One of the best things about sport is seeing new stars emerge and take the world by storm, and it is no different in Powerboat P1’s thrilling P1 AquaX championship.
The international personal watercraft (PWC) series has seen a whole host of high-octane action take place on the water this season, with four rookie riders finding themselves right at the heart of the action. Before joining the Pro Enduro Class all rookies are vetted to ensure they meet the necessary standards, and for Christian Daly, Sophie Francis, Carlito Del Valle and Cody Tetreault, their debut seasons have certainly not gone unnoticed.
Having arrived in the series on the back of an extremely successful 2017 amateur season, last year saw Christian crowned both national and world champion. Racing for well-known tourist board, Visit St. Pete/Clearwater, Christian is currently 8th in season points, the only rookie inside the top ten.
Christian discussed how his first season at the highest level of the sport has gone saying:
“The biggest challenge for me has been getting used to the amount of power the boats have and the competition is a lot fiercer up at the pro level. Having that amount of power in the boats, makes it that much more critical in choosing the correct race line, and perfecting your race craft out on the course.”
“My season started out a little rough, but I have learned a lot from each race and feel like I am improving as the season goes on. The first race of the season was definitely an eye opener. As a team, we were still getting the boat dialled in, but we were still able to pull off a 16th. Unfortunately, my weekend in St. Pete was not so successful. I had an accident early on and that ended my weekend. Sarasota was really the game changer race for me. It has been my best finish so far, securing a top five finish overall, becoming the top rookie this season and sitting 8th in points. My goal for the season is to podium finish, and for a top five in overall points for the season.”
The only female rider in this season’s Pro Enduro Class is British star Sophie Francis. One of the most hotly anticipated riders in the event, Sophie, who races for Broward Motorsports and Gallagher has already made history by becoming the first woman to ever win a 300AM race in P1 AquaX. Sophie’s husband also happens to be the current World Ranked number 1 racer, Eric Francis.
Sophie has reflected on her first season as a Pro in P1 AquaX, saying: “It was a difficult start to the season as I transitioned from a Yamaha FX to a Yamaha GP 1800, it was a big change as they are two completely different skis. The FX was better for my riding style, whereas I
had to change the way I ride to adjust to the GP 1800. I also had to gain more confidence in the start as every professional rider is equally as fast as one another so it’s a fight to the first turn. Overall, I am learning and gaining experience with each race which will help me to become a better racer.”
“My goal that I have set myself for the rest of the 2018 season is to finish in the top 10. Also, to be consistent each race, as consistency is what keeps you at the top. Each race, I aim for someone who’s a challenge to beat which pushes me even more to do better.”
Racing for his own team, CRT, Carlito Del Valle has been involved with Powerboat P1 since 2014, but only turned Pro in the P1 AquaX event this season. The Cuban American rider has a background in drag racing and you could say that marine water sports is in his blood as his father was a champion jet ski racer. Carlito has a passion for all things water sport and even owns his own jet ski repair shop.
Carlito discussed how his first season as a pro has gone: “I am in a good position right now only three points away from Christian in the Pro/Rookie standings. I just need to stay focused, continue training and not make any mistakes on the race course and I know I can make it happen."
He continued: “My ski is running well, and I am looking forward to Chicago and then coming back to my back yard for the final race in November. The series is great, I have learned a lot and I keep getting better."
A member of the Broward Motorsports team, Cody has raced for them for almost a year, prior to that he rode for Greater Yamaha and has also had a great start to life as a Pro rider.
Cody discussed how his career in the sport has gone so far: “I’ve been fortunate to have one of, if not the best crews in AquaX. I feel like I’ve had Pro treatment since the beginning. They’ve been with me since day one in my race career and have followed me in my journey to the Pro class adding on to an already incredible team with Broward Motorsports and Deans Team.”
“Unfortunately, this year has not been going as planned for me with collisions in the first and second round, but we are keeping an optimistic attitude and looking forward to rest of the year. Right now, my goal would be to keep consistently moving up in the pro ranks and finish off the year with myself and boat in one piece.”
Powerboat P1 are always encouraging new and rookie riders to get involved in the sport, and P1’s USA Championship manager, Michelle Petro talked about the benefit of amateur riders moving to the Pro class.
She said: “It is always great to see the progress of riders from amateur to Pro. Bringing new names into the sport helps to keep it fresh and competitive and all four of this year’s rookies
in the P1 AquaX Pro Enduro Class have had a great impact on the sport. They have all performed incredibly well and we are excited to see what they contribute to the racing going forward, as well as which new Pros will enter the sport in 2019.”