AquaX is the fastest growing personal watercraft championship in the world. Its rapid growth is owed to a simple, yet challenging race format that appeals to todays personal watercraft users.
This year the program will include the unveiling of a professional level race series and expansion of two further championships in the Great Lakes region of the USA and in Southeast Asia.
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The AquaX series was created with the intention of testing the stamina and mental strength of the very best jet ski racers on the planet and the series has met its match with Jay Edworthy.
The Canadian racer, who has been competing in the AquaX series full-time since 2016, pushed the limits at the most recent round of racing in Chicago by completing seven races across a weekend.
To put that in perspective, that’s three and a half hours of racing in some of the most brutal conditions the AquaX series has ever seen with Lake Michigan’s inconsistent waves bouncing back off the harbour wall.
Whilst some racers could only manage one race all weekend, Edworthy competed in seven, collecting his second straight North East Series title in the process and ensuring his top ten position in the Pro Series stayed under control.
So just what did it take to finish seven races in Chicago? Edworthy knows it was some achievement but he wasn’t thinking about it until that final checkered flag had dropped.
“I didn’t really think about how many races I was racing until it was over,” said Edworthy. “I am not going to say that it was easy because it was not.”
“The water conditions that we were faced with made it more challenging, but I never back down from a challenge. I began suffering from fatigue and felt like I was not riding 100% by the fourth race but I tried to keep focused on what I wanted to accomplish.
“The JetX team motivated me between races and made sure that I had what I needed to go out there and do what I needed to do to win, and that’s exactly what we did.”
It was a great weekend for the Canadian contingent as friend and teammate Dave Davidson claimed his first weekend victory as an AquaX sit down racer and Edworthy believes racing up on the Great Lakes gave the two of them an advantage over the Florida racers.
“The conditions on Lake Michigan the weekend of the race were very aggressive. What a spectator would see from shore was definitely not the same as what you found yourself competing in on the water. Not only was the water hard to read but it was fairly cold that weekend making it an even more difficult race.
I definitely have a lot to compare AquaX to and let me tell you there is no comparison
“I would say that being able to consistently train on Lake Ontario gave the Canadian riders a little bit of an advantage. Both the water conditions on Lake Michigan and the weather conditions are definitely very similar to Lake Ontario, which is something we are used to. I personally had a harder time acclimatizing my self to the heat and water conditions during the Florida races and I know for a fact that some of the Florida guys had a hard time with the colder weather in Chicago because it is something that they are not used to.”
Edworthy stepped up into the Pro class at the beginning of the year and has thrived, picking up a total of 91 points and, in turn, putting himself inside the top ten, no mean feat when you consider the class of the opposition, something Edworthy says can’t be compared to any other series in the world.
“Having been a racer for so long and competed in so many different tours over the years I definitely have a lot to compare AquaX to, and let me tell you there is no comparison.
“Racing AquaX requires a whole other level of skill, talent and endurance. They pride themselves on providing an even platform for racers to compete in and they definitely try their best to ensure that this standard of practice is met at every race.
“It really doesn’t matter if you’re racing in Pro or Pro-Am, in either class you will be racing against the best in the world each and every time.”
So with just one round of the Pro Series to go before the inaugural AquaX World Championships in Key West, what are Edworthy’s goals? And how long will it be before we see Edworthy on the top step of the podium?
“My team [JetX] and I set out to be top ten at the beginning of this year and at the moment we are ranked 9th - a big change from last season’s rankings.
“We will be competing in Fort Lauderdale in November and again at the World Championships in December and plan on ending this year’s season as strong as when we started.
“The competition during each Pro race is always world class - any of those races could easily be a World Championship race. Every racer leaves everything they have on the racecourse making it that much more difficult.
“I would love to come out on top, like every other racer. JetX, Ryan Dalli and myself will continue to push hard and make our presence known but we have also always prided ourselves in making sure we always have a good time doing what we love to do.”
Being an independent race team has meant the JetX team have had to travel from Canada down to Florida without manufacturer support, something he couldn’t do without the help of Ryan Dalli.
“Our teammate Sal Mango said recently, “to live a Rockstar life, you have to have a Rockstar salary.” We all thought that the comment was really funny because it is so true.
“We are an independent race team that manages to travel thousands of kilometres each way to attend AquaX races without any manufacturer support. That being said, we would like to thank RIVA and HyrdoTurf for all that they have helped us with this season.
“In this team we race our own boats and Ryan at JetX, on his own time, makes sure all of our equipment is good to go for every race and when that is done you will see him helping out everyone he can at the race site.
“Outside of racing I live a pretty normal life, get up and go to work like everyone else to ensure that I can continue to travel for racing. On my time off, which is usually Sundays, we all enjoy getting together as a team and setting up buoys and riding together in order to practice for the next race and show some of the younger team members the ropes.”
Catch Edworthy at the final round of the 2017 Pro Series in Ft Lauderdale on 18/19 November.