Saturday Recap of U.S. Open of Watercross

May 28, 2011 – We went straight from opening ceremonies right into the pro classes, with the Pro Runabout Open up first.  Claude Clayton from Tupelo, MS got the nod from the computer and had gate choice and he decided to take the spot closest to the tower and that worked out well for him.  He pulled the holeshot and led three laps with Flyin’ Brian Baldwin and Dustin Farthing in tow.  By the end of the second lap “El Diablo” had dispatched Baldwin and set his sights on Clayton.  “Tweeker” did his best to hold off the Monster Energy Kawasaki of Farthing but eventually the Judge Motorsports tuned rig was just too much for Clayton and he slid back to 2nd position.  There were a few swaps for the 4th and 5th position which turned out to be where the battle really raged.  The National Guard Yamaha of Trey Frame battle for several laps with the number 81 of Eric Francis and their hard work paid dividends because both Clayton and Baldwin missed buoys and that put Frame and Francis in 2nd and 3rd respectively in the final moto 1 standings.  Dustin Farthing steered clear of any mishaps and finish solidly in 1st on his Monster Energy Kawasaki.

In Pro Ski GP class the favorites Chris Maclugage and Rob Flores both had poor gate picks and neither of them had a good line to the holeshot.  Adding insult to injury for Flo’ was the fact that he had to race a borrowed boat and was only able to manage a 6th place finish in the moto.  The G.O.A.T fared a little better, eventually managing to work his way past Bill “Hurricane”  Haig for 4th, but the story of the day was the newcomer to the pro ranks Josh “Blockhead” Block.  They young Ohio rider found himself in 3rd position with two laps to go and the Monster Energy Maac Racing rider Maclugage breathing down his neck.  But the young gun showed maturity beyond his years and held off the legend for his first top three as a pro.  Up front Rick Sherker looked very smooth running all by himself and stretching out his lead about his Fly Racing boat.  The other surprise of the day came from Yamaha’s Jimmy “Neutron” Cebulski.  Jimmy and his wife had a baby four weeks ago and he missed the first stop in Panama City Beach, but he straight brought it today finishing second and setting himself up for a good shot at the overall.

The freestylers were able to demonstrate their flat water skills on the Alabama River and Jeremy “Parr Diddy” Parr made some very good transitions from finesse moves to big inverted tricks included a nicely executed backflip to backflip combination.  Jason “The Destroyer” Stoyer also looked very impressive tossing a massive under flip and a one handed backflip in his two minute run.  Unfortunately for “The Destroyer” his lanyard came undone during his run costing him valuable time and points.  That left the door open for Michael Ratti to slide into the second spot.  It is an aggregate scoring system that counts both days of competition so Stoyer is still in the hunt, but when I saw him in the pits he was obviously upset about how his run went.  Defending US Open of Watercross Champion, Johnny “Left Side” Leftly put up a respectable number but without a flat water backflip in his bag of tricks he was unable to crack the top three.