Dear PWC Racing Community,
A few weeks have passed since the 2005 IJSBA World Finals and we are now getting back to speed over here at the office. It seems that there is as much work into wrapping this up as there is to putting the event on. I, once again, would like to thank everyone for all of their tremendous efforts into making this event possible. I truly believe that this event was the most important event in the history of PWC racing as our community was able to demonstrate that the event is strong enough to stand on its own by everyone pulling together.
We were able to enjoy a very nice event without beholding to a single large financial contributor. Because we have proven that the event can survive without being carried, many contributors now see that they can have meaningful participation as an investor in the sport, and not just giving the event a hand out. This event, and the sport as a whole, belongs to the aggregate PWC community which includes racers, recreational enthusiasts, and producers of both aftermarket and OEM components. We all have something to gain from the success of the World Finals and all have something to lose if the event should fail. Fortunately, the event has a strong and prosperous future ahead and this means great things for the PWC racing community.
So, it is the beginning of winter and everyone wants to know what is going on and what is happening for 2006. When I first took the position of managing director, I announced that I would concentrate on three individual cannons: improved communication, cost control, and predictability. I feel that focusing attention here, along with some responsible business planning, will help to provide the sport with a sustainable future. The winter will be spent solidifying the channels of communication along with making it even easier to get responses from IJSBA administrators and pushing forward with implementing the committee process.
By dividing the workload at the IJSBA office, I will be able to return calls and emails more promptly. I think our current “turnaround time” for calls and emails is pretty good, but there is always room for improvement. Many people have commented that they feel communication has improved. I am pleased and appreciate these comments. I assure you that these comments will not result in complacency, we will continuously strive to give you the most proactive association that is possible.
Cost control will remain a top priority. As of today, this sport is a participant driven sport. The principal reason for all PWC events, especially the World Finals, is to provide a venue and activity for the PWC riders. As the events are for the riders, the riders, directly or indirectly, assume the bulk cost of putting on the event. By keeping costs down, we will ultimately keep money in the pockets of the rider and, by doing so, we allow the rider to participate in more PWC events. One of the ways that we will be looking to control costs is to manage the transition from two stroke to four stroke PWC as the core of the sport.
The IJSBA seeks to work with the manufacturers, riders, and aftermarket producers to ensure that the inclusion of four stroke watercraft into the competition family does not come with instant high costs and displacement of established competitive watercraft. The IJSBA believes that solutions are better than showdowns and we are beginning to circulate some thoughts and ideas on how to best manage the inclusion. Some of you are sending your ideas in to us. We should have some drafts on the table within the next couple of weeks. Some of the ideas being tossed around are temporary modifications to stock two stroke PWC and/or the use of flow plates (on both two and four stroke power plants) in all stock, limited, and juniors classes. Good ideas are not limited to anyone, and I would like to hear everyone’s input on this, and any other subject.
This sport is fortunate to be comprised of many talent people whose constant ingenuity brings rapid advances in PWC technology. The downside is that organized racing is positioned to have to balance between protecting the riders from constant cost advancements and avoiding the stifling of progress in technology. As new technology progresses, particularly the inclusion of four strokes (as a side note, do you realize that of the four principal IJSBA Manufacturer Members- Kawasaki, Bombardier, Honda, and Hydrospace- exactly half produce ONLY four stoke PWC??), the IJSBA must ensure that the progression of the rules governing PWC racing follow a natural and foreseeable path of evolution that allows participants to stay in the sport and displace the cost of staying competitive over a few working seasons.
At the same time, we must embrace the new technologies offered by our producer members. We are working to make sure that we introduce a four stroke system that will have cost controls built into the racing regulations and that the racers will be faced with future rule book updates that make intelligent and predictable modifications to the existing racing formula. Improved communication should help the transition every year.
We are currently working on the 2006 schedule. We will announce the dates and location of the 2006 World Finals within the next few weeks. We are evaluating many factors in our decision on where to hold the event. It is our goal to reshape the event as an admission free event that showcases the best racing on the planet along with the ultimate PWC vacation destination. The event venue needs to be affordable for participants and provide enough room to allow for practice and tuning not only during the event but in the weeks leading up to the event. Ideally, we would be in a location that would offer a plethora of potential spectators who would capitalize off of the admission free environment and attend in droves.
An admission free environment would offer more potential sales for vendors and opportunities for sponsors/vendors outside of the PWC industry to reach a more broad market. The host location will need to be one that can offer concessions that will allow for the event to be admission free.
We hope to soon announce the dates for the 2006 IJSBA World Tour. The tour is slated to be comprised of six stops outside of the US and one round, for double points, as part of the 2006 World Finals. ProAm Runabout Open, ProAm Ski Open, and Pro Freestlye are the designated classes of which the World Championship shall be decided by the World Tour. Competitors shall be allowed to apply points from no more than 3-4 events of the World Tour, including the double points final round. The champion shall be that person who has the most total points after the calculations.
The IJSBA is also planning a 2006 Motosurf Nationals tour which will feature a Pro runabout and Pro Ski championship along with some support classes. US Amateur Ski and Runabout National Championships shall continue be granted through the US affiliate, the APBA. The IJSBA also plans to put on some quasi-recreational events and some sanctioned events such as drag racing and Four Stroke Challenges. With the IJSBA exploring new event opportunities, we can test what is marketable and of interest to the PWC community that has not yet discovered racing. Once these events are established, promoters can offer them as part of their events.
The promoters can currently concentrate their resources on promoting the current race structure while the IJSBA takes the risk of discovering what new methods will and will not work. This path should help grow the sport and strengthen the promoters by reducing their financial risks.
The IJSBA is celebrating a quarter century of serving the PWC community. The IJSBA is the world’s entity for providing uniformed professional racing. It is my pleasure to helm the association which brings together the various groups of the PWC community into a common sport.
Customer service is my highest priority. I will be in Toronto for a few days helping with the completion of the 2006 World Finals DVD so that is available for the Christmas season. Afterwards, I will be at the office frequently and will be available to assist all of you with your plans for the upcoming season. Please feel free to call me or email me for any reason. I will be providing updates, at least monthly, during the off-season.
IJSBA Managing Director