IJSBA is releasing this short closing report on the 2022 Jettrim WGP-1 World Finals. A longer report will follow in the next coming weeks. A lot turned out for the first post-pandemic World Finals that encountered new obstacles such as an East Coast hurricane that disrupted the travel plans of many and sky-high inflation and gas prices that impacted everyone. The team feels proud of this World Finals. However, we were not without tragedy and some other unwelcome complications. Before reporting on all of this, IJSBA would like to officially announce the 42nd Annual World Finals will take place at Crazy Horse Campgrounds in Lake Havasu City, Arizona, on September 30- October 8, 2023.
The 2022 Jettrim WGP-1 World Finals saw a final total of 413 riders making it to the line in 742 class entries. This marks a return to IJSBA's pre pandemic numbers with many classes having full lines with several having qualifiers. More than 30 nations were represented with as many as 34 (some citizenships are being verified). The pits were completely full. Parking reached a high not seen since 2016. Racing was well contended with nearly every class coming down to the final moto for a win. Racers were on their game and ready.
The trade show portion of the World Finals showed the same success with key industry vendors showing up to support the competitors as well as take advantage of the heavy spectator foot traffic. The regular food trucks reported peak numbers from any year they could remember. Souvenir sales reached sellout due to attendance as well being placed adjacent to the awards stage and offering night sales during the prize giving ceremony.
The WGP-1 series partnership helped ensure that persons abroad were able to enjoy the event. The life stream reached 271,100 views and this wasn't the final number. This amazing footage and professional live coverage have never before been delivered to the World Finals. In this short report we can unequivocally state that the event was successful by all methods used to measure the performance of World Finals. Unfortunately, we did not have a World Finals without problems.
Issues began before World Finals even opened when Hurricane Ian caused some rerouting of shipping of some key supplies including wristbands for the event. Fortunately, we had a surplus of prior year bands that were able to get us through until the shipment was finally located and delivered to Crazy Horse Campgrounds. While the staff was glad the delayed shipment was the only direct impact from the disaster on the East Coast, our relief was short lived when World Finals experienced our own weather surprise which brought a heavy rain and wind storm which destroyed many of our tents, including nearly all of the ones used in the technical impound area. The scoring/flagging tower was toppled. Practice was suspended and was later resumed using makeshift infrastructure to ensure that all competitors could become acclimated to the course and begin racing on Tuesday. IJSBA staff worked hard to have temporary structures put up and began rebuilding the site while racing was in progress.
Tragedy came on Saturday, October 8 when the first Moto of Pro Ski GP saw collisions which resulted in Tyron Motizouris receiving grave injuries of which the true extent are not know and the outcome uncertain. The incident was horrific causing IJSBA to postpone that Moto with an attempt to re-run it on Sunday. IJSBA continues to send our thoughts and prayers to Tyron and his family. We will provide updates when we know them. The rest of racing was nearly incident free. However, there were incidents in the pit including a competitor's family member having a cardiac episode and another competitor having a serious hand injury occurring, apparently, by the racer dropping an engine on his own hand while repairing it. Both of these incidents required the stand by ambulance to be diverted to treating these individuals which meant racing was suspended until a relief ambulance showed up. These incidents were the key factors in delays of racing which caused two events to be cancelled at the end of the day.
As the IJSBA Executive Director, I would like to personally make some direct statements about the decision on Sunday to end racing two motos early. This was my decision and I understand some people are disappointed. I will accept the criticism levied by those who disagree while standing by the decision as the right one to make. IJSBA will open up a review process to invite competitors to formally weigh in this topic and help set ground for future policies. As we prepare for this to come within the next month, I would like to set the talking and consideration points for those discussions to help ensure that whatever directions we may take move forward and not backwards. Here are some items to consider:
- Immediately after the Pro Ski Moto 1 accident, riders were brought into a private meeting to discuss concerns about future Motos. I made it clear I would try to re-run Moto 1 giving Pro Ski GP four Motos instead of the traditional three that make up the overall score. Three points were discussed one of which was that an end of the day Moto when there was glare on the water was to be avoided. When confronted with an end of the day Moto, I polled the riders on whether to run the fourth Moto. There was not clear consensus, amongst the riders, of whether the fourth Moto should be run and, if so, how many laps or under what conditions should the Moto be run. Both the Race Director team and the Course Marshal Team recommended not running further races. Considering this category was still dealing with the aftermath of a serious accident and, upon noticing the composure of some riders was starting to deteriorate, and weighing the opinions of staff and riders, the totality of the circumstances brought me to the decision to cancel the Pro Ski GP Moto 4. This was later extended to close down the second Moto of Endurance and effectively end competition for this year's World Finals. IJSBA policies allow us to award the winner if half of the racing is done. As three quarters of the racing was completed for Pro Ski GP and half the racing was completed for Endurance Runabout, I ended competition with those results as final. This was my decision and responsibility and I will take the heat for it where it needs to come. Again, I stand by this decision as the best to make in this specific situation.
- Delays plague many events. A lot of them plagued Sunday some of these delays were ones we had not yet encountered. Specifically, the standby ambulance attended to two medical emergencies in the pits caused racing to be closed during those incidents. During one of these incidents, a second ambulance arrived and it took considerable time for the standby ambulance to come available. I do not know why. Normally, I am probably the type of person who would hover over the medics and point to my watch and then point to the racecourse to try and hurry things along. However, the River Medical medics have been awfully good to us over there and, more so, they are a very skilled group who have taken good care of our injured riders over the years. This was probably not the situation to be pushy. We are going to have to examine policies on what to do if this case repeats itself. We hire this ambulance as part of our insurance requirement and to ensure that there is an instant responder if a rider is severely injured. There is a humanitarian issue as to having that ambulance treat a non racing injury that must be factored in. If there were an incident outside of the pit gate, in the campground, it is clear that the ambulance dispatched by 911 would be sent and not our hired ambulance. When there is a medical need in the pit, we allow our ambulance to treat it. Maybe this will be just a one time only thing. We need to plan for it not to be and the paper plan may not be the one that can actually be implemented.
- Additional Saturday/Sunday classes. Initial discussions, from the last two days, about how to avoid running out of time have centered around the additional classes offered on Saturday and Sunday. We will discuss any topic designed to improve the format of World Finals and best meet the time commitments necessary to offer all planned classes and Motos. Before getting set on a journey that takes us too far down the road of thinning the weekend classes (we do agree we can thin some), we would like to remind the community that the weekend schedule was made heavier in order to give significant gaps between premiere class Motos to allow time to repair four stroke powerplants. We cannot have dead time during the day. So, it is unlikely that we can thin much and give the minimum one hour break between Motos we have set as policy. Starting earlier, having pre staging done two races ahead instead of one, and further streamlining Freestyle may be the better way to avoid the schedule from getting away from what is planned.
These are the things to consider. Please think through the talking points so we can work out all the potential for positive change when we come together and discuss them. Most of all, please keep Tyron in your hearts and thoughts. If there really is any kind of spiritual energy that exists we definitely want to send it his way. With your guidance IJSBA will continue to deliver you the very best of our ability.
The IJSBA office will reopen Wednesday, October 19 with new Fall/Winter hours of Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday and Monday and Tuesday by appointment.