Well, we haven't done this one in a while, but it is time to revisit the competition category and class names. There is good reason for this. IJSBA and the WGP-1 World Series are preparing to create a class list that is good for two years. Not only do we want the classes to be predictable, we would like competitors, and the general public, to have class descriptions which are relatable to the modifications allowed in the classes and are easily translated into other languages.
Historically, IJSBA has had the following base category names: Stock, Limited and Modified. Easy enough, Stock relates to relatively "stock," Limited referred to a "limited amount" of aftermarket parts which were allowed to be added to an otherwise Stock Class watercraft. Modified, referred to a heavy amount of allowed modifications including, usually, an aftermarket hull and internal engine changes. As time went on, IJSBA sometimes cut back on the modification allowances resulting in Superstock guidelines. When four stroke powered Ski arrived, IJSBA created a Lites division rather than differentiate between Two Stroke and Four Stroke stock divisions. Then, after we took away many of the modifications allowed in Modified Class, we started giving them back but not quite all of them- so now we have Open class where it is "open" to a lot of modifications but not enough modifications to make it a Modified Class. Can't imagine why anyone could find any of this confusing....
Well, if the above is not enough to drive you crazy, then came GP Class where you no longer had to match the engine with the brand of watercraft and, then GP Ski allowed hull and top deck combinations that do not even look like OEM watercraft anymore- but, hey, we didn't change the name. However, we did not provide the non-resembling top deck allowance with Runabouts so we kept Runabout as an "Open" but some events called it GP because GP is the name of the most exotic Pro Ski division and some organizers wanted to have the same name for Ski and Runabout even where you could not make as many changes to the Runabout platform. If you were not exhausted after the paragraph above, you should be now. Oh, wait, it has been left out that the public has strongly asked for a Ski class with stock engines but aftermarket hulls. We are calling that Modified now. Yep. There was a Mod Lites to replace a very dead Ski Limited class; we do not like to discuss that one much.
So, let us start off with what we are not going to do. First, Pro Runabout classes will still be required to use an OEM recognizable top deck and the engine must match what is purported by that top deck. Second, IJSBA is not going to go into numbering classes like F1, F3, etc. We plan to continue to honor the legacy of the history of PWC Racing which has common name categories intended to showcase what has been done to a recreational consumer product in that competition division. If you are still even reading at this point, this is what we are going to do: we are going to try to streamline the names and keep it on track at least until electric PWC come to the race circuit then who knows what will happen from there.
Please, share your comments with IJSBA as to which class names work for you, which class names do not, and where you think the class in which you compete could best be named. How do you explain your classes to your friends when describing what has been done to your PWC. What is confusing in describing allowed modifications (please be merciful) and what class names make it clear what is going on. Send these comments to IJSBA by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.