RACE BUILT | RACE READy
RACE PROVEN | Race winning
2020 IJSBA Sport GP World Championship - Kelly Smith
2019 Pro Watercross Sport GP World Championship - Kelly Smith
2019 Hydro-Cross Pro Sport North American Champion - Brian O'Rourke
2019 Hydro-Cross Pro Sport Series 3rd Overall - [20+ competitors earned series points]
2019 Hydro-Cross Pro Sport Series 7th Overall - Kelly Smith
2019 Hydro-Cross Pro Sport Grand Prix of Wisconsin Champion - Kelly Smith
2019 Hydro-Cross Pro Sport Grand Prix of Alabama - Kelly Smith
In 2015 Team Faith’s Kelly Smith raced a Seadoo 951-powered stock-hulled HX under the Sport Open Spec rules to the Pro Watercross Series Championship. But, it wasn’t without its ups and downs. About halfway through the season, the Wamilton’s Blaster aftermarket hull started to be a serious threat to the Championship as Sam Nehme started winning races on it. At the time there were only the Bullet Blaster and the Wamilton’s Blaster aftermarket hulls and Team Faith couldn’t afford them! We saw the handwriting on the wall…
In 2016 we built a Kawasaki Triple 2-stroke HX we affectionately referred to as our HX1100 and although we had some success, we simply could not make the HX do what we wanted it to do against the aftermarket Blaster hulls on a consistent basis. Blasters won almost everything on the East Coast. We started looking at “other” topdeck platforms to possibly create our own hull from in an effort to consistently compete with the aftermarket Blasters. Competitors were starting to experiment with putting different motor packages in different Sport-class hulls, including 1 competitor, Aaron Dillenger who put a Kawi Triple 2-stroke 1100 in a Polaris Hurricane and had a great showing at the IJSBA World Finals finishing 5th Overall. Inspired, we picked up 2 Polaris Hurricanes on the way home from Havasu to start trying to come up with an answer for the aftermarket Blasters.
In 2017 Sport GP rules were implemented. We decided to switch classes. We were basically frustrated with trying to make the HX handle and be stable and predictable at the 64+ mph speeds we were able to get out of it. But, Brian O’ worked all winter on a version of a hull we hoped would work underneath the Hurricane top deck so we could return to the Sport GP class and be competitive.
Right before the start of the 2018 season, we tested the “new” hull with a Kawi Triple 2-stroke 1100 in it. It did not work! At all!!! So we abandoned that project and was able to put together an HX1100 and an 1100 Stock-hulled (slightly modified) Blaster for Kelly Smith and we raced both the Powerboat Nationals Hydro-cross Series and some Pro Watercross. We had some success with fill-in rider Gage Schoenheer on our HX1100 and both Brian O’ and Kelly won Hydro-cross Nationals, but still, the aftermarket Blasters were the dominant skis at the races they showed up to and still we believed we could build the perfect Sport Gp boat (for us anyways!). So we persevered.
Throughout the season we kicked around the idea of trying to put a Seadoo XPL bottom underneath an HX topdeck. The rules stated that topdecks needed to “appear” to look stock and the standard or Littman’s test would be a silhouette test. The Sport-class specific width limitations were 38” wide so we thought it would be doable if we modified the width of both the HX top and XPL bottom.
We first tried to commission a well-known XPL hull builder to see if he’d do it. He said he didn’t have the time, but said he was already trying to do it for other racers who requested it – and he would keep us posted. Meanwhile, in an effort to be proactive, we contacted another XPL hull builder in September of 2018 to see if he’d be interested in doing it. He agreed to do it, but when we got the hull back from him in November it was 39” wide (Illegal for the Sport class) and had no external bond flange. He also chose to widen the top deck on the outside of the footwells rather than widen the width of the footwells as we requested. Regardless, we didn’t want to use his topdeck or bottom hull.
Unbeknownst to us, long-time Sport-class racer Richard Taylor had the same idea we had and he executed the build of his widened HX with a narrowed XPL bottom perfectly in time for the Pro Watercross World Championships in Naples in November. He won all 3 Motos beating all the aftermarket Blaster hulls on his home-built ski. Finally, there was a glimmer of hope that the possibility existed, in which you didn’t have to buy an aftermarket Blaster hull to compete in Sport GP. We were inspired to resume our hull making efforts.
Unfortunately, the backlash of controversy surrounding Richard Taylor’s creation went viral in and amongst the Sport class racing community…and not in a good way. Debates raged for the entire winter with arguments on both sides as to the validity of RT’s creation in the class and whether or not it should be outlawed. Rumors swirled and it appeared the hull would be disallowed in future events from both the IJSBA sanctioned races and the Pro Watercross sanctioned races. (To our knowledge the hull is still legal in IJSBA competition). One promotion, Jet Jam, made a public statement that competitors would not be allowed to alter topdecks by more than 1 inch. Add to this Christian Daly actually won at the World Finals in Havasu and then went on to win the King’s Cup in Thailand – on a stock-hulled HX1100 no less! This just fueled the opponents on the Blaster side of the aisle to claim that the HX hull has an unfair advantage. We decided to abandon our HX/XPL project due to the uncertainty of rules and the controversy surrounding it.
2019. We were about to start Supercross with our rig racing West Coast Lites and doing Privateer Hospitality. But we were motivated to go back to the Hurricane topdeck project. So we enlisted the help of T1 Nation’s Toby Taylor to help us create a bottom deck to stick under the Hurricane. We were committed to leaving the topdeck 100% completely OEM in appearance so as to be 100% Sport-class legal without question. As long as we could get the hull design that we hoped for underneath the OEM topdeck we would be good. In January we had the first hull out of the mold and took it with us on Supercross and stayed in our Team Faith rig in the parking lot at Kommander Industries near Phoenix, AZ where we worked on engine placement and driveline/parts layout for the 2 weeks while we were in the area. Steve Webster, Dustin Motzouris and Tyron Motzouris were very encouraging and influential on how we came up with our engine package, as well as many other factors with this build. In an effort to embrace the future of 4-stroke technology we opted to go with the Kawasaki 15F motor package and built the ski around it.
The entire project was challenging to say the least. With the help of our good friend Jason Cavnar (who also came with us to Kommander and Supercross), we utilized every opportunity to work on it, when we weren’t on Supercross. We had barely enough time to complete 2 identical skis before we debuted them at the first Hydro-cross National in Knoxville, TN where Kelly raced his to a 2nd place finish right behind Christian Daly – the reigning World and Thai Cup Champ! At the next race a couple of weeks later in Guntersville, AL, Kelly was able to take the win besting the entire 16-man field which included several former National Champs and the current World Champ!
We’ve steadily improved the ski – mostly the speed package throughout the 2019 race season. It has only gotten better and better. We’ve had a couple of issues related to the used motor we put in Kelly’s ski. He was leading the Main, at the Hydro-cross Nationals Grand Prix of West Virginia, and a rod bolt broke ending his day.
We’ve not had to do much to the hull at all – as far as handling is concerned. Out of the mold, it rails corners so hard it’s very difficult to break loose. You can ride it as hard as you can hold onto it! It stays hooked up in the rough and it slices through chop while being stable at the highest speeds and remaining predictable. Tell it where to go and it will oblige!
Some have questioned whether or not our HURACÁN-R is a true Sport-class ski. Our answer is a resounding “YES!” It’s still as narrow and short as a stock Polaris Hurricane. It’s absolutely NOT an XPL because we had to cut so much off the sides and reshape the entire front and rear to accommodate the OEM Hurricane topdeck – that we truly feel like it is its own thing now. Consider the Blaster that when it came out, it was deemed a Sport-class ski and it was nothing like the X2. The HX when it came out was deemed a Sport-class ski and it was nothing like the Blaster. The Polaris Hurricane when it came out was deemed a Sport-class ski and it was nothing like any of the other Sport-class skis. Others have improved on the Blaster and HX respectively to create different aftermarket hulls. All we’ve done is the same – just on the Hurricane platform!
Our goal from the beginning was to create a more stable, straight-line tracking, predictable handling and aggressive turning Sport Gp ski that our riders could be as comfortable as possible racing. We think we’ve done just that! We hope you get a chance to experience it and enjoy it as much as we do!
One last tidbit of info…
We didn’t test the bottom before we made molds because as we looked at it as it was coming together – and this may sound weird but – we had a peace about it that we can only describe as coming from God. We believe our passion for racing and building race skis comes from God. We believe the passion for this 3-year project to see it to fruition comes from God! We believe we were inspired by God to create this hull for His glory.
So – with that – we give you the NEW HURACÁN-R Sport GP Watercraft.