IJSBA has received the following report from our partners at Jettribe regarding bringing racing to Laos.
Jettribe's Journey to Laos - June 2018
The first Laos International Jet Ski Championship is in the record books. This event was sparked by a casual conversion with the Jettribe staff while we were in Thailand last December. Now fast forward to June 2018, and it became a reality. Our journey began at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to Vietnam, then on to Cambodia and finally to Vientiane, Laos. The long flights were nothing to write home about, but the unexpected delays and layovers definitely tested the seasoned Jettribe travel team's patience.
However once we arrived in Vientiane, Laos, we instinctively knew that this would be a different trip. After we picked up our entry visas for Laos, and cleared our heavy laden gear bags through customs, we were greeted by the Laos race organizer at the airport exit. To our surprise, we actually had a ride to the race site! As with other international events, most of our communication for the event was done at the last minute.
We were not sure where we were staying, who was picking the Jettribe team up, or if we even had skis to race with!
For the next 2 hours, we sat in the van traveling through the Laos country side on dark and mostly unpaved dirt roads. We could not really tell where we were, or where we were going. For the entire ride in the van, the lingering questions that processed through all of our minds were: Where are we? Where is the hotel? Is there really a Jet Ski race? The fact that we were halfway across the world in a new country didn't concern us, as much as if there really was a Jet Ski event or not! The driver did not speak a word of English, and we did not speak any Laotian. To the Jettribe team's relief, we finally arrived at the Dansavanh Nam Ngum Resort by 1am.
After a well-deserved good night's rest, the next morning we knew we were in the right place! We starting seeing familiar faces from Jettribe Thailand, Jettribe Japan, and our Jettribe Team Rider Charlie Martinez, who arrived the night before. The race location is on the Nam Ngum Lake, with beautifully pristine, unspoiled jade colored water. The lake and resort is surrounded by lush green tropical dense jungle. We learned that unfortunately this untouched area is currently being developed by huge Chinese investors.
Like any race, local or abroad, the first few hours was an organized chaos, from finally getting our skis, finding fuel, and communicating with the race staff. We have to say that our Jettribe Thailand / Freedom Racing played a huge role in making this event a success. They basically brought everything that it takes to run a Jet Ski event, from the necessary staffing, race equipment, and 17 watercrafts to lend to overseas riders. An entire Jet Ski race event was packed in shipping containers, just add water and wham - a Jet Ski race event pops up!
The race itself was divided into 6 classes: Runabout GP – VIP, 1800 Open International, 1100 Stock International, 1800 Open (Laos Only), 1100 Stock / Blaster 1100 (Laos Only), Blaster 700 Open (Laos Only) and Endurance. The course was set up to be new rider friendly, and easy to learn and navigate. At the end of the day, we are here to be good ambassadors for the sport and build rider to rider relationships that will span across the globe. Too much of our surprise, the 20 local Laotian riders were enthusiastic and committed to the sport. They will be great competitors in the future on the global scene. At Jettribe, it is our core mission to grow and expand the watercraft sport from local to global, building relationships one rider at a time, one event at a time.
We have much admiration to the Laos Federation for putting together such a prestigious international event that definitely set the bar for other Southeast Asian countries to follow. From having hundreds of on-the-ground staff, local and international media coverage, government support, and connecting corporate sponsors to the event. They ran a professional race on their inaugural watercraft event.
Thanks to the many sponsors of the event, such as Lao Vision, Dansavanh Nam Ngum Resort, Freedom Racing, TMP Motorsports, and BMW.
We at Jettribe are always grateful that this sport has given us the great opportunity to travel the world on a monthly basis. We travel the world doing what we love which is watercraft racing, but along the way build relationships that will last a lifetime, and memories that will stay with us for an eternity.
See you at the next Jetski event!