Happy New Year from IJSBA.
2017 is sure to bring some exciting and revolutionary new developments for the sport of PWC Racing! This isn’t just hyperbole, we know this is true because of the amount of work we are doing to integrate all of the different concepts that are circulating- especially as they pertain to the Ski classes. These are good things, though, as we will explain below.
The IJSBA office, will reopen, full time, on January 9. This is, of course, the official reopening. We are working every day right now trying to process the amount of current emails that are coming through while trying to get to all the of the back emails that have come through in the last two months. If you are one of the people who have a stale email and are awaiting a reply, please do not take it personally. Right now, we are processing an unprecedented amount emails to try and finalize a cohesive policy for the future of Ski Racing. This is the priority right now. By the middle of January, we will have everything taken care of- at least we hope so.
The quality of our sport is based on many factors: athletes, technology, the global economy, exchange rates, the temperament of regulatory agencies, weather patterns, and everything in between. This requires that IJSBA does its very best to bring together all of the various viewpoints on how we move forward to preserve what we have as a community or racers while forging a future welcoming those who will join us next and the equipment they will be using. There is no reason we cannot create the optimal environment for every competitor as well as the OEM and aftermarket industries that provide the support that keeps us going.
As always, please share the following news and information with your friends in the PWC Racing Community. However, this time it is more important than ever that everyone who gets he news shares their viewpoint with us. We have heard from hundreds of people regarding the future of IJSBA that they want to see and we would like to include all of the perspectives that we can.
1. IJSBA Racing Heading to Asian Games
We start 2017 off with wonderful news. IJSBA is very proud to report that it is final: the Jetski Sport will be in the Asian Games in 2018. The Asian Games are an extremely prestigious pancontinental sporting event that is held every 4 years. The 2018 installment will include the Jetski Sport which is the term the OCA uses to describe IJSBA Sanctioned PWC Racing. This will be the first time that the Asian Games has hosted a motorsport. The Jetski Sport was the first motorsport to be recognized by the OCA when it appeared at the Asian Beach Games in Bali, Indonesia, in 2008. Since then IJSBA Racing has been one of the Asian Beach Games categories two additional times- in Oman and Thailand. The 2018 Asian Games focus more on general sports than simply sports that would be held at the beach. We will introduce the PWC Racing sport, to a larger Asian audience, then, in Jakarta Indonesia.
The first Asian Beach Games included the Jetski Sport, as mentioned above. The head of the OCA, at that time, was Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al A-Ahmed Al-Sabah who was also a supporter of the Kuwait PWC Racing team. He decreed that PWC Racing should be a part of the first installment of the Asian Beach games. This plan was carried out and as implemented by Fully Aswar and the IJSBA administration to make the Jetski portion of the first Asian Beach Games a tremendous success. In 2015, Fully Aswar was given the commission to represent all of the Asian IJSBA Affiliated Nations to bring our sport to the Asian Games. IJSBA would like to recognize Fully’s hard work in getting IJSBA racing approved in this amazing event. Please stay tuned to IJSBA for more news as it progresses. Our first meeting for this event is in March. Afterwards we will announce all of the classes and other information for participation.
2. IJSBA is processing Ski Class suggestions
As we reported in the last update, IJSBA has been spending several hours, every day, working on a plan for how to structure the Ski class to build a well organized future without disrupting what is going in the present. Since announcing that, we have heard from many more of you. We are grateful for the input and, as you will see, those that participate get results.
Before updating you on the newest changes, let us review what IJSBA plans to do. The plan is to make two distinct paths for the Ski athlete to compete in IJSBA Sanctioned events. The first way is the OEM way or the OEM anticipated speeds. In these cases, we will concentrate on Ski Stock and Lites Classes which IJSBA believes shall be the core of Ski Racing. Lites is the Ski class enjoying the largest participation around the world and we intend to keep it going, unchanged, indefinitely. The new Ski Stock Class will focus on bringing people straight from the showroom floor, to the race track, making only changes that affect handling and tuning aspects that will appeal to a rider’s specific preferences. We plan to phase out Limited and replace Limited with a Mod-Lites that allow a balance between new OEM equipment and the aftermarket driven Ski divisions that are most common in the sport today. The premiere classes will be the most radically built Ski but we want to limit these elite Ski to the very top tier of racing. Normal tiers should enjoy the lowest cost thresholds. Lites will not change. GP will not change in 2017. Stock and Pro Ski Mod will change in 2017 and Limited will change in 2018. We think this is a good plan.
You, the community, who have reached out to us, also have good plans. One of these plans is to delay the implementation of 1100cc based forced induction Ski in Veteran and Masters classes for, at least, one year. This would mean that our allowances to us the Yamaha 1050 engine, in top tier Classes, would be limited to Amateur Ski Mod, Pro/Am Ski GP, and Pro Ski Mod. Veterans Mod, Masters Mod, and related classes would have the limitations of 2016. We think this is a fine idea and gives a lot of room to test our innovation plans without sending competitors back to rebuilding so soon. Based on your requests we are going to examine an approach that allows a moderated approach to the next steps for Ski Racing.
Some of you have written in, or forwarded in, questions and concerns about IJSBA’s announcements of speed control provisions in Ski Classes. This is an important topic to discuss and to continue soliciting your opinion on this matter.
The first thing to discuss is: “why should we implement speed controls.” IJSBA’s answer is: “because all PWC, including Ski, are very soon going to be capable of speeds that are to great to continue operating the competitions in the way we enjoy them today. This is especially so in Ski classes because the top speed capabilities have been increasing. incrementally, along with costs, and, soon, even second hand Mod Ski will be reaching speeds beyond what the average competitor will be expecting. Some of you have responded to this premise with two primary statements. The first is “you can slow the Ski speeds down by making the track tight,” and “don’t regulate top speeds, the racer can only ride at the speed they can handle.”
The statements are valid. However, IJSBA has been experiencing new dilemmas and we want to put into place what we have learned from the runabouts which were, just a few years ago, reaching speeds that the Ski are now starting to attain. The first lesson is that it is not good policy to have the threat of collision be the control for speed. Second, IJSBA organizers need to be able to design tracks where there are safe opportunities and sections where two or more Ski riders could convene. There also need to be safe buffers where Skis, at speed, have room to slow down before entering into an unwanted area or hitting the shoreline. The faster the Skis can go the larger these buffers need to be, the larger the track needs to be, and consequently, we start eliminating current competition venues because we need more space to do things properly. Finally, falls from Ski PWC are not uncommon and with the increase in speeds come the increase in consequences from those falls. During World Finals, we are now finding that the injuries sustained on the track are coming from the competitor simply striking the water or even his/her own PWC and not collisions with other riders. This is so even with Stock Class Runabouts. As mentioned above, Skis are approaching the same speeds as Runabout.
We pitched the need for speed controls a couple of years ago and we are happy to see people starting to embrace the concept. We know that not all of you are sold on speed control. We hope this is a work in progress where we can all reach the final decision together. In the meantime know that whatever you are racing now will have a place in 2017 and we are going to take this one slow to make sure we get it right. We will not be freezing anyone out of an opportunity to keep on competing with what you have. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
3. Runabout Rule Changes
The only two items that are still in discussion for Runabout Changes are aftermarket waterboxes in Limited and allowing Sparks to use a replica bottom with harder material in Runabout 1100 Superstock. We expect things to remain very much the same. The waterbox has been suggested on the lines of allowing easier service access in the watercraft.
4. Homologation update.
IJSBA is awaiting manufacturing data from Kawasaki on the new SX-R and the Yamaha EX Line as well as the GP1800 unit. We anticipate that all units will be homologated prior to the Mark Hahn 300 on February 12, 2017.
This is a short and sweet welcome to 2017. We look forward to seeing all of you on the race course.