If reading a convoluted stream of consciousness to explain a long day isn’t your thing, we can make it easy on you: Eric Francis won Heat One and took second place in heat two by, literally, a second. The heat two winner was Vincent Thomas. Results through Day Seven can be downloaded here: inkaday7
Alain Martin pretty much just needs to finish a heat to wrap up the overall tomorrow.
IJSBA reports from Day Seven of the 2015 Inka Jetraid….kind of. Why “kind of”? Well, it is like this- a Raid is kind of a complicated thing. It is meant to be like a Dakar for Personal Watercraft Racing. A Raid intentionally is designed to have unintentional pitfalls. Would a Raid be meaningful if things went perfect over eight days of racing? Probably not. Would a Raid be a heavy challenge if all the stops were places with comfortable amenities and numerous resources? Probably not. Were some things on the edge of being questionable? Probably. Can competitors and organizers be proud of their accomplishments this week? Absolutely.
You have to be mentally tough to do a Raid. It is intended to be an adventure and, as mentioned above, the adventure is not meant to be comfortable. As much as being athletic and having a well tuned machine, what is being tested is your resourcefulness while being on the road. Being on the road for ten days is a lot for most people. Being on the road, away from all of your regular comforts of your home environment can really play tricks on your mind. You will become closer to the people around you, whether you like them or not, your mind will wander when you have hours to think when you are not otherwise distracted. Those things can be your finances, your direction in life, a relationship at home, or things cannot even believe have crossed your mind. Things you see will trigger memories of people and things you have not thought about, sometimes in years, and the lack of distractions will keep you focused on them and you might realize you have swept thoughts under the rug that you are now having to deal with. Take that state of mind then put yourself in the merciless ocean having to maintain speeds, navigate waypoints, and find a path through some seriously brutal waves and you just start to get the perspective of what going through a Raid will be like. God help you if you have something unstable going, back home, with a person of the opposite sex (or same sex we don’t discriminate here, please don’t send hateful letters), that will really mess you up when you are on the road.
So, yes, that was an odd tangent, but it’s a real part of what this experience is about. You need to be mentally strong to stay focused and ride like a winner. The pressure of a competition is the real challenge of racing and most non-Raid events are just a day or two- and you are usually in a fixed beach and never venture out of eyesight from the shoreline. In addition to having a different state of mind at a Raid, you get totally detached, at times, from civilization because you can’t see it while you are competing- sometimes you can’t even see land. Even where you can make it to land, if you need to pull off to save the PWC, or just escape the race, or yourself, for a moment, you may not find solace as much of the coastline is desolate an uninhabited- even where you find structures they may be uninhabited and without electricity or other utilities. When you embark on a heat, you are committed to it. Keep reading, this has a point.
Now is where we explain why this is article is just “kind of” a report. Heat one left Cerra Azul a little bit after 10am. Within 15 minutes of the race departure, the bus and several personal support vehicles all left to meet the competitors at the halfway point or at the finish in Lima depending on what the fueling plans were for each rider. The IJSBA car left Cerra Azul slightly behind the rest of the vehicles due to the photo assignment by our hosts who have asked that we chronicle the social, tourist, and cultural aspects of Peru for this event. Somewhere, on the road, about 1/3 the way to Lima, a call came in and your monolingual Managing Director did not comprehend enough Spanish to understand what was going on but noticed that the car had turned around and the driving speed had increased significantly. When the phone call ended, it was disclosed that Paloma Noceda had broken down and we were going to assist in the recovery of her and her PWC which were floating, alone, well off the coastline, in rough ocean conditions. Did I mention we were towing a Sea-Doo Spark (Note to BRP Recreational Products, I am not knocking the Spark but it is not the PWC you would pick to go do an ocean retrieval of a heavy three seat runabout; look at it this way, I am publicly stating another brand broke down and a Sea-Doo Spark successfully was part of the rescue efforts)? The Lexus SUV easily flew down the freeway with the tiny Spark in tow- and quite comfortably, I might add- thank you Lexus. When the Lexus left the pavement, it powered perfectly through the sand and rough terrain pulling the Spark which was bucking like a rodeo bull on the back of the trailer. It took us a good 45 minutes to rendezvous with Paloma’s team and to get the Spark launched for the retrieval.
This is the point of all that rambling above. Paloma was floating way out in the ocean for at least an hour after breaking down. After her own team committed to the rescue efforts, no other marshal was dispatched. So, a support staff (actually from Kiko Chia’s team) retrieved Paloma on the Spark but left her racecraft in the ocean to be picked up by a bigger PWC (don’t forget, I am not criticizing the Spark). Paloma was brought in a good mile and a half down the beach from where the Spark had launched, so we all had to trek down there to pick her up. When we finally arrived, Paloma was safe and sound enjoying a lollipop (seriously), more upset , at this point, about breaking down in second place than anything. But, the time before that was exhausting. Any PWC rider who has broken down, in the middle of any body of water, knows that minutes feel like hours when you have nothing to relate to for your sense of time other than the endless rise and fall of the swells that are moving you around you. Without sight of land, you cannot tell if someone is closer or if people notice you. It is a very helpless feeling and can cause many people to slide into a panic. Paloma is mentally tough and so must you be if you ever become interested in accepting the challenge of a raid.
Ok, at this point, Paloma is on the beach and we are waiting for news of when her PWC was due when we got the news that the waves in our direction were too rough and the PWC has been delivered to a beach a couple more miles up the road. It is at this time that we discovered a flat tire on one of the vehicles and we couldn’t drive to get retrieve the beached PWC (her watercraft, the Spark, and now a course marshal who had not been briefed she was rescued and went to track her down using the coordinates reported from the Spot tracker on her PWC). The flat tire really should have been no surprise as the tires had been heavily abused in getting to the Paloma rendezvous point. The SUV went through some serious terrain, including major dunes, ruts, some garbage, and construction materials. In addition, the tires were exposed to an intense amount of heat navigating, at high throttle, to make it through the soft deep sand on the beach. At one point we were on such high, and fast, plane that hundreds, if not thousands, or orange spider crabs had to scramble for dear life as we rushed down their beach at a speed that barely gave them notice to get out of the way or to duck back into their pit. This whole rescue effort took more than four hours from the time it started. This is part of a Raid: challenges, unexpected problems, and relying on your own resourcefulness in some very desolate areas. Mental toughness, physical toughness, and determination are all required to survive a Raid. If you think you have it in you, you will indeed be in for an adventure of a lifetime.
Long story staying long, by the time we got back to Lima, all of the day’s racing was over and the only news we had was the results and the close finish between Vincent Thomas and second place, Eric Francis. Sorry to those of you who read this long and were expecting more of a story about the racing. More can be found on www.jetraidperu.com.
While we are here, IJSBA is tasked with the duty of bringing the public information about the places the Jetraid has traveled and what enjoyment the motorsports community might get from visiting these locations either as part of a race or just as a vacationer. Some of you have already guessed that some big things are getting ready to happen in South America, and Peru, for PWC Racing and we were brought here for the purposes of getting to know the areas and sharing them as well as helping to develop bigger events for the international competition community. Since the only place that was really visited, today, was Cerra Azul, we will recap some of the visit there.
Cerra Azul is a place you really do want to see, Raid or not. Anyone who has visited any of North America’s West Coast surf villages, especially those in Baja, Mexico, will find the same kind of charm and comfort in Cerra Azul. The town is actually very versatile. There is a traditional beachfront promenade, along the beach, full of small restaurants boasting the freshest seafood and discount Peruvian delicacies. The next street inland, the look of the town starts to resemble its early 1900’s origins. Aside from cars and electrical wires, one does not have to imagine too hard to envision James Arness, or Clint Eastwood, riding into town in search of a fugitive. Old Western daydreams aside, this is a surfers haven, and is the ideal place for the budget conscious looking to enjoy a fun, friendly, and rewarding vacation enjoying the beach lifestyle. The surf is great with regular, catchable, waves and is appropriate for both regular gun riders and longboarders alike. Cerra Azul is even mentioned in the early Beach Boys song “Surfin Safari” (Managing Director and big Brian Wilson fan’s note: I always thought the lyric was Sarasota (Florida), as opposed to Cerra Azul, so you really do learn something new by visiting these places. Quaint souviners, friendly people, beautiful views, and rice…lots of rice all await you her).
Keeping with our obligation to our hosts to inform you on all the destinations of the trip, I guess we can also tell you about the Miraflores district of Peru where the Lima host hotel, also a San Augustin, is located. This is a really fun and cute (yes, I said it, but it really is a cute place and, besides, I already used “quaint,” as an adjective, in this posting so there is no saving me now) borough of Lima full of casinos, boutique restaurants, coffee shops, pubs, and some really fun people. The only negative thing that could be said about the place is that this really awesome Cuban bar, where most of this report was written until now, totally put a sliced of jalapeno in a cocktail without clearly listing it as one of the ingredients on the menu. That very much sucked. They do that kind of thing in other countries, too, so we won’t hold it against Peru. Instead, we will just share some of these photos with you.
A rider makes his way to the start of Heat One of Day Seven in Cerra Azul, Peru.
The start of Heat One of Day Seven in Cerra Azul, Peru.
Two fish market stands have opened, selling freshly caught anchovies.
A local customer purchases freshly caught and gutted anchovies.
The Cerra Azul town center in its full spaghetti western magnificence.
“And sheeeeeeeeeee’s okay, folks.” Paloma Noceda’s husband gives a thumbs up indicating her successful rescue while she has a lollipop and discusses any chance for regaining points following her equipment failure.
The closest civilization to Paloma’s retrieval point.
Paloma’s PWC was retrieved in a bay of private luxury homes near Asia Beach. Mechanics give it one last attempt at getting her back in the race.
On the way back to Lima, brave souls, in parachutes, dropped from the sky into a field adjacent to the highway.
When the “operation rescue Paloma” team arrived back in Lima, the racing had already concluded and some PWC were already being packaged for the trip back to their country of origin.
Espresso and an empanada in Miraflores, Lima, Peru