Australia’s Jamie Whincup,is now arguably the fastest ambassador - whether on land or sea.
Every time he’s on the track, the four times Bathurst winner and quadruple V8 Supercars champion unleashes around 650 horsepower rev limited to 7,500 rpm in a race car built by Triple Eight Race Engineering.
But while Jamie has moved seamlessly between Fords and Holdens to win his land titles, when he wants to get the G-forces pulsating on the water, he always heads for one of his three Yamaha PWC’s – a super comfortable tourer; a racing-inspired sports model and a radical freestyling stunt machine.
That’s why the man who currently leads the V8 Supercars title chase for 2013, now can add ‘Yamaha ambassador’ to his list of credentials. Jamie’s relationship with Yamaha began in his mid teens when he saved $2,500 and purchased a second hand WR250 off road motorcycle which he owned for a couple of years 'hooking around the bush' at King Lake, east of Melbourne.
He then upgraded to a Yamaha YZ250 for his off-road riding, before later moving to the Gold Coast to advance his motorsport career.'On the Gold Coast, the surf was much closer than the bush – just 10 minutes away – so I bought a Yamaha Superjet Waverunner,' Jamie said.
'I had the Superjet for about three years. I convinced my friends around me to get them as well - there were about five or six of us with them at one time.'One of those other Yamaha Superjet riders was Paul Dumbrell who will team up with Jamie for the Bathurst endurance race this year.
Jamie’s fleet of Yamaha PWC’s comprises an FX SHO three seater Waverunner with touring features such as cruise control, a ‘no wake’ function and bow trim control for maximum ride comfort; a race-bred ultra-sharp handling FZR two seater which uses the same super-charged 1812cc engine; and a stand up and freestyle riding Superjet ideal for radical and trick manoeuvres.
'I use my Waverunners as a training tool,' Jamie said. 'We’re massively limited about how many days we can drive the race car so I use my Yamahas to keep my brain sharp.'My usual trip is around South Stradbroke Island,' he said.'I head out from my place at Hope Island, head down the Broadwater and out the Southport Seaway and then up along the eastern side of the island. I come back through the Jumpinpin Bar at the northern end of the island and then back down the Broadwater.'
'It’s about a two hour ride including messing around and jumping a few waves.'After about an hour’s hard riding, my body starts to feel a little fatigued and my brain starts to fatigue. I find myself making little mistakes – hitting a wave at slightly the wrong angle, maybe holding the throttle open while I’m in the air. It’s great training for concentration.'
'On other days, I like having my girlfriend on the back of a Waverunner and riding down behind Marina Mirage on the Southport Spit. We pull up near the trawlers, grab a kilo of prawns, ride over to a quiet beach, peel the prawns and eat them – it’s fantastic.'
'Sometimes we’ll get dressed in casual clothes and ride up to a fantastic little pub up at Jacobs Well. That’s about 20 minutes from home, so we’ll moor up at the dock, go in and have a counter meal and then cruise home without even getting wet'.
'The biggest gain that you’ve got with Yamaha is reliability - without a doubt,' Jamie said.'Every model that Yamaha brings out, is a proven product. It’s so important – I’ve got such a busy schedule I can’t afford to have equipment that is going to let me down. Reliability is ultra important.'
Jamie’s Waverunners also log many miles on the road. As a barefoot water skier and talented wake board rider, he also welcomes the chance to return to the Albury-Wodonga reaches of the Murray River. I generally get three weeks off at the end of the year to catch up with family and friends, so I put my Waverunners in the back of the truck or behind whatever I’m driving down there.'
And another major difference between a V8 Supercar and a Yamaha Waverunner ... 'At the end of a great day, there’s only about 20 minutes cleanup washing a Waverunner down and running a chamois over it,' Jamie said.