After nearly a year and a half of division in the United States - as both the American Power Boat Association and United States Watercross Racing Association duked it out for the hearts of U.S. racers and promoters - the APBA announced in July that it has reached an agreement with the USWRA to create a single sanctioning body in the United States. According to the two organizations, the move will create much-sought-after unity on the race front in the U.S., and allow both groups to work together toward the common goal of improving the quality of personal watercraft racing.
“Two sanctioning bodies in the U.S. did not benefit or help the sport in the U.S.,” explained the APBA marketing and event coordinator Patrick Mell. “We are pleased to be able to work together with all promoters and racers in the U.S. to begin to move the sport in a positive direction. All egos must be checked at the door and we must all work as a team to help rebuild the sport of watercraft racing in the United States.”
For his part, Jacque Bryant, head of the USWRA, will work with the APBA to smooth the transition for both promoters and racers currently affiliated with the USWRA. According to the official APBA release, both parties were in 100% agreement that the move would be in the best interest of the sport.
This new, cohesive brain trust has also announced some immediate short-range goals, the first of which is to create several new committees and begin working on rebuilding the sport in the United States. Those committees will include a Rules Committee, Strategic Marketing Committee, and even an Endurance Committee that will focus on building up that side of the sport. According to Mell, those committees will be created to look out for the best interest of the United States, its promoters and racers, and the sanctioning body it represents.
Overseeing it all will be a newly created executive committee, which will aim to provide guidance to the mix, as well as establish policy for issues like the awarding of regional race dates, determining what constitutes a national event, awarding national events, and developing a fair national ranking system.
“The most important thing is that we must all work together with a positive attitude if we are to make a difference,” explained the official release. “The APBA will be seeking motivated individuals to participate on these committees. The APBA is looking for racers, promoters, and other industry representatives that are knowledgeable and dedicated to making a difference and positive contribution to improving the sport.”
Of immediate interest to racers are several key changes that will need to be made to smoothly implement the USWRA events into the APBA program. They include the APBA honoring all USWRA memberships until their expiration, and the conversion of USWRA memberships to APBA memberships. The APBA will also offer a discounted membership rate for those racers who wish to convert their memberships before the due date, in order to take advantage of APBA benefits. In addition, the APBA agreed to run by the 2005 IJSBA rulebook for all events in the United States beginning at the end of July, which allowed riders to participate in the APBA Watercross Nationals. The APBA will also recognize Team Sport Racing's Supercourse Nationals as the U.S. National Championship for that discipline.
Additional information on the switch over can be obtained by contacting the APBA's Patrick Mell at 586/773-9700, or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Jeff Hemmel