Logo-World-Final-194px-x-194px-Well, the 2014 Jettribe World Finals has closed.  Monday, October 13, was spent breaking down the course, loading the IJSBA semi trailer, finishing payout, and meeting with a few people regarding plans for 2015.  We feel we can declare the overall event a success.  We had great racing, few accidents, increased spectator turnout, and, most of all, expressed to the world the extreme capabilities of personal watercraft athletes and technology.  The event is still being closed out as of today (October 14), but we wanted to write a short recap to keep things held over until we return to the office next week.  So, here is some information about the event:

  1. The Athletes.

Perhaps the most exciting part of the 2014 Jettribe World Finals is that nearly every class was extremely competitive.  While there were a couple of classes where the winning rider brought an “A Game” performance, and even swept the motos in a couple of cases, every class saw multiple riders who had the ability to win.  Competitive equipment is widely available and all of the sport’s top tuners were on site to make sure it all ran perfect.  It was clear to see that many riders are taking their training and fitness seriously.  Spectators are rewarded when the racing isn’t dominated by any one rider.  Racers are rewarded when spectators are attracted to the event.  The attitudes of racers towards winning was the best seen with few exceptions.  IJSBA congratulates everyone on a good job promoting the sport.  We will present a longer recap of all the action when the office gets back in full swing.

  1. The Numbers.

The numbers are always an important piece of data in measuring the success of the event.  We came in, almost to the exact number of 2013.  As we previously reported, IJSBA has been enforcing eligibility rules.  Many competitors were denied entry to Novice and Amateur classes.  Had we not done this, it looks like the participant count would have a bit higher.  However, we hope that this move will encourage more first time competitors to come to the World Finals being secure that they will compete against people with similar experience.  It is true that experience can be a relative term and that experience isn’t always translating to skill.  Likewise, the lack of experience clearly doesn’t always mean lack of skill.  It is difficult to draw the line in many cases, but, difficulty is not excuse for not drawing the line where we can.  We are working in a tough economy and World Finals continues to deliver.  We will continue to balance all of the needs of the event and try to deliver the most amount of amenities possible, at the lowest possible cost, without sacrificing the experience for the competitors.  This is a subject that we will revisit with some new presentations by the end of the year.

  1. The Track.

The 2014 track was a very close variation of the 2013 track.  After we received a large amount of compliments on the 2013 track, we decided to test some of the track sections and features to make sure that the outcomes of certain design aspects were going to remain constant.  The dual penalty buoy system as drastically reduced merge collisions and allows for the drag race to the merge point to occur after taking the penalty which means merging watercraft do not need to deviate from their line in heading to the turn buoy where the mere ends.  Very few riders had any difficulty with the different track sections for Ski and Runabout classes.  IJSBA will be testing a new second set of “short splits” at an upcoming event to see if this can be implemented for the Ski section in the 2015 Finals. We will bring you more information on this shortly.

At 400 riders, assuming each rider completes one heat and two motos, we have a minimum of 1,200 instance of a rider going around the track.  When you factor in last chance qualifiers and multiple class competitors, the number is more than doubled.  This track yielded a an accident rate, where a competitor was transported by ambulance, of less than 1%.  IJSBA has not yet confirmed the outcome of one accident, but all of the data and information regarding the rest of the transported injures shows that they left the hospital the same day and, in most cases, returned to the race site to compete.  Of course, IJSBA works towards a goal of zero percent of competitors having an accident but, to say this is a realistic outcome would be unfairly advising the public that there is a risk to be assumed when you decide to compete in PWC Racing.

Please feel free to send in your comments about your experiences on the race course and give us your feedback on the track design.  We would appreciate the information while it is still fresh in your mind.  Please send any such statements to info@ijsba.com.  We will compile a list of all feedback to discuss while creating the 2015 course.

  1. The Media.

Legitimate media inquiries skyrocketed for the 2014 Jettribe World Finals.  IJSBA received a large amount of reporters, from reputable news sources, who wanted to know all about the event.  Questions were detailed, mostly asking about the high international attendance and questions about how an event with these expenses survives in this economy.  People are taking notice of PWC racing again with more and more people interested in including our sport in their promotions.  Portions of the event, this year, were filmed for music videos, reality shows, sports expos, and, of course, international news broadcast.

  1. The Trade Show.

The trade show portion of the world finals was well attended.  The two days of rain, earlier in the week, had an impact on foot traffic but the event caught up and set record numbers on Saturday.  Several new products were displayed and most exhibitors reported solid sales experiences.

During an interview, last week, IJSBA was asked what is more important to the event today, the trade show or the racing.  The answer given was that this was the same impossible question of what matters more, the rider or the equipment?  Naturally, both are important to having an event of this size exist.  The event is a World Championship personal watercraft competition, so, without the racing, there is obviously no event.  Conversely, without the industry able to connect with the public in a way that gets products seen, touched, and evaluated then there is no support for an event.  The World Finals has become a comprehensive expression of the ultimate PWC experience.  IJSBA thanks all the vendors who participated in the trade show.

  1. The Changes being discussed.

As usual, we spend a lot of time asking around of what we can do to improve the event.  Here are some of the ideas being circulated:

  • Continue to develop different Runabout and Ski portions of the track.
  • Pre assign pit parking areas for paid competitors who are sharing a trailer.
  • Remove Two Stroke limited Runabouts from the Runabout Normally Aspirated Class.
  • Cameras on staring line to confirm jump starts/knee in tray violations.
  • Qualifiers and elimination for Freestyle.

We know that no World Finals is perfect and we will continue to evolve and bring new ideas to the event.  Please email us more suggestions: info@ijsba.com.

This is a short recap, we will bring more detailed information and stories when the event opens next week.  IJSBA thanks everyone for their support of racing and the World Finals.