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Fresh off winning a national championship, Kawasaki’s Eric Francis won the Pro-Am Stock Runabout World Championship and finished third in Pro-Am Runabout Limited class on his stock Jet Ski Ultra 300X at the IJSBA World Finals in Lake Havasu, Ariz. Fellow Kawasaki rider Minoru Kanamori finished third behind Francis in the Pro-Am Stock class while his wife Emi took third in the Pro Am Women’s Limited Ski class. Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Craig Warner finished on the podium with third in GP Runabout and fourth in the Pro Runabout Open class.
After capturing the national championship in the Pro-Am Stock Runabout class back in August, Francis was the American favorite for the win at the World Finals. He first took on the Pro-Am Runabout Limited class where he finished third on his stock Ultra 300X against a field of Limited machines.
Excited about his finish, Francis went out and won his qualifying race in the Pro-Am Stock Runabout class, giving him a good pick for the motos. In moto 1 he started on the way outside and rounded the first corner within the top-five. Francis made his way into fourth, but couldn’t find a way around the leaders. In the second moto it was all or nothing if he wanted to capture the championship. Francis started in third and had to battle past fellow Kawasaki rider Kanamori. Forced to make an aggressive pass, he was able to take over second and go after the leader. Francis was closing the gap each lap until lap four when the leader’s boat quit, handing over the win and the World Championship.
“It was a real advantage to run the Pro-Am Runabout Limited class first,” says Francis. “We were able to test some lines and finishing third gave me tons of confidence going into the Stock class. It came down to the second moto and it was ‘win or nothing’ if I wanted the championship. I made an aggressive move for second, diving to the inside, wide-open and almost clipped the buoy, but turned the boat on its side and made the pass. I ended up finishing just close to a 15-second gap on the field.”
Fastest Couple on the Water
The Kanamoris are championship proven, each holding multiple world championships. Minoru’s experience played in his favor as he battled up-front in the extremely competitive Pro-Am Stock Runabout class. After placing fifth in the first moto, Minoru got off to a second place start and began battling with hard-charging Francis. After dropping to third, he would re-take second after the leader dropped out. His 5-2 score gave him third overall and also contributed to Francis being able to clinch the championship with his 4-1 moto score. Joining her husband Minoru with a podium position, Emi took third overall in the Pro-Am Women’s Limited Ski class on her Kawasaki Jet Ski 800 SX-R.
On the Podium
Craig Warner spent the summer blowing away the competition in the offshore races and was excited to end the season at the World Finals in Lake Havasu. The Pro classes kicked off on Saturday with the GP Runabout class where he rounded out the podium in third. On Sunday Warner backed up his strong performance with a fourth place in the Pro Runabout Open, solidifying himself as a top competitor in both offshore and close course racing.
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