Hello, everyone. It is time for the first of the final three World Finals weekly updates before the big event. Things are shaping up nicely. While this is a tough year for budgets, I am proud to say we have been able to keep most of the amenities for this event and will be able to put on a program worthy of being the premiere event for personal watercraft racing. There are three groups that make this happen:

First, the racers have stepped up and kept the entries flowing in- even after showing unprecedented numbers. Some nations are enjoying a record number of participants.

Next are your vendors. The vendor retention rate is very high and there will be some faces returning that have not been on the scene in a few years.

Third, the sponsors that do not vend but recognize the importance of this event have continued to provide valuable contributions to the event. Thank you to all of you for keeping the event alive and the sport strong. Here is the news for the week:

  1. Poker Run Cancellation. The poker run has unfortunately been canceled. This is an expensive sub-event that requires extra permits beyond what is required for the scheduled race. We did not receive very many inquiries for the poker run this year. Next year, we will promote much earlier and have online signups so that the event can be guaranteed. We hope that those planning to attend the poker run will still patronize the event and see the greatest personal watercraft exhibition and best racing the world has to offer and to view some of the great new innovated products in the performance alley.
  2. Official weights. I have been asked to provide the list of official weights as required in Rule 8.1.5. Due to the timing before World Finals, I feel it is best to suspend rule 8.1.5 for this season. According to my research, which includes interviews with OEM manufacturers and aftermarket service providers (who specialize in PWC hulls), the tolerances in OEM hull building are quite broad. This is to say that the builders of the hull do not have tight limits on how far off the finished product is from the intended weight. Identical new units are capable of being different by 40lbs (and sometimes more). Therefore, the actual weight of a PWC delivered to a customer may be drastically different from that which is listed by the manufacturer and may be different from another identical unit that is weighed. The IJSBA must decide, being consistent with the spirit of the rules, how to calculate the IJSBA Official weight. We all know that experienced competitors use repair and hull truing methods to improve the performance of their PWC. In the case where a PWC was sold where the PWC hull weight is on the far end of the weight tolerance, weight removal may be a necessity. The person seeking to make these repairs/improvements to his or her PWC must be assured that their changes are within the IJSBA rules. Rule 8.1.5 does not specify from what methods the IJSBA will use to determine the official weight. As of today, there are only 19 days remaining until the World Finals begin. The IJSBA announced, on March 11, 2005, that the IJSBA would announce official weights. Regrettably, the IJSBA did not do this in a timely manner. Rather than cause any confusion and uncertainty for posting new weights just weeks before the premiere event, the governing weights for all classes will be 260LB(114KG) for Ski, 300LB(136KG) for Sport, 400LB (182KG) for Runabout 800, and 475LB (216KG) for Runabout 1200 as dictated in Rules 5.2 through 5.4.2. I hope racers will find this to be the fairest solution. Please feel free to bring me your questions and comments.
  3. The Black Buoy Rule. The Black Buoy (synonymous with the penalty color), is a buoy that is used to substitute the old method of picking up a missed buoy as designated in Rule 12.4.1. Instead of renegotiating the same buoy, the racer who missed the buoy will need to pick up a designated black buoy that is placed slightly off of the path of the course. This rule is intended to provide a safer method of picking up missed buoys. There is no recovery for missing a merge buoy. This rule will be explained and demonstrated at each riders meeting. The speeds of all competition PWC are now at levels that required a revisiting of the missed buoy policy.
  4. Sponsorships. Many persons have inquired about sponsoring parts of the event and/or vending. Vending spaces and sponsorship opportunities are still available. Please contact me by the email listed below for more information.
  5. PWC Swap Meet. You asked for it, you got it. We will be offering 10x10 spaces in a designated swap meet area for the dates of October 15 and 16. The price of vending is $25 per space. The space is good for one or both days. This is for swap meet appropriate goods only. NO NEW PRODUCT LINE!!! If you have questions on whether your items are swap meet appropriate, please feel free to email me at the address below.
  6. The deadline for appearing in the race program is Wednesday, September 28 at 9:00am. Entries received after that date will not appear in the race program.
  7. The awards ceremony is being moved to new location. Beverages will not be sold in the same room as the awards ceremony. Hopefully this change in the program will bring an environment where the friends, families, and sponsors of the award recipients can hear the speeches of the racers who earned such accolades. If this solution does not yield the intended result then further steps will be taken to ensure a proper awards ceremony.
  8. Hydrospace. Last week, I visited the Hydrospace factory in Austria. Yves Van Heers joined me for the inspection. I am submitting a recommendation to the IJSBA Board of Directors for a final decision which will be announced next week. In the meantime, I will share with you my findings at the factory. The Hydrospace factory is in a large industrial building complete with offices, show room, and three rooms comprising many thousand square feet. The factory is capable of producing a total of 16 units per day from four individual assembly bays. Hydrospace has provided all of the documentation required to satisfy the homologation rules. Hydrospace was very forthcoming and was interested in providing all of the information and documentation that I requested. I think there is a great deal of confusion regarding how the homologation process works. Hydrospace was admitted as a manufacturer on April 14, 2005. The S4 was homologated on May 17, 2005. Prior to me taking over the position of Managing Director, some IJSBA members had requested an investigation into the authenticity of Hydrospace’s compliance with the homologation rules. The key issues as presenting by the requesting members center on mid year updates and units sold. The focus of the matter is the homologation requirement that 200 units must be made available through the manufacturer’s normal methods of distribution. Up to this time, IJSBA manufacturer members produced, with few exception, personal watercraft that were recreationally marketed products that were being used in the racing venue. These manufacturers had dealers set up throughout the world in a system that had existed for years. Hydrospace has had no such history, their methods of distribution are not what we are traditionally accustomed to, and they cater exclusively to the racer market- the recreational market is not any part of their sales plan. The IJSBA rules do not anticipate such a player in the manufacturer segment. It is apparent that, irrespective of the Hydrospace decision, the IJSBA homologation rules need to be updated to reflect the evolution of our sport. It is also is apparent that perhaps new numbers should be considered to allow other players to provide new products in the marketplace. The IJSBA will announce next week whether there needs to be action taken regarding the participation of Hydrospace in the 2005 World Finals.

I would like to take a moment to recognize some people who are contributing greatly to the IJSBA’s World Finals efforts. Biorn Tangeland has been very helpful in providing information and keeping our integrated technology going. Biorn is still helping quite a bit, behind the scenes, and directly with some foreign matters. I appreciate everything Biorn is doing to help keep things moving. Gus Andros, CJ Vilder, and Bob Crabtree have been very helpful in preparing some technical matters and answering questions from racers that I am unable to address. Thank you to all of you for your extra efforts.

Well, that is it for this week. As always, I welcome questions and comments. The IJSBA is here to serve you, the PWC racing community. My door and my mind are always open to your concerns. Please feel free to email me anytime at: scott@ijsba.com. I look forward to seeing all of you at the World Finals.

Scott Frazier
IJSBA Managing Director