It looks like we just might be racing in 2021. So, it is time to get us up to speed and start preparing to get back to normal after a few months of cost saving hibernation. Up first is opening up the period to suggest an comment for the 2021. Considering that the COVID-19 Pandemic hit just as we were integrating things from 2019 to 2020 and we didn't really have a clear cut season, it is a subject of serious debate whether we should even have any rule changes. After all, the only seriously new development is the 2021 Yamaha Four Stroke Superjet (which we expect homologation paperwork to be completed any day now) and we already announced a special category which covers that back in August of 2020. If there is a debate on whether or not to have rule change discussions, this year, it can be a short one because there are too many new aftermarket products to consider and, for the last 40 some odd years, this sport has never been one to leave well enough alone. So, lets start the annual exercise we call the rule change period.
IJSBA is a non owned not for profit organization which is controlled by a board of directors appointed, in equal proportion, by the OEM manufacturers of Personal Watercraft. The board appoints a voting member to represent the PWC business outside of the OEM interest. The board has one President/Managing Director to oversee the company and this director has a vote in the governance of the organization. The IJSBA President compiles a list of questions, suggestions, and concerns from the PWC Racing Community and makes a list of recommendations to the IJSBA Board of Directors. The Board of Directors may decide to accept, reject, or modify and ratify any suggestions for rule changes. Board directors can (and do) come up with changes on their own during the process.
The IJSBA President's recommendation for rule changes will contain, at least, these five items:
1 . Expansion of the use of Kawasaki 1500cc Junior Restrictor Plates into other test categories:
A. Allowing Kawasaki STX-F varieties to use a restrictor plate and compete in 1100 Stock categories.
B. Allowing Kawasaki SX-R 15000 varieties, built to Superstock specifications to use a restrictor plate and compete in Mod Lites categories.
Rationale: IJSBA has announced the intention to use restrictor plates to cap top speed performance while continuing to allow the wide spread use of innovative aftermarket products and designs. We already have a well researched and used restrictor plate for the 1500 series platform and this expansion will allow IJSBA to further examine the use of such restriction devices outside of Junior category speed control. If successful, this will allow for fewer classes and increased opportunities for more participation in existing classes. Restrictor pates are about the easiest item for technical inspectors to evaluate as well.
2. Update of the skeg limitations on aftermarket rideplates for four stroke powered watercraft in Runabout and Ski categories.
Rationale: modern powered watercraft are heavier than the watercraft which existed when the original skeg rules were created. Modern hulls, designed to accommodate heavier engines may require more adjusted turning characteristics in a Closed Course environment. If successful, IJSBA expects to provide consistent handling characteristics, which competitors are traditionally accustomed, to newer PWC.
3. Update the sponson rules to allow for double bladed sponsons.
Rationale: IJSBA has received several inquiries whether a sponson can have two blades if certain criteria are met. If successful, IJSBA expects to clarify how a double bladed sponson can safely be used within specific parameters and dimensions.
4. Provide temporary and provisional exceptions to aftermarket hull allowances for Ski and Sport categories.
In 2019 IJSBA announced that all Ski and Sport top deck and hull configurations, that were not replica of the OEM design, would have to undergo a homologation process including minimum productions quantities, design review, widespread availability to the general public, and showing of commitment of longevity by the product producer. These restrictions were due to be implemented through 2020. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there was no activity on this provision.
Rationale: In order to encourage the continued growth of Ski and Sport classes which utilize aftermarket hulls, IJSBA intends to temporarily delay this requirement subject to temporary restrictions and the clear indication that this is a provisional allowance which could end after 2021. Halts in racing have slowed production and sales of aftermarket hulls and, if successful, IJSBA expects to help jump start these sales by introducing a somewhat less onerous process.
5. Allow hull extensions for Ski categories which have older hull designs.
Rationale: Some categories allow for the mixing of older and newer Ski PWC to race together. Modern Ski tend to be longer and heavier which can create advantageous handling and speed characteristics in many water conditions. If successful, IJSBA intends to increase some degree of parity of the older Ski with newer models in competition environments.
Please keep in mind that the above items are not new rules, they are subjects to be discussed which MAY become new rules. Now, it is your turn to do the same by writing in a clear and concise suggestion, or opinion, opposing a suggestion that has been presented or that you believe will be presented. On January 29, a list will be compiled for 5 days of final public comment. Then, all of the correspondence will be submitted to the IJSBA Board of Directors for action. Please take the time to discuss your suggestion or opposition and list out the objectives you believe your suggestion will accomplish. Some of you like to predicate your suggestion by telling us how dumb is the IJSBA and how our gross incompetence can only begin to be improved by the adoption of the rule that you, yourself, have just suggested. Please avoid such editorialization no matter how fun it is to write as it just makes compiling the input more complicated. Besides, you can see from the needless rhetoric that has been placed in this posting that such things really do not do much other than fill up screen space.
Please send your comments, by email, to email@example.com. Dont use e-mail? No problem. You can send a letter by parcel post to IJSBA, 790 Main Street, Second Floor, Half Moon Bay, CA 94019. Dont want to mail a letter? Still got you covered. You can call +1-(714) 751 8695 between 10:00 AM and 6:00 PM Pacific Standard Time (6:00PM to 2:00AM Greenwich Mean Time) and we will write it down for you.
Thank you for your participation and we look forward to serving you in 2021 and beyond.