11-01-2013, 04:46 PM #1
Despite his injury, Rick Sherker takes the WIN!
2013 China Asian Aquabike Race Recap
With the details of this trip finalized just two weeks before departure, it was surreal to find myself on the other side of the world just after World Finals. A special thanks to Carson Bachalder who worked out the details to make it happen. It’s hard to believe a Jet Ski and being a member of the Jettribe Racing Team has opened up so much opportunity for me, allowing me to visit countries that I would otherwise not have been able to visit. It was a great honor to represent the United States in China and has definitely been a highlight of my racing career. And now I write this as I'm on my first leg of a long trip back home to report this great experience.
Upon arrival each Team USA rider was greeted by volunteers who got us on route to the host hotel in Qinzhou. Once there, we had a day to work on our skis and check out the race site. Thursday was practice and technical inspection, Friday was qualifying, Saturday was moto 1, and Sunday was the Final/moto 2.
The race site was large with a sandy beach and had tents set up for each country to pit in. It was a beautiful location and had the capacity for a lot of spectators, an ideal race site.
The course was not typical of a closed course race course here in the United States. It had similarities, in that it was a left handed course, with a four buoy split on the left side and a series of double and single buoy turns on the right hand side. The difference was in the long length of the back and front straights. This course was kind of a hybrid of closed course and endurance racing with the long straights and long moto's that lasted 15 minutes plus a lap for ski and 20 minutes plus a lap for runabout. Even freestyle was extended with a 3 minute final routine.
Come Friday it was time for qualifying, which was based on your fastest lap. You had 10 minutes during race like conditions with everyone on the track at the same time, to try and get your best hot lap in. I had my best lap on lap one of scoring when the water was the smoothest which was enough for the top qualifying spot.
So on Saturday, that put me in the front row for the rolling start system they used at this event. Unfamiliar with the whole starting system, I played it safe and didn't get a good jump on the start. I found myself chasing down Nattakorn Pupakdee for the lead a few laps into the race when I ended up crashing hard on the front straight, getting disconnected with my ski and found myself swimming back to it. I was able to manage to get back on and into the race to salvage a second place finish with what I thought was just a bruised up and sore knee after catching it on the handlepole (I think) during ejection. Upon finishing, I noticed a small razor like slice in the knee of my wetsuit and then found a much larger cut in my knee upon removing it. After seeing the medic, I was rushed to the local Chinese hospital along with two volunteers who acted as interpreters and Tony Vo of Jettribe. Although it was not the ideal way to spend Saturday afternoon, everything went good at the hospital. I had a great Dr. who quickly got me cleaned and stitched up and back on the road to the race sight while Tony was able kept me laughing and took no shame in promoting Jettribe from my pain with multiple photos during the process, LOL. When I got back to the site Jeremy parr and Johnny Leftly already had my ski up at the tent all flushed and sprayed down as they didn't know if I would be returning. In fact Jeremy's wife was just finishing up wiping it down with spray polish when I got there.... Big, big thanks to all of them, it meant a lot!
On Sunday, other then the initial distraction of having to wrap my leg up in plastic wrap and tape to avoid infection, and trying to keep it out of the water, the stitches were not a factor once the race started. Nattakorn and I had another great battle going when a few laps in he broke down, I believe a broken spark plug, when we were side by side going down the front straight, Which gave me the lead and eventually the moto and overall win. It was a great feeling to do so in front of the largest crowd I've ever raced in front of.
The awards had a huge crowd as well and were done first class. When called to the podium I received a wreath around my neck, was presented with a large cardboard check, a certificate of the award, a beautiful trophy, and finally a large bottle of champagne to celebrate. It was a great way to close an awesome event... I look forward to any opportunities in the future to race in China!
11-13-2013, 04:51 PM #2
- Join Date
- Jan 2006
- Rydal, Georgia U S A
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