was in 1994, when jet ski racing was in its prime. And at my first World Finals ever, I went out and won the Novice Sport World Championship.
WCJ: Earning a World Championship at your first Finals is an incredible accomplishment. Did that earn you some serious attention from manufacturers?
EI: Yeah, the next thing I knew, I was riding for Yamaha (in 1995) and on the National Tour traveling the country at 15. I continued racing the tour and always found myself towards the front. Then in ’99, it was time to turn Pro and ended up taking home “Pro Rookie of The Year.”
WCJ: Things escalated quickly. How have you done since then?
EI: To date my accomplishments are 7-time National Champion and a two-time IJSBA World Champion.
WCJ: How does this year look for Erminio Iantosca?
EI: I’m really excited for the upcoming season. I have some big goals this year and I’ve been trying really hard to make sure I meet those goals. The National Tour can’t get here soon enough and I look toward to seeing you all at the races.
I’m happy to announce I signed with Sea-Doo for another year where I’ll be aboard a RXP-X 260 competing on the National Tour, IJSBA World Finals and the King’s Cup. I have a great team around me with Sea-Doo, my dad, Tim Judge of Judge Motorsports, Allen Walker of WRT, RIVA Racing, Jettribe, Hydro-Turf and Villon Clothing.