- Last Updated on Wednesday, 23 July 2014 11:45
- Published on Wednesday, 23 July 2014 10:32
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Watercraft racing is more than just an adrenalin rush for Loyd Alspaugh, it’s a blend of danger, fun and pure excitement! On Friday, the Rankin’s team led by Alspaugh, competed with 12 other racers in the NSWC Federal Credit Union Corporate Challenge portion of the Hydro-Turf Pro Watercross Liberty Cup.
The team of (left to right) Mike Ham, Loyd Alspaugh, Renee Landrieux, and Warren McNair, finished fourth in the NSWC Federal Corporate Challenge.
The manager of the Rankin’s Hardware store’s Colonial Beach location has always had a love for the sport of competitive watercraft racing.
Most recently, the team of Renee Landrieux, Mike Ham, Warren McNair and Alspaugh finished fourth in the Corporate Challenge.
Dockside Restaurant & Blue Heron Pub defeated Beach Service Center in the championship round to win the Corporate Challenge, while Cople District Fire Department finished third.
During the Corporate Challenge, each member of the team is judged separately on his or her ability to maneuver around a series of buoys set up in a figure-eight format. Riders who either missed a buoy or came up on the wrong side, were docked points. Athleticism, skill and the boldness to rip through river swells all play into the shortest amount of time spent on the course—located at the Colonial Beach Municipal Pier. Just to make the competition interesting, each team of racers is required to use the same watercraft machine.
Over the years, Alspaugh has ridden watercraft machines for recreational use, but he prefers the comforts of his personal boat. For the past four years of the Corporate Challenge, he quickly puts on his game face with the hope of bringing home a championship. “It’s all about pride, and having a good time,” Alspaugh said.
For years, Loyd and his wife Beverly have supported community and sports related activities in Westmoreland County.
In conjunction with the International Jet Sport Boating Association, and Upstate Watercraft Promotions, the Corporate Challenge and the Hydro-Turf Pro Watercross are a part of largest national tour of its kind in the U.S. The recent stop in Colonial Beach is the fifth of the tour that will set up next in Lake Hartwell, Ga., on Aug. 9 and 10.
The sport of professional watercraft racing continues to grow with each passing year. Racers from around the world faithfully compete and follow the tour every year. Excited to be back, tour director, AJ Handler said, “The new talent that has joined the tour, such as racers from South Africa and Indonesia are dominating the tour.”
Whether it’s Sea-Doo, Kawasaki or Yamaha, fans along the town pier will forever have images of racers blasting through waves at speeds over 110 mph. “Last year, stock class (Yamaha) rider Troy Snyder was at the top point-wise; however, during the second to last race his electrical boys became undone, and cost him the championship,” Handler said.
Throughout the three-day event Watercross teams, VIPs and fans celebrated at Dockside Restaurant & Blue Heron Pub for drinks, dinner, dancing, autographs, and the traditional awards ceremony. Dockside has been the official restaurant race sponsor since it began in 2010.
Weather can either hamper or help the fate of a racer. During the start of the tour in Pensacola, FL, athletes were forced to contend with huge 12 foot plus swells, but during the following race in Panama City, FL, the water remained tranquil throughout the event. After years of coordinating tours, Handler has seen it all. “At the Reno Sparks, NV race, the altitude was so high, these guys actually lost 30% of their power,” Handler said. “The beauty of having a problem like that is that you have to have a fast machine and a mechanic capable of figuring out how to retrieve the power that you lost.”
Tour race mechanic Matt Doss understands the small to major details that are involved with the weekly maintenance of watercraft machines. “Usually every week I am doing something motor wise or with the pumps that changes the props and elevation of the machine,” Doss said. “In the sports and stand up class, racers are moving at speeds up to 70 mph. The sport has come a long way in the past 20 years; from a top speed of 60 to 100 mph. The crowd truly enjoyed the race.”
Hydro-Turf Pro Watercross race results:
NSWC Federal Credit Union Corporate Challenge: Dockside Restaurant and Blue Heron Pub; Novice Runabout Limited: Robert Basile, Swedesboro, NJ; Pro-Am Runabout Stock: Troy Snyder, Bradenton, FL; Pro-Am Runabout Limited: Aqsa Aswar, Jakarta, Indonesia; Pro-Am Runabout Open: Aero Aswar, Jakarta, Indonesia; Runabout N/A Spec: Robert Greenwild, Marietta, GA; Runabout 1000 SS: Mike Phenes, Ruther Glen; Veterans Runabout LTD: Jeff Dyckowski, Rydel, GA; Expert Runabout Stock: Dyckowski, Rydel, GA; Amateur Ski Lites: Callaway Turner, Apex, NC; Amateur Ski Limited: David Cabera, Midaman, IL; Amateur Ski Open: Bibi Carmouche, Reno, NV; Veteran Ski GP: Todd Schaefer, York, PA; Pro-Am Ski Lite: Rick Sherker, Doylestown, PA; Pro-Am Ski GP: Dustin Motzouris, South Africa; Amateur Runabout Stock: Travis Zielasko, Lake Worth, FL; Amateur Runabout Rec Lites: Jonathan Hoffel, Woodlyn, PA.
Novice Runabout Limited: Robert Basile, Swedesboro, NJ; Pro-Am Runabout Stock: Troy Snyder, Bradenton, FL; Pro-Am Limited: Aqsa Aswar, Jakarta, Indonesia; Pro-Am Runabout Open: Aero Aswar, Jakarta, Indonesia; Runabout N/A Spec: Robert Greenwild, Marietta, GA; Runabout 1000 SS: Mike Phenes, Ruther Glen; Veteran’s Runabout LTD: Jeff Dyckowski, Rydel, GA; Expert Runabout Stock: Jeff Dyckowski, Rydel, GA; Sports Spec: Sam Nehme, Cooper City, FL; Sport GT: Richard Taylor, Christmas, FL; Junior Ski Lite 10-12: Osric Pryor, Fayetteville, NC; Junior Ski Lites 13-15: AJ Luinstra, El Dorado, NM; Amateur Freestyle, Chris Langlais, Clearwater, FL; Pro Freestyle: Jace Forest, Austin, TX; Vintage Ski, Anna Glennon, Overland Park, KS.