The 2012 P1 AquaX Championship is set to take place over the weekend of 15th-16th September with Britain's premier jet-ski riders competing at the Olympic sailing venue of Weymouth in nine days of action packed racing.
Arguably the fastest growing type of motorsport in the UK at present, AquaX has enjoyed a sensational year with huge entry lists and outstanding racing over the first four events in Plymouth, Hull, Eastbourne and Cowes on the Isle of Wight.
Heading into the final race meeting of the season, the most clear-cut of the championship battles is in the blue riband 300 Class in which reigning title holder Russell Marmon (Christchurch) has a substantial 27 point lead over fellow Kawasaki 300 rider Tim Batte (Hinckley).
Maximum scores in the last two events, Eastbourne and Cowes, have seen Marmon (pictured above) extend his lead but for front-running rival Jim Goodchild (Hemel Hempstead) a nightmare weekend in Cowes, where bodywork damage resulted in water being ingested into his ski’s engine, resulted in a drop to third in the standings.
Looking ahead to Weymouth, Marmon commented: 'I'm basically aiming to ride smart races and not do anything too silly although, having said that, I am there to be competitive and to win so I won't be taking things easy.
'I won't be changing my style of riding, it'll be another day at the office really - I'll carry on doing what I'm doing but the important thing will be to get a good starting position in qualifying. I have got a buffer on points but I don't want to win the title by coming second or third, I want to win the races so I suppose it'll be business as usual!'
The three other classes, 250, 200 and the Sea-Doo Challenge, are all unbelievably tight going into the final weekend of the championship and the destiny of each title is almost certain to be decided in the last of the Weymouth races.
Just a single point separates the top two riders in the 250 Class with Kawasaki Ultra 250 rider Dave Huddleston (Milton Keynes), who is unbeaten over the last three events, topping the table ahead of the similarly mounted Mat Shipley (Seaford). Sea-Doo RXP-X 255 racer Rob Sired (Littlehampton) is third but some 30 points adrift of Huddleston.
Duncan Johnstone (Fareham) leads the way in the 200 Class and the 2011 champion is on course to make it back-to-back titles, although the Yamaha FX 160 rider only has a six point lead over Khris Leach (Maidstone) – the Kawasaki Ultra 150 racer claiming a maximum score in Cowes last month.
Interestingly, should Leach do the double in Weymouth with Johnstone finishing second in each race, the pair would tie on points but Leach would be the champion on countback by virtue of what would be six wins to Johnstone’s four.
In the Sea-Doo Challenge, in which there has been some tremendously close action, Steve Robinson (Hedon) has a seven point lead on overall scores from multiple saloon car racing champion Paul Rivett (Banstead) who is trying his hand at competitive offshore jet-ski racing for the first time this year.
The ever-improving Rivett has won the last five races and with the eventual Sea-Doo Challenge title winner to be determined from each rider’s best four scores, the three-time AirAsia Renault UK Clio Cup Champion – who is currently second in that series – could well become the first British sportsman to win titles in the same year on track and on sea.
There will also be a new face in the Aqua X line-up in Weymouth with John Heath (Southampton) making his full-competition debut. As a member of the Solent Skiers club, Heath is a good friend of 200 Class title challenger Duncan Johnstone and is hoping to use next weekend’s races as a potential springboard to a full campaign in 2013.
Joining the stars of P1 AquaX in Weymouth will be their racing counterparts from the UK’s top national powerboat championship, P1 SuperStock, for what promises to be a sensational, free-to-view event for all sports fans on the south coast.
Saturday, 15th September: 12.00hrs Qualifying race; 14.30hrs race 1
Sunday, 16th September: 13.30hrs race 2 followed by podium presentation at the Powerboat P1 race centre located on Weymouth Pier.
P1 AquaX website
by Simon North / P1 AquaX
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8:40 PM Thu 6 Sep 2012GMT
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