MacClugage impresses in Fort Lauderdale but Francis is crowned P1 AquaX national champion
West Palm Beach native Eric “The Eagle” Francis took the overall US national championship title after an action-packed weekend at Fort Lauderdale Beach which saw the climax of the 2018 P1 AquaX season.
Francis entered the weekend knowing if he made points-scoring finishes in every race he would be crowned US national champion, taking over from the weekend victor Chris MacClugage. Consistency was key to Francis’ weekend and he did enough to take the title for a second time.
A jubilant Francis said: “It’s been a long time coming. I was champion in 2014 and I’ve been the world rankings leader for several years without taking a title, so it’s great to be both World Number One and the US National champion. The conditions were really rough but this is homefield advantage as I’m used to training here. I love Fort Lauderdale Beach – it’s beautiful and you couldn’t pick a better place!”
The second day of the Rip It Fort Lauderdale Grand Prix saw clear blue skies and a light wind, an improvement from the first day’s weather. The choppy waters remained, causing both amateur and professional riders trouble.
Legendary personal watercraft racer Chris MacClugage had taken maximum points from the first two Pro Enduro races on the opening day. However, his dominance was put into question in race three, with North Carolina’s world champion Brian Baldwin swapping places with him at the top of the leader board throughout. Eventually, Baldwin’s RIVA racing Yamaha GP1800 came out on top with the Broward Motorsports rider unable to deal with his rival.
In race four, Francis took the final Pro Enduro victory of the year, with MacClugage topping the podium for the weekend, Eric Francis taking second overall and Mike Klippenstein, having flown down to South Florida from Canada, taking third place.
Christian Daly secured the Rookie of the Year award, after a consistent weekend brought his first professional season to a strong close.
The Amateur 300 class saw Justin Taylor take his second race win of the weekend in the third race, before Jason Lester took home the victory in final race of the 2018 season. Yaniel Fiallo was crowned 2018 champion.
Jose Luis Gonzalez won the outright Am200 national championship despite finishing second to Scott Reeves.
In the Sprint races, overall winners included Jason Lester in the Sport/Spark section. The Ski was dominated by Mike Klippenstein, appearing on the podium for a second time.