2014 Season in Review

2014 Season in Review

2014 marked another outstanding racing season for our new and returning JH and AXH drivers, as well as a couple of first time senior drivers. After our first “New Drivers School”, launched in 2013, we put everything we learned into our 2014 school. SSOA’s “Dry School” was held in April with new potential drivers and some of our returning veterans in attendance. After the movies, instructional classes followed by a question and answer period, the fun part began when we got the kids outfitted in safety gear and let them get into the set up hydros to get the feel. You never tire of seeing the smiles of excitement and anticipation on everyone’s faces as they dream about their first time on the water.

Poor New England weather prevented us from having a “Wet School” before our first race of the 2014 season. The New Drivers School took place in Standish, ME on the Friday before that weekend’s race. This is not the best possible situation to run a school. Bad weather with rough water, time restraints and seasoned racers wanting testing time are some of the factors that need to be dealt with when conducting a school. We have found it is much better to hold the school off site and not at a race if possible.

After sending out an experienced J hydro driver who showed the others where to run and what was expected of them, it was time to put our new drivers out on the water. We did our usual one at a time “get on plane and come back in safely” drills and then let everyone go out for laps. We ended up with one driver having a little difficulty because of her very small size. It was a teaching experience for both driver and instructors. Another driver was extremely successful with her first outing and after passing her APBA test she proved ready to run in her first race on that Saturday.

We also had a senior driver show up with his CSH/20SSH equipment all ready to experience his first race. With a little school instruction and guidance he attacked the water and performed way beyond all expectations. His first races on Saturday and Sunday netted him three trophy positions and his excellent driving throughout the season culminated in him winning the SSOA’s Rookie of the Year award, as well as an APBA National 3rd place, high point finish in the OSY 400 class. While slanted more toward the junior division of racing, the SSOA’s driving school is open to anyone of any age who would like to learn about and start racing outboard boats.

With one junior driver in her fourth year of competition and two of our 2013 graduates returning, we added our new rookie driver and our adopted NJ driver and fielded five J hydro’s throughout most of the season. With some of our J drivers moving up to AX hydro we consistently put seven of them on the water almost all season long. Thanks to the SSOA’s efforts of putting new drivers into equipment and out on the water, at no expense to them, we are experiencing a fantastic growth in our junior classes.

At the end of the season some of our JH and AXH drivers had competed in as many as 21 races with our SSOA drivers finishing Nationally in the 5th, 6th, 8th, 14th and 19th APBA high point positions in JH and 2nd, 5th, 7th, 14th and 16th with others rounding out the AXH class. A testament to the hard work of our drivers, their families and all those involved.

With active promotions, the handing out of flyers and business cards throughout the 2014 season and the continuing support of the APBA, we have a number of new school candidates eagerly awaiting “Racing School” and the start of the 2015 racing season.

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