The short answer is no.
The initial post that sparked a massive flood of social media shares, likes, texts and posts was from the Spanish personal watercraft enthusiast Facebook page Motos de aqua, and the post itself was meant as a harmless yet well-executed prank in celebration of the holiday “Feast of the Holy Innocents” or “Innocents Day.” Much like our own April Fool’s Day, Innocents Day is recognized traditionally on December 28 and celebrated conventionally by practical jokes, pranks and the like.
The original post read:
BREAKING: BRP Sea-Doo confirms the purchase of HSR-Benelli, and its purpose is to launch in 2017 a spectacular 4-stroke jet prepared for competition. The Canadian firm already tried after the launch of the first Hydrospace, but then Benelli went ahead of the agreement. Sea-Doo’s strategy was to wait for the Austrian-Italian crash to be able to pick it up again later, and finally it was time to see powerful BRP Sea-Doo jets!
Prior to jumping on the band wagon, The Watercraft Journal did some much needed research prior to sharing the news. First, the post’s claim that “The Canadian firm already tried [to purchase the company] after the launch of the first Hydrospace” bared no factual backing. Contacts within BRP/Sea-Doo confirmed that the manufacturer had little to no interest in original 4-stroke standup, all but completely debunking the original post’s validity. Undaunted, we pushed further looking into the acquisition’s claim.
Second, which should’ve been the biggest giveaway, is that the company is no longer “HSR-Benelli” but has changed names twice since then, from “HSR-Belassi” to simply “Belassi” making the original post both incorrect and outdated. Nevertheless, we wanted to pursue this to its bitter end, so we reached out to LOOK Marketing’s Tim McKercher who completely dispelled the claim as a joke, and declined to comment further calling the hoax “not worth flaming.”
So, why did this claim gain so much traction if it’s so clearly wrong? Because of Kawasaki’s SX-R, that’s why. Although still very much behind in market presence than either Sea-Doo or Yamaha, Kawasaki’s decision to ignore the surging trend towards smaller, entry-level runabouts and double-down on a 4-stroke standup cobbled together from an array of existing PWC, ATV and side-by-side parts is a bold move, if not a completely curious “Hail Mary” pass. Yet unarguably, the incoming SX-R has spurred some serious interest in the PWC community and has the other OEs taking notice.
Internal chatter already has Yamaha poised to strike a retaliative blow, but rumor has it that the manufacturer will give the new SX-R until 2019 before releasing its TR-1 powered, 4-stroke SuperJet, which has been verified to exist for well over a year now. The planned delay is two fold: first, to gauge the SX-R’s first year’s sales and its second year “staying power”; and secondly, to ride in on a wave of nostalgia as the SuperJet will celebrate 30 years since its first introduction in 1989. It’s not the answer most enthusiasts want to hear, but it is the most likely to happen.
So what about Sea-Doo? Is a standup in the market leader’s future? We asked PWC Muscle’s Joe Zammataro, who said, “Since standups are making such a comeback […] it isn’t without precedent that Sea-Doo would test a standup. Sea-Doo played with [the] 3D somewhere around 1998-2004, [and] that was an XP hull but able to ride like a standup.”
For many who lived through the campaign and subsequent release of the 3D, it’s often ballyhooed as a dud. It’s wide platform didn’t lend itself to the aggressive “on the rail” handling standup riders expected, and its other formats (“Kart” and “Moto”) didn’t translate well to traditional runabout riders. Yet, the 3D wasn’t a terrible machine – not in the least. It simply failed to find its audience. The Rotax 782cc twin-cylinder, rotary valve engine produced a healthy 110-horsepower, the ride was stable and controllable and featured quite a bit of technology in a small package.
So could BRP snatch up Belassi? Would they even want to? To the point, Zammataro continued, “I couldn’t imagine [the acquisition] being a good investment for BRP; they don’t have anything to offer. If [Belassi] had distribution chains and fully running manufacturing facilities [then] maybe, but as of right now, [the Belassi is] just a cool looking hull and over-tuned engine that have no real world experience. Realistically, I think [if Sea-Doo was to develop a standup] they’d design it in-house.”
So no, there’s no truth to Sea-Doo/BRP snatching up the remnants of Hydrospace/HSR-Benelli/HSR-Bellassi/Belassi. We hope this helps. Ciao.