With the summer coming to an end and the weather cooling down …. this doesn’t mean you need to put your personal watercraft away for the next few winter months and let it collect dust, one option is to start getting ready and come winter endurance racing with us!
Winter endurance racing is a little different to the summer racing you will have seen all the photos of on here recently, Summer racing is all about short course and close action, Winter racing is all about big lakes, being fit and finishing! On average a lap could take you anything over five minutes to complete and there could be a back straight of over 400 metres. Most winter endurances are started with a rolling start, meaning you are not being shadowed by another rider and you can give yourself as much room as you like.
If I cast my mind back a few years I remember my first ever race event, it was Round One of the South Island Winter Series held 30 minutes South of Dunedin at Lake Waihola. It was a crisp Otago morning and I turned up as nervous as a cat in a room full of dogs, I didn’t really know a great deal about the race or racing so I stood back quietly and took it all in. I soon discovered I had chosen the right type of racing to start out in.
Up first were the pole ski’s (stand up skis) who ventured out into the big lake to compete for forty five minutes. I kept a close eye on them worried that I could forget how the track worked as i’d never done anything like this before, but after watching for a couple of laps I realised it wasn’t as hard as it looked. After realising this I went off and fueled up my ski and got into my wetsuit ready for my race.
Next up was the first of two forty five minute races for us sit-down skis. After a quick look lap where we all followed someone round to see where the course went we ventured out toward the back of the lake to lineup for our rolling start. Following the start boat was about twenty five skis, we all seamed to find our own line and waited for the flag to drop. Once the flag dropped the race was instantly divided up into a couple of groups, I was on a Sea-doo RXP 215 so I was in the leading group of supercharged crafts while the NA (normally aspirated, non supercharged) crafts settled into their own pack. From memory I think after the very long 400 metre back straight I took the first buoy (corner) in about six or seventh place behind another couple of Sea-doo’s, a Kawasaki 250X and a Yamaha FZR’s. By the time we got to the first buoy there was a decent amount of room between all of our ski’s and the pressure of racing super close to someone had gone. The next forty five minutes was all about keeping your speed up round the buoys, staying on and making sure you finish, with a break down and managing to pass someone I think I ended up about fifth.
By the time of the second race I had a lot more confidence and managed to get a better start and took home a third place (from memory).
I still remember clearly how social and how much fun this event was, after a quick shower to warm up it was off to the local pub to have a beer and yarn away the night with plenty of friendly banter getting thrown around.
This race is what got me addicted to racing and i’ve been lining up ever since.
If anybody out there is thinking they would like to get involved and give this a go, I totally recommend it. If you have any questions feel free to get in touch with myself,
|South Island||North Island|
|22nd June – Round 1 of the South Island Winter Endurance Tour.
Lake Waihola, Otago
|13th July – Round 1 of the North Island Winter Endurance Tour.
|3rd August – Round 2 of the South Island Winter Endurance Tour.
|10th August – Round 2 of the North Island Winter Endurance Tour. Tairua|
|24th August – Round 3 of the South Island Winter Endurance Tour.
|21st September – Round 3 of the North Island Winter Endurance Tour. Taupo|