All of his ducks lined up in a row for the new Powerboat (P1) Aqua Cross (AquaX) Enduro world champion American Eric “The Eagle” Francis, as he powered his way to three victories for a clean sweep to claim the title on his third wedding anniversary at the 2019 P1 AquaX Bahamas World Championships in the Nassau Harbour yesterday afternoon.
In the sprint division, Englishman Simon Gill won earlier in the day to be the first world champion in that division.
The riders began action on Friday, November 8. Tough weather conditions forced the organizers to curtail the races on Saturday, November 9. With good weather on Sunday, the racers were able to complete the race.
Francis, who races for Broward Motorsports, finished with 76 points. There was a tie between Francis’ teammate Chris MacClugage and the former world champion Team Rivas’ Brian Baldwin who both had 53 points. Baldwin was the second-place winner after the scorers checked who had high placings, meaning MacClugage was in third place.
Gill scored 69 points to win the Sprint portion of the world championship. Second to him was Johnny Smith with 65 points. Third place was won by United Kingdom rider Mollie Fearn.
“It’s an incredible feeling. We had a world championship two years ago and I had mechanical failure that took me out of the win. To come back two years later and to be in The Bahamas in paradise is the best place to be. To go three wins and win the world title, you cannot beat that,” said Francis.
Francis is in his sixth season of AquaX but he has been racing for 20 years. He is from Port St. Lucie, Florida.
He added that the course was nice although the seawalls made it challenging even though it is a flat water race – the wind added a little chop.
Baldwin, the former champion, said that it is a lot rougher on the course than it looked.
“It’s a lot rougher than it looks out there. The competition is fierce. I felt good on the machine but it just was not my day. I was not the number one guy for today.”
He is looking forward to training harder and stronger to come back next year and win.
Francis is also looking forward to next year as he defends his title.
“Next year we are going to train a little harder and kind of stick to the same program because obviously it is working. We just have to keep the mind focused and get ready to kick some butt for next season,” Francis said.
He was not the only Francis in action in that race. His wife, Sophie Francis, with whom he celebrated his third-year anniversary with yesterday, was also in the race as the only female in that class. She finished 13th overall.
“It was awesome to be out there with the men being the only female. It was good to represent the women. I definitely gave the men a run for their money. I was up in the top five and then I blew my engine. It’s a shame but that’s racing.”
She continued: “It’s great having women in the sport. It definitely lifts it up. If you are interested in racing, come along, watch the racing. It will be great for you to do.”
She will be looking to take the title from her husband when they race again next year. She has been in the pro-class for two years.
Also in action was Chris Landis of Rivas Racing who came in as an amateur. He was excited. He finished 13th in the first two races because he was a little nervous. However, in his third race, he finished fourth. Overall he finished tenth with 27 points. He loved the course.
“The course was beautiful, even when it is bad it’s still beautiful. I rather have crappy weather in The Bahamas than anywhere else,” Landis said. “I definitely have to train a little bit harder, get my pace faster and I hope we come back to The Bahamas – can’t wait to come back here.”
There were 30 riders in both divisions from eight countries.
P1 AquaX Bahamas World Championship is a collaboration between the Atlantis Resort, P1 Aqua Cross, the Ministry of Tourism and the Nassau Paradise Island Promotion Board.
Education: College of the Bahamas, BA Media Journalism