The end to another great trip to the Kings Cup in Thailand to help support JETTRIBE and team U.S.A. I have to start off and say that every racer who loves the sport of jetskiing and the excitement of a world class event should give this a try. Imagine an event more diversified and every bit as competitive as the World Finals, where country sponsored teams are among those competing for pride, and the coveted solid silver kings cup. Toss in some substantial prize money, like $ 33,000 for the premier class win, and you have the making of what I would call the Olympics of water cross. Pits are set up for each competing country along with a banner and country flag and whenever a competitor wins the final they play their countries anthem !!!!. As an American visiting this event I am humbled. The Thai people treated us like royalty.
I flew in with pro ski racer, Rick Sherker, fresh off a win at the Chinese championships. We flew in a day early to acclimate ourselves to the time zone and local food and in case the ski and equipment shipped here after the IJSBA World Finals needed some work. We met up with fellow JETTRIBE USA Team Rider Corey Heimann as well as the Australian JETTRIBE Team rider Jamie Lee Spence and her very hard working dad, Brad. They were followed by the rest of the JETTRIBE USA team including John Cutright, who took some truly great pictures of the entire event, Derek Correll, our southern redneck who has more friends and connections there than most locals, and who is there for us to hold, wrench, or in general can take one for the team to keep things rolling !!! Of course the JETTRIBE top dog, Tony Vo and 9 of his crew flew to help get the skis on the line and provided some fantastic gear, very professional banners for the tent, new pit shirts and team USA t-shirts and introduce us to just about everyone, as well as showing us some of the new JETTRIBE gear coming out in 2014 !! We also saw JETTRIBE China Team mate “Wudy” and his crew as well and by the end of the trip we had assimilated some of the Thai team onto our crew.
Now to racing, which included some of the top names in the world. The racing was 4 moto - highest points format with the last race breaking any ties. Jamie Lee, by far the most improved racer inn the team, and probably at the entire event, held her form and tight lines on her borrowed stock Kawasaki SXR to finish 3rd in pro am woman's ski' competing against a line of limited Hydrospaces ( go 2 stroke!!!!!!) as well as taking 4th in 2 stroke stock. Corey ripped up the first moto and ended up 3rd in Expert vets runabout open. Rick Sherker ripped off the line (with help from his world class holder) taking 3 of 4 hole shots on his split and one overall. Unfortunately the Thailand jynx struck again and rick was stricken by some type of Thailand plague causing him to drop to 7th overall.
After racing and packing the ski we headed to the awards. Now this is truly a world class event with speeches from the TJSBA and local politicians as well as presentations from the king of Thailand's representative. The Jettribe showing at the awards was impressive and we were the most unified team in the room, all wearing the new pit shirts and taking up almost 2 tables. After awards we headed out for a bite to eat and a nice night out on the town.
Also I would like to mention some others who helped out. Sam, Jettribe Thai long time friend and distributor helped with some repairs, team Ireland, John “two stroke” Sherwood and his son David (who raced after being off a ski for years) for helping us in the pits and providing a lot of laughs, Justin of Just Burgers (he is Thailand's burger king) for keeping us fed with good old American food and refreshments and helping us find some meds for rick.
To wrap it up it was an experience of a life time and it will be and has been my annual trip. Next stop is our Team Jettribe R and R tour of duty in Vietnam. Stay tuned............