Frenchman Jeremy Poret of the Race Spirit team was in a class of his own competing in the headline Pro Ski GP category at the season ending King’s Cup Jetski Grand Prix held at Jomtien Beach in Pattaya from Dec. 2-4. Poret beat a heavyweight field of star riders with nearly one moto (race) to spare as he recorded two first and two second place finishes in the 2-day competition.
Poret was the form man coming into the event, having won every championship he entered this season – and he did not disappoint any of his supporters with his performances in Pattaya.
“King’s Cup victory!” What a way to end the year with the grand slam of all the championships,” Poret said afterwards. “I want to thank all the people who helped me achieve this ultimate goal. This is the reward of a lot of hard work and an exceptional team surrounding me.”
Another man in form was Hungary’s Gyorgy Kasza of Kasza Racing who followed up his double victory in October at the World Cup in Lake Havasu, USA, with success here in the Pro Runaround GP class. Kasza’s team tuned his jetski perfectly for the local sea conditions in Pattaya and he was able to win three out of the four motos to fend off a strong challenge from Great Britain’s James Bushell in second place.
Home nation Thailand wasn’t without success of its own at the weekend water-sport festival. Previous King’s Cup champion and veteran racer Chaowalit Kuajaroon scored a perfect four out four race victories to take the Pro Runaround 1000 Superstock title while compatriot Ekchon Kingchansil, of the Freedom Racing team, went three from four in the Pro Sport GP class to finish 33 points clear of the chasing pack.
The fifth and final professional title at the championships went to Japan’s Taiji Yamamoto in the crowd favourite Pro Freestyle class. Yamamoto caught the judges’ eyes with some spectacular and technically demanding acrobatic stunts to score 28.9 points out of a possible 30 and claim the trophy.
The 2016 King’s Cup Grand Prix was enjoyed by the many tourists and jet-ski racing fans who attended the event over the 3 days and also by countless more watching at home on Thai Channel 3 and Fox Sports coverage, yet this year was also a poignant event due to the recent passing of the event’s patron, His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
In honour of the Thai monarch, the competitors combined to form a special jet-ski parade of respect at the beginning of the tournament, featuring a multitude of nations’ flags and one jet-ski rider forming a large Thai numeral for the number 9 on the water, symbolizing the reign of His Majesty King Rama 9.
(Photos courtesy of jet-ski world cup.com)