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Thread: 1st round

  1. #1
    ROTAX RACING performance
    Join Date
    Apr 2005

    1st round


    Almost 160 riders gathered in San Javier, a nice little town located on the south-eastern Spanish coast, for the first round of the European Jet Ski Championship 2007 which took place on the second weekend of May. Even if the sun shone for the three days of race, there was a strong wind, which made this challenging track rougher despite being sheltered in a bay. As usual, a huge crowd attended the event and the pilots have offered a great show especially in both GP categories in which the starting grids were full. French pilots Jean-Baptiste BOTTI in the stand-up category and Franky ZAPATA in the R/A category made easy work of the track and leave Spain with a comfortable lead in both Ski GP and Runabout GP general rankings.

    Ski Novice
    This new category, which in the future may replace the Ski Stock class, but only open to two stroke watercraft is designed for the pilots with minimal race experience. At the opening round Spaniard Jaime RUIS was victorious in all three legs. His fellow countryman Federico FUSTER LOPEZ finishes second in front of the Englishman Paul WEBSTER. Only Kawasaki SXR machines were at the start.

    Ski Stock

    In this category three Hydrospaces monopolised the top of the rankings. Kevin Reiterer, the team manager’s son of the Austrian manufacturer, took highest step of the podium winning two out of three motos. However, the competition was fierce with the Frenchman Morgan PORET, winner of the second moto and leader of the third before making a mistake on the final lap and losing the lead and overall win to REITERER. His fellow countryman Edouard MENGUY finished third and shows that he will be a very active animator of the championship this year. Back in the European Championship, the Spaniard Kawasaki rider David SELLES places the first atmospheric two-stroke machine on the fourth position.

    Runabout Limited

    The battle was intense between both Laure HUMMEL and Fabio INCORVAIA’s Sea Doo. Finally, the duel turned to the advantage of the Italian who won two legs out of three. Unfortunately, the Spanish race may be the last confrontation between these two title pretenders as the Frenchwoman was disqualified by tech and where she announced she would stop competing in the European Championship. As a consequence of Hummel’s disqualification, the Italian Raffaele BENINI, also riding a Sea Doo, took the second place in front of the astonishing Spanish rider Amador FERRER at the handlebars of a GP 1300 Yamaha.

    Ski Limited

    As in the Ski Stock category, it was another 100% Hydrospace podium for the Ski Limited category.
    The first moto was dominated by the Italian Mirco MAZZA, however, the Frenchman and reigning champion of this class Brice LOPEZ showed that he was the boss right from the beginning of the second moto. The finals were very disputed. LOPEZ had to wait until the half of the race to overtake MAZZA who was very strong in Spain. In third, the young Valentin DARDILLAT, vice Junior World Champion in the Limited category, was the only other able to follow the pace imposed by the strongest men of the weekend. As a consequence, he takes the third place. Behind the trio, the Kawasaki pilots offered a real fight. The veteran Jim GOODCHILD did better than the others once again. The Englishman takes the fourth place in front of Jérémy PORET and the astonishing Lou EMPATZ, the 2006 Stock France Champion who made his first steps in Limited category as well as in the European Championship.

    Runabout Stock

    James BUSHELL is once again beyond reproach in San Javier. It has been two seasons since the Englishman is untouchable at the handlebars of his four-stroke RXP Sea Doo. Even if Benny GRIETEN, winner of the first moto got equipped with the same machine, the Belgian rider remains helpless facing the superiority of BUSHELL and finishes behind the latter. But in this category of the basic Jet Bikes, the surprise came from Angello BERTOZZI and his Ultra 250 Kawasaki. The talent of the pilot is well known but nobody thought that this three-seater machine could be in a position to struggle with the two-seater Sea Doo’s. But his two second places finishes and his final third place prove the contrary. With more experience on the machine, he could be able to fight the devilish BUSHELL.

    Ski Ladies Limited

    In the Ladies category, the significant fact of this first round of the European Championship was the presence of the Japanese Yuki Kurhasari who has been integrated into the Jet Shed team to compete for the whole season on the old continent. Admittedly, she has not really been brilliant finishing only seventh facing our fearsome european riders but she kept on smiling on the finish line and was rather confident. Another pilot had a wide smile on the podium was indeed, the Frenchwoman Julie BULTEAU who won for the first time on the Corona Extra European Jet Ski Championship with her Hydrospace in front of her fellow countrywoman Audrey DUJARDIN riding a Kawasaki and unbeaten for a long time. For her third season at the highest level of the competition, this is an exploit for the young girl from the northern French town of Lille. The Englishwoman Anya COLLEY who won the first moto and takes the third place behind the Frenchwomen. The “Pink Lady” and her Hydrospace has made a lot of progress over the winter and her role in this championship will be more than important as it is the case for the very young Portuguese rider Stefania BLAZER riding the same machine. For sure, this Ski Ladies category looks promising.

    Ski Vétéran Limited

    As it was the case last year, Jim GOODCHILD has undisputedly flown over the track. The Englishman places his Kawasaki on the highest step of the podium. He is followed by the Austrian Markus ERLACH and the Spaniard David SELLES, particularly on form for the beginning of the season. When you ask GOODCHILD, in his early forties, to reveal his secret to be on a such a good form, he answers:”Lisa”. Meaning Lisa BARSBY, his partner in life who also competed in the Veteran category and finished sixth among the boys and among girls too.

    Ski Junior Stock

    Once again, in this category for riders under sixteen, the Hydrospace have outclassed the other watercraft in the competition. Winning the first two motos, Charles MENGUY made a perfect start but a problem with a sensor in the final moto dropped him to last. He finally finished second. The winner of this Spanish weekend is the Croatian Branko BANOVIC who has not been the fastest but the steadiest during this wonderful Junior race. The Belgian Quinten BOSSCHE is on the third step of the podium thanks to his parents who give him the means to be brilliant.

    Runabout GP
    With 19 machines on the starting line in this category of GP R/A, Yves VAN HEERS and Franco DETORI had the right to be joyful in San Javier. Introduced last year, the idea of GP machines is to give greater possibilities to the engineering of hulls and motors. The one thing that casts a shadow was to know if thanks to technical evolutions the best riders of the European Championship would reach the level of the twice European Champion Franky ZAPATA. The answer still remains negative but some riders did manage to get closer and the gap is less noticeable than before. Of course, the Frenchman won this first round but it has been more complicated than it seemed to be after the individual timed leg on a track, which let the first opponent 6 seconds behind. Indeed, even if he has won the first and the third legs, the Frenchman has faced engine problems with his Sea Doo during the second round and finished only third. So James BUSHELL has taken advantage from the situation to win his first leg since Mirandella 2005. The Englishman, second in Spain at the handlebars of an over-vitaminated GTI Sea Doo, will certainly be the ZAPATA’s most dangerous opponent as well as Teddy PONS with his two-stroke Yamaha which has made considerable progress. The Frenchman, back after a broken elbow and who is not in the best form, finishes third after a harsh struggle with BUSHELL. Behind, boys like Angello BERTOZZI, Benny GRIETEN and Alexandre LOUVET on Sea Doo or Jerry JORISSEN and Emmanuel CANTAMESSA on Yamaha have shown a real potential and are likely to join the battle.

    Ski GP

    Right from the timed practices, we already had an idea of how the championship would take place: the season will be explosive. Beginning the session, Nicolas RIUS made a reference time on his Yamaha which was thought to be unbeatable. Moreover, Steven DAULIACH and Renaud URBAIN at the handlebars of performing Kawasaki jets had mechanical problems preventing them from finishing their run. Finally, only the thirteenth rider succeeded in beating Nicolas RIUS, running 0.20 seconds faster. Who was this rider? Jean-Baptiste BOTTI. The little Frenchman would not only be content with posting the fastest time but also and winning the three legs of closed race. Only Nicolas RIUS succeeded such an exploit in 2005. of course, the rider has worked hard last winter and his Kawasaki is really performing now but “JB” owes his victory to his consistency above all, facing opponents who have suffered many problems. Nicolas RIUS could not follow the pace because of electrical problems with his Yamaha.
    Alberto MONTI, third in practice, finished only sixth of the two first legs before breaking down in finals. Renaud URBAIN, after a great first leg during which he succeeded to catch the second place got hit in the second. Suffering from an enormous bruise, the Belgian was not at the start of the final leg. Ludovic CAUMONT was successful in the third leg only. Nico LESSELBERGER is not fast enough for the category at the moment. The only ones who did well and who succeeded to limit the damages facing Jean-Baptiste “The Storm” BOTTI are Steven DAULIACH on Kawasaki and Brice LOPEZ on Hydrospace, respectively second and third at the handlebars of Limited without forgetting the brave Michaël PORET who has been able to place his Kawasaki at the fourth rank in spite of a broken shoulder plate which is not mended yet. Some pilots have already lost precious points but with the return to the rule which does not take into account the three worst results of the season, everything remain possible for each of the animators of this Ski GP category. Full of promise!

  2. #2
    ph2ocraft's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Campbell, Ca.
    Excellent info, thanks!! I've been looking everywhere for results.

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