Greetings Personal Watercraft Community,
It is approaching November at the IJSBA offices. In this part of the globe it is dark before dinner, Ugg boots are replacing flip flops, the World Finals have come and gone and PWC are being winterized (whatever good that actually does appears to now be debatable). In other parts of the globe, the race season is beginning. This sport rarely sleeps. The face of the IJSBA and the rules of the sport will soon be changing. There is a lot to talk about in this update. Lets start with the good, the bad, and the ugly of the World Finals.
Overall, the 25th Annual World Finals was a tremendous success. More than 29 nations were represented, the crowd was pleased, the city was pleased, and most vendors have reported that they are pleased. The quakysense World Finals competed against other events and held its own. This is not to say we didn’t have a couple of hiccups. I, personally, want to let you know that we are aware of them and are taking precautions so they won’t happen again. These errors, while actually the product of one significant error, fall into the categories of scoring, scheduling, and error correction. The problem, however, was truly a single problem that spread to all of these categories.
One of the complaints competitors have about this sport is the down time between races. This year we set out to allow ample time for competitors to get settled in the pits and practice before racing started up. The plan was to consolidate the racing so that when the competitions started then the racing would be non-stop with little or no down time. This ambitious plan was set back by the fact that our scoring software crashed the night before the first day of racing.
This unfortunate occurrence was a blow that we simply never recovered from. This problem prevented us from having accurate class sheets where some names would not appear on the event/scoring sheets. Oddly enough, some competitors from previous years who were not at this event were appearing on the class lists. As the clock ticked while we began manually correcting class lists, we made schedule changes to get racing going. Some corrected lists were events which would require LCQ’s. The setbacks had LCQ listings coming out later than anticipated which required more schedule changes to ensure the LCQ riders were properly notified. As the event times were consolidated, there was never a time period where we could put things on hold and sort it out- racing had to continue. In short, we had an error that affected multiple parts of the event and we didn’t have a pre-determined plan to deal with it nor did we have adequate time to correct the error.
To ensure this problem does not happen again, the IJSBA is making some changes to our World Finals Scoring and Scheduling plans. First, and most importantly, the IJSBA will run two concurrent computers for scoring. This will provide a working and running backup computer that has all up-to-date information in the event that a crash or file corruption occurs. Second, the scoring staff will be increased by an additional employee who will be primarily assigned to entering the back-up information and error-checking. Third, the duties of scheduling and time keeping will be shared by two staff members so that time compliance can still be monitored while any scheduling changes are being made.
Finally, the entire event will be increased by either one half day or one full day in order spread the events over an adequate time span to allow for any necessary corrections or modifications. While mistakes do happen, the responsibility of the event is ultimately that of the IJSBA Managing Director. I personally apologize for any frustrations and inconveniences the scoring/scheduling problems may have caused. Each of you have invested a significant amount of time, money, and energy into your PWC racing and World Finals attendance. The IJSBA will go to any length to ensure that you receive the fair, safe, and quality competition you deserve.
With the above said, the event is being hailed as a continuance of the path upwards to greater prosperity for PWC racing. The spectator attendance was up from previous years. There were more vendors present and active than in any World Finals over the past several years. While there was a small decline in competitor participation, studies have shown an overall decrease in amateur sports participation. This is important to note because not only does the 2006 World Finals appear to have beaten some cross-industry studies on the margins of participation but the event also appears to have received participation from a greater percentage of the IJSBA’s (and IJSBA Affiliates’) currently licensed competitors.
This is good news for the World Finals and the industry as a whole. As the IJSBA World Finals continues to demonstrate that it is the World’s premiere gathering, it is also demonstrating that it attracts a greater percentage of the PWC sport’s true enthusiasts.
The IJSBA is looking to expand this role for 2007. Greater emphasis will be placed upon the fact that this is the World’s Greatest PWC gathering. The vendor area is slated to be become expanded to encompass a trade show type environment. The plan is to attract dealers, producers and distributors to meet and exhibit in the form of an efficient and cost effective trade show. In addition to being at the venue where the bulk of the players are already at, the trade people can spend some time viewing the racing which is the only established venue to showcase the performance and safety products which they are seeking to market. The IJSBA can deliver this environment in a convenient and cost effective setting in venues surrounding the World Finals race site. 2007 may well be the best World Finals ever.
While we look forward to 2007, let us not forget some highlights of the 2006 World Finals. Anyone who attended the first annual Hall of Fame ceremony saw what was probably the greatest display of emotions, prestige, and dignity in the history of our sport. Many speakers and attendees were quite choked up. Chris MacClugage chose to share his engagement with the entire PWC community. Freestyle again raised the bar with a triple backflip. Pro Runabout set the tone for a whole new level of speed and performance on a track. Pro Ski brought as a completely international podium thus demonstrating that no particular nation has any particular advantage at the event. Drag racers exhibited startling displays of speed and acceleration.
Perhaps most notable at the event was that the Junior racers have again absolutely set the standards for sportsmanship, safety, conduct and camaraderie. The sport that has purportedly been given the death sentence several times in its life again defied the expectations, tripled the turnout of competing events, and turned a quarter century old with signs of another good twenty five years ahead.
In closing the World Finals recap, I would like to thank quakysense for stepping up to become one of the industry leaders. The production of your top quality wetsuits and accessories is only surpassed by your benevolence and belief in this sport and those who participate in it.
Skat-Trak has been one of the greatest contributors to the community since the day they arrived on scene. We never could have made it this far without you.
McGraw Insurance was instrumental in bringing the event to life. Your desire to return to the IJSBA family was truly generous and we are lucky to have you on board.
Kawasaki and Bombardier Recreational Products again let us know that as long as we were here, they would be here. EZ Dock, Jettribe, Hot Products, Monster Energy, Riva, and all of our other supporters have our gratitude for coming through well above the call of duty. DSM events, the BLM, and the US Coast Guard worked with us to make a safe and responsible event. Thank you all for being so gracious.
Thank you to the IJSBA staff. The job is truly difficult and thankless at times. You take a beating before, during, and after the event. You are all up before anyone in town and are always at the event on time. No matter how stressful things get, you stay committed to the event and the racers who depend on you. You live off of doughnuts, sandwiches, and generic sodas for ten days.
The PWC community is very lucky to have you in their lives. I, personally, feel very lucky to have known you and served you as your coordinator. Thank you also to the participants and supporters. We all do this event for you and we appreciate your dedication to the sport. The final thanks goes out to Lake Havasu City and the LHC Convetion and Tourism Bureau for hosting us for the 25th time.
On to the update...
Today, October 23, I have asked the rules committee members to finalize their drafts and to begin discussions of the rule changes for 2007. The topics being discussed will be posted by this Friday.
There will be rule changes for 2007 and we will have them prepared in a reasonable and adequate time for all of you to be prepared for the 2007 race season. You are all free to comment and suggest rules to us. Please send these comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org and they will be forwarded to the rules committee. Some of you are asking for change, especially in the relationship between two stroke and four stroke PWC. The IJSBA will be attentive and proactive in ensuring fair and competitive racing for all of the PWC Community.
The PWC Racing community is basically broken down into three categories: Competitors, OEM Producers (aka manufacturers), and Aftermarket Producers. Competitors deserve safe and fair racing. Competitors deserve a reasonable time period to enjoy the modifications they have made to their PWC without expensive yearly upgrades. OEM Producers deserve to be treated equally by the IJSBA. An OEM producer that spends millions in research and development to produce a superior PWC deserves to reap the rewards of a superior PWC.
Aftermarket producers deserve to have an environment where they can offer their products for a reasonable amount of time after it is announced that their products were allowed to be used in a particular class(es). Some of these rights overlap and all point to the fact that the entire community has the right to have a predictable future that remains stable and doesn’t change too drastically from season to season.
The IJSBA is aware that the sport is in transition as a whole new influx of technology is coming into contact with some established technology that has been in place for some time. The IJSBA rules committee and IJSBA Board of Directors are dedicated to reaching solutions which sustain the viability of the sport while welcoming in the PWC of today.
The focus of change will be conservative but effective steps that bring about positive change while avoiding a level of drastic restructuring that would leave people confused and scrambling to stay in the sport. We don’t want the sport to resemble a snow globe that has been turned upside down nor do we want to avoid progress. Please feel free to send us your comments and suggestions.
There will be several events announced or happening soon. These will include the JetRaid event, Kings Cup, Motosurf, and some exciting new competitions. Please stay tuned to the IJSBA website.
We all look forward to a prosperous 2007. It is a pleasure to serve you as your director and I look forward to working with you in bringing you the very best in PWC racing.
IJSBA Managing Director