The Grand Finale: The 2017 Championship season comes to an end on Fort Lauderdale Beach
An epic season of racing all came down to the final rounds of the P1 AquaX USA Pro and Florida Amateur Championships this past weekend in beautiful Ft. Lauderdale Beach, Florida. With a picture-perfect setting and lots of activities going on, the event, presented by South Florida Ford, attracted a variety of spectators who came to check out the racing! It was a pleasure to be back on Fort Lauderdale Beach as Team Phuckit returned for the second year at this awesome venue!
For George and Amanda, the weekend would be the second teammate face-off of the year, and after having traveled to Chicago to race against one another in the North East Region Championships in September, we knew the competition between them and the rest of the 200hp class would be fierce. With reigning Florida Series Champion Jennifer Nolan out of the game with a baby on board (Congratulations, Jen and Vic!) the 200hp class lineup included points leader Eric Diaz, Jose Luis Gonzalez, and Kevin Sullivan, who joined the class last minute on a borrowed boat after a mishap during the drive down left him without a 250hp boat to race. The mix up proved as interesting as it sounds, and choppy conditions in the first moto left Diaz in first, George right on his tail in second, and Amanda winning the battle against Gonzalez for third. The conditions on Day two couldn’t have been any better, and after a long delay as we waited for marine life to clear the course, the second moto ended in the same results. In moto 3, Diaz and George once again came in one and two, but Amanda’s exhaustion was evident as she lost the fight for third and came in behind Gonzalez in the last race of the weekend. Thrilled to once again share the podium together, the weekend results crowned Diaz the winner, with George claiming the second place trophy and Amanda finishing third overall. Congratulations to George on fighting an excellent fight and challenging Diaz all the way to the finish line, despite being new to the class and once again riding the ski borrowed from his sister, KC Holmquist. He has proved himself to be an excellent rider and we expect big things from him next year!
As the final round of the Amateur Florida Championship Series, Diaz’s weekend victory would secure him the 200hp class Championship title, but Amanda’s determination and consistency all season long was good enough for her to claim second place in the championship, and boy are we proud! In only her second season of racing, this girl battled injury, fear, and lack of experience to make it almost all the way to the top, and we are so excited to see what she can do next year as we come back for more and expand our race experience!
As one of the few events of the year to feature the Sprint classes in addition to the Enduro racing, spectators were treated to closed-course style racing that included the Pro Ski, Junior Ski, Sport Spec, Sport GP, and Sprk classes. Phuckit Racing’s own Ted Acker was set up to compete in the Sprk class, but last minute boat troulbes left him hesitant. Despite the struggle, he went to the line, only to be t-boned at the start of the first moto, breaking his sponson and forcing him to fight to come back from behind. He ended up taking 6th in the first moto and the following two, finishing 6th overall for the weekend. Despite the disappointment, Ted never gave up the fight and we can’t wait to see what this guy brings to the course next season!
Other notable finishes for the weekend include Riva Racing Teammate Chris Landis, who claimed victory in the Sport Spec class, and third in Sport GP, out ridden only by veteran racers Johnny Smith and Sam Nehme. Congratulations to Chris on this awesome accomplishment.
In the other Am Ennduo classes, it would be David Gorie who would take this win in the 300hp class, joined on the podium by Cody Tetrault in second and Carlito Del Valle in third, and in the 250hp class it was Christian Daly who claimed first, followed by Mark Wilson and Carlos Vasquex in second and third respectively. These weekend results would be enough for Cody to claim the 2017 Am Enduro 300hp class season title, with Kevin Sullivan already locked in for the season victory in the 250hp class.
For the Pros, it was truly an interesting weekend of racing. With points leader and reigning champion Chris Maccluggage riding with a broken leg after an accident at the Pro Watercross World Championship a few weeks back, he only needed to rack up less than thirty points for the weekend to once again claim the Pro Series title, and that he did in just the first two motos. Locked in for the championship, he sat out the final moto and treated the crowd to commentary, joining Mikey Young in the tower. It would be Eric Francis who would claim the weekend victory, leading him to finish second for the season. Mike Klippenstein and Nicolas Rius each enjoyed a moto victory in Fort Lauderdale, and joined Francis on the podium in second and third position respectively. Although he did not make it on the podium for the weekend, it was Brian Baldwin’s successful season that led him to take the third place Pro Series trophy home at the awards gala Sunday evening.
And what an event it was. All of the hard work put in by racers, crews, and the P1 AquaX team culminated in an elegant and fun celebration at the Bahia Mar on Sunday evening when everyone traded their wetsuits and gear for suits and dresses, and it was an excellent tribute to the wonderful season we had. Thank you to our families, sponsors and the P1 Team for making 2017 a year to remember. We have big things in store for 2018 and can’t wait to share them with you!
Photos Courtesy of Ashes to Ashes PhotographyView Event Gallery