Brian Baldwin wins in Michigan
Great weather and big crowds greeted the riders in Michigan City
Brian Baldwin Lucas Oil World ranked no.1 AquaX racer
Current Lucas Oil world ranked No. 1 extends his championship lead and Francis moves above MacClugage as the ‘big 3’ battle for the national title in Michigan City
Great weather and big crowds greeted the riders in Michigan City at the weekend as the national championship headed to Indiana for the third round. The world’s leading P1 AquaX racers had one eye on the waters of Lake Michigan and the other on the beautiful, crystal clear seas of The Bahamas as they continued the race to qualify for the World Championship in November. On the southern shore of the lake, Michigan City hosted a P1 AquaX event for the first time as the Great Lakes Grand Prix celebrated its 11th anniversary by serving up a double bill of world-class personal watercraft action and powerboat racing.
Reigning P1 Aquax US champion Eric Francis took an early lead in the opening race of the Pro Enduro class ahead of Christian Daly and team VSPC rider Daniel Wagner. Daly’s hopes of challenging for the lead were dashed within a couple of laps by mechanical gremlins, though he managed to complete the race to finish in 12th. Wagner also succumbed to mechanicals but was unable to finish the race. Francis maintained his lead despite coming under a pressure from a charging Brian Baldwin to secure maximum points. Baldwin fell back to third after attempting an ill-fated manoeuvre for the lead which left him spectacularly crashing out on the back straight. Chris MacClugage suffered a poor start, but made his way through the pack to finish in second place.
Race 2 saw Christian Daly back on track and firing on all cylinders to holeshot from the outside of the grid followed by Francis and Baldwin. As the race progressed Daly looked decidedly fresher than the rest of the field and inched out a lead over Francis. Once again Baldwin was the man on the move and by the halfway point he was all over Francis. The two battled through the back markers, putting on a great display for the thousands of spectators watching from Michigan State Beach, before Baldwin pushed by to take second place and begin the hunt for Daly. Baldwin caught the young rising star, but Daly was in control and took his second race win of the series as the riders continue the Race To The Bahamas World Championship.
Going into Sunday’s third and final race, Eric Francis had a 5-point lead over USA championship leader Brian Baldwin in the battle for the 2019 Great Lakes Grand Prix title , but when the flag dropped it was race 2 winner Christian Daley who grabbed the early lead with Chris MacClugage a close second. Baldwin slipped into third ahead of Saxon and Francis. As the race progressed the conditions, although calm by normal AquaX standards, chopped up and caught out Daly on lap 3 sending him into the lake and losing half a lap to the leaders.
Francis took time to find his rhythm but then dismissed Saxon and in doing so posted the fastest lap of the race, but the time spent behind Saxon meant the overall result of the Grand Prix was firmly in Baldwin’s hands. If Baldwin managed to make the pass on MacClugage it would be enough to draw level on points with Francis and take his first overall championship win of the season. As the race came to a close, lapped traffic and a couple big rollers gave Baldwin the chance he needed to make the pass. The man from North Carolina took the win and although MacClugage finished second a two-position penalty was applied due to a change of craft. The same penalty befell Tyler Hill, who finished in fourth and Chris Saxon in fifth elevating an ecstatic Eric Lagopoulos to the third spot on the podium behind Francis.
Micheal Bouchard took the overall in the Am Enduro Cup ahead of Canadian Dave Davidson and Michigan local Jason Lester.
The weekend saw three different race winners and the three rounds of this season’s championship have produced three different overall victors. It certainly is a hugely competitive series.
The riders can now enjoy a break before heading to Pensacola in early September, when Baldwin will be defending his 21-point lead and looking to travel to The Bahamas World Championship in November as the P1 AquaX USA champion.
Follow this link for the full results table