by Team Mechanic/Race Engineer Louis Milone, also covering teammates Christine Milone, Jeremy Schandelmayer, and Eric Lagoupolis

Well getting this trip organized for 2012 was difficult enough. The logistics involved are painful, and to be honest we all work full time jobs, and everyone is a little stretched for time as usual, but with the help of great people and Ambassadors to the sport like Tony Vo of Jettribe, and Gregg Jones of Tial Sport Turbochargers, we were once again able to pull it all together.

As usual the containers were packed in Lake Havasu, immediately following the 2011 World Finals on Sunday evening, and at that point we say good bye to our precious cargo until we arrive in Bangkok a month or so later. This is always a tense time. We have heart and soul into this equipment and it is a bit of a “leap of faith” to just let it go.

Well let's give a bit of background. We sized back a bit this year, and only sent a single runabout. With the classes available it only made sense to send the Team Mean Racing Turbo Seadoo GTi for open class, as Jeremy, and Christine could both run it, as there are 3 open classes available. We selected Pro Runabout open for Jeremy, and Am Vet (35+) Open for Christine. David Cabrera would race his venerable #51 Hydro Space in the Amatuer Ski Limited class, and Eric Lagoupolis would race his 800 Super Stock in Pro 800 Open. We also Had Rick Sherker with us running his Kawasaki in Pro Ski Open, but I think there is a separate release for him.

To set right the details it is important to mention that Christine had never raced and had rarely even ridden the powerful 450+hp turbo GTi prior to landing in Bangkok, but We assured her that we could turn back the power and make it rideable for her. She made a few rounds in practice and started to feel comfortable, but still timid about the brute power of the machine. Her biggest concern would be the standing starts. So to overcome this fear we spent most of Wed and Thursday evenings practicing real time starts with her, utilizing the full potential of the Antilag launch control system.

After only 2 starts she looked like a natural, but we continued. 10 to 15 later it was like second nature. We encouraged her that even if she came home with only great starts, it would be a tremendous accomplishment in this internationally competitive field of riders. Well she did not let us down. In the first turn of the first moto Christine left a door a bit open and took a hard hit to the left side of the boat, causing major damage, but the team was able to repair it good enough to race the remaining 7 motos unscaved. Christine Milone went 4 for 4 holeshots leading the field in every moto in to the first series of turns. Each moto she got more and more familiar with the boat, and in the end even had some good battles for positions. In a field of 16, Christine came home 11th overall, but more importantly with the title “Holeshot Queen”!! “it was an honor to race this powerful boat in such a competitive class, and to be honest after holeshots like that my traditional “limited” class power will now seem slow !!” commented Christine after the final moto.

Jeremy Schandelmayer also had some great races, running as high in the pack as 5th, and as low as last in one moto where we had a battery issue, but in a qualifying field of 24, Jeremy qualified his craft 5th and also came home 11th overall. “The conditions are just not as well suited for our lightweight extremely “pointy” Turbo Seadoo GTi, as compared to the newest generation of hulls. Next year we will be back with this powerplant tucked into the latest T3 Seadoo technology hull, and hopefully we can contend for the podium” quoted Schandelmayer following the races..

David Cabrera on his first trip to Thailand for the Kings Cup had some tuning to do, and by mid day Saturday we were ready to do battle. We closed the gap to 4th overall at the close of the day on Saturday, and the race was still up for grabs. Unfortunately a miscommunication, and a late changing pit board, caused David to start his final moto late, extinguishing any hopes for a Kings Cup Podium. “I will be back in 2012, and I will be ready to claim a podium spot. After racing here once, this is my goal for 2012” quoted Cabrera after the races..

Eric Lagoupolis, a past veteran of the kings cup, had a week of ups and downs. A boat that ran to perfection at the World Finals in Lake Havasu, came out of the crate with troubles in Pattaya Beach. After 3 evenings of Test Rider Christine Milone, and Mechainc Louis Milone working out the bugs, we had the boat running at 90% by Saturday, but 90% was just not enough to claim Kings Cup Gold in 2011. Eric came home in 7th place, but vows to return and reclaim a podium spot in 2012.

All in all it was a spectacular time for the team. The race site was spectacular, the hospitality of the Thai people is second to none in the world, and this would be a great time to thank Team Flamingo Thailand for the use of some “Man Power” for moving boats around without our normal 4 Wheelers and Totes to use. We would also Like to Thank Sam and his Family of Motor Field of Bankok for their hospitality, and logistics coordination, without them this would not be possible. Last I want to thank our Sponsors that made this all possible: Jettribe and Tony Vo, Tial Sport Turbochargers and Gregg Jones, RIVA Racing and Dave Bamdas, and last Champion Motorsport and Naveen Maraj.

We are already planning for 2012, hope to see you there.