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  • J Category

    The AX classes are rivaling A stock in speeds. Js are still 40 MPH. There was supposed to be a progression here that has been lost. These classes generally seem to be doing well but drivers do not seem to stick with racing long term.

    Does the 9 year age limit hurt us as a whole?

    If J were a 30 MPH class could we lower the entry age to 7 years? This would get us closer to other motorsports.

    If AX were a 40 MPH class would it be less scary than FEH?

    bill hoctor likes this.
    Ryan Runne
    9-H
    Wacusee Speedboats
    ryan.runne.4@gmail.com

    "Imagination is more important than knowledge"--Albert Einstein

    These days, I find it easier to look up to my youngers than my elders.

  • #2

    Re: J Category

    In my opinion, J should be 30-35 MPH and AX should be 45-50 MPH. The age restrictions are fine. The reason why the A classes suffer is because there is no need for them with AX unless your smaller in frame and light weight.
    Joe Silvestri
    CSH/500MH

    Comment


    • #3

      Re: J Category

      I've got two JH outfits in my garage getting ready for the coming years in my family (9-7-6 in 2018). I'd much rather see progression in the classes... JH 30-35, AX 40-45, AH 50-55, 300SS 60. Kids can advance at their pace.
      Last edited by Andrew 4CE; 11-23-2017, 06:43 AM.
      reed28n, Hutch06 and jsilvestri like this.
      Fralick Racing
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      Comment


      • bmitch1
        bmitch1 commented
        Editing a comment
        We need to consider what the A-B-C-D class structure represents...it's size and weight, and as a result of the increased motor size, boat size and speed becomes the resulting combination. People race A because they weigh less than 160lbs, not because 65mph is inherently intimidating to them. Similarly, the current rules push tall 6'+ 210lb 16 year olds straight to the Yamato if they want to be competitive....not because they are ready for something more than 55mph. Anyone who has driven the bigger boats will tell you how much more stable they are (Jerry David's 750MR rides like a Cadillac...It does I know). But telling a 150lb person they need to add (80lbs+??) to the boat hull to make weight becomes a limiting factor.

    • #4

      Re: J Category

      We've run all 6 classes in the past 3 years. The AX Merc isn't comparable to the top end on a Sidewinder 15 in A classes - not on the straightaway or the corner.

      As for the age limit - we looked at other forms of motorsports prior to outboard racing. Most other forms of motorsport have clearly defined race courses (karting, junior dragsters, mini-dwarfs/mini-mods, moto-x), and the vehicle is much easier to turn than a racing boat. The freedom of movement in milling and in preparing for the flying start of outboard racing is unique and requires a degree of physicality and maturity. Of course there are 7 year olds with more maturity than some 12 year olds and there are 45-year olds with less maturity than some 9 year olds....but without objective driver testing we go with what we can universally implement using a minimum age. Adding 7 year olds to the J class will only want the 9 year olds to be able to run AX sooner to get away from the terror of youngsters learning to mill and handle a 300lb rig. By comparison, the 30-40mph "kid-kart" karting class age 5-7 is under 150lbs total at the end of the race, is easier to turn and runs an easy-to-see course. For additional reference the 8-12 year-old junior sportsman karting class is 250lbs and capable of 60mph. Junior "Can" class karting weighs 305lbs for 12-15 years-old and runs 70+mph...and so it goes.

      I'm going to disagree with Joe on why the A class may have perceived suffering... (but we're friends so it's ok: )

      For the migration from AX to A class, consider where the A-class recently came from and the uncertainty surrounding the A-B class over the past 10 years. Long-time families with OMC motors needed to make hard decisions about whether the new manufacturer would come through - and whether the time/expense was worthy of recreational dollars. If you think these racers don't want to race A, ask yourself how long the waiting list has been for the past 3 years for new A-class motors (over 15 on order even today). These racers are not leaving, instead they're going (inside or outside of the stock category) where they can get equipment. It's easy to find AX racers from 2-4 years ago who are now running 200mod, 350mod, 500mod, 20ssh, 300ssh and inboards...just to name a few. However, a growing number of them seem to now be moving over the past 2 years to A/B classes. When people have money they WANT to spend on a class we need to help the manufacturer find a way to support the demand....or people will continue to go elsewhere.

      You also need to consider the age when an AX-A transition occurs... does mom/dad want to invest in a new A-class motor to move to their driver to the next level when their teenager is soon to be out of the nest or off to college learning to be financially responsible on their own?

      The movement from J to AX class is also motivated by the drivers and the relationships they perceive with peers. Kids moving to junior high level in school don't want to "hang out" with kids from elementary school. Quietly listening to the kids talk in the pits between races makes this apparent - moving up to AX is 'cool'. Similarly, I understand some senior/adult drivers were running AX a few short years ago but that has changed and AX is a teenage class now - we've seen a few adults in the AX class over the past couple years but most of them realize it's a youth class and they end up running A or 200mod. Actually most of them comment that the AX class can be a little crazy...which I believe is NOT a symptom of speed but instead the fact these kids are teenagers and many don't have drivers licenses yet...and they carry that badge of immortality (remember how we all felt at 14-17 years old??) You could put the current AX drivers in nearly ANY class and once they got comfortable they'd do things a sane, mortal adult would rarely consider.

      One other comment about the movement to adult classes - minimum weights for smaller stock and modified classes determine where your AX drivers can go and be competitive. Look at how many former AX drivers hit the inevitably growth spurt and effectively weighed themselves out of the AX class. In several cases these kids were forced to jump straight to Yamato rigs because they were running 60+ lbs overweight in AX and were already too heavy for A class.

      Regarding powering your youth classes - the minimum setback on the JH class was changed by the Junior Class Committee last year and has dramatically reduced the amount of time spent during on-plane testing (thanks J Committee!!). Everyone who has worked on a JH knows that the restricted motor lacks enough power to really push a 300lb boat. If you restrict this further we will find we really have problems. Folks who ran the old 60J have told me they used to THROW those boats on plane... (that's major disincentive for new potential new J parents right there).

      We don't need to change the junior class specifications at this time but we should look carefully at where these graduating drivers can go when they are ready and wanting to move - considering personal specifications of these drivers (height and weight), availability of equipment, and the required expense of the transition.
      Last edited by bmitch1; 11-23-2017, 06:57 AM.

      Comment


      • Matt Dagostino
        Matt Dagostino commented
        Editing a comment
        Here is a fun fact..............the straightaway record for axh is right at 59mph recently set in Oregon. Happy Thanksgiving.

      • bmitch1
        bmitch1 commented
        Editing a comment
        We are thinking about taking the restrictor out of our J hydro for a shot at the AXH record ourselves, or maybe just loading a SW15 on the 'ol JH for the ASH record.... is that ok?

      • ryan_4z
        ryan_4z commented
        Editing a comment
        The fact is you could throw a 60J on plane because it was at least 20-25 lbs less than the current engine which always bogs the back of the boat.

    • #5

      Re: J Category

      That was a kilo record of 59.200 for the AXH while the Sidewider A was 59,240mph! In the 1/4 mile Cole Olson also went 58+mph!



      Comment


      • bmitch1
        bmitch1 commented
        Editing a comment
        Not representative of actual race speeds...and that SW record will be broken.

    • #6

      Re: J Category

      Our GPS showed 59.2 mph on our hydro with a out of the box Sidewinder 15.This was with almost no testing time,using our AX prop.Actual racing speeds is nowhere near 59.2.The same can be said about AXH speeds,actual racing speed is a lot lower than straightaway speed.
      Last edited by mercsami; 11-23-2017, 02:23 PM.

      Comment


      • #7

        Re: J Category

        There are inherent problems with our J/AX classes that make them a grueling burden on our race day and on the drivers of the classes, I am sure.

        -Why do we still have problems planing off? This issue has to be addressed. I think a primary contributing factor is the weight of the motor. When restricted, the HP to weight ratio works against the driver. Not to mention, a lot of these kids only weight the same as their motor or slightly more. A ninety pound kid with gear on is only just over a third the total wieght of his rig. In contrast, I in my gear am half the weight of my BSH or BSR. Same would go for your average CSH Driver. This ratio is important because it shows how much the driver can affect the running of the boat with their weight. How many times have you seen a kid hanging out of the corner of his fin boat like he is rolling it up? (In a few years he won't have to do that.)

        -Why do 140 lbs teenagers race against 50 lbs nine year olds? No other sport brackets its youth in such a wide age range. Growth and change are too quick for this to make sense.


        Here is what I have been thinking about:

        -A J spec boat class for ages 7-10. A 7-8 foot boat that should basically drive itself. 33 MPH. (I naturally think a deep-V runabout would give drivers the most control and the best ride at the speed. Simple specs like a minimum keel break and minimum V at the dash would allow for anyone to build a boat that was legal and easy to drive.) The engine can't weight more than 45 lbs or so. The class weight should be around 200 lbs. This would simplify the J class and give younger kids a better opportunity to learn an be more competitive and have more fun. Should be run on an abbreviated course.

        -AX class for ages 11-15. Once you run AX you don't run J. J is a true junior class for kids. AX is for older kids. Now you are on the grown up racecourse. Slow it down so that it is a stepping stone to A. These classes should be at least 5-10 MPH apart, not 2-3. But AX should be closer to A than to J. Oher than that, no changes to AX.

        I would say that we should take weight into consideration. The ten year old who has race two-three years already and is now 120 lbs should be able to run AX. And the 11-12 year old should probably be able to run J still if they only weight 75 lbs. We need to take these varied circumstances into account.

        I think this would make all the J classes more unique, more purposeful, and more fun for the kids. The J classes would provide a complete racing experience. I think leaving drivers better prepared. This format also allows us to slim down a class and in the process give each of the other three J classes a more unique appeal.

        Ryan Runne
        9-H
        Wacusee Speedboats
        ryan.runne.4@gmail.com

        "Imagination is more important than knowledge"--Albert Einstein

        These days, I find it easier to look up to my youngers than my elders.

        Comment


        • bmitch1
          bmitch1 commented
          Editing a comment
          And because boats are easier to build than motors, design the boat around the motors you can get...

        • bmitch1
          bmitch1 commented
          Editing a comment
          Looks like fun....sit down position, reinforced cockpit. Could be run as sprint or marathon....larger fuel tanks would allow more lap races offering more fun for the racing dollar....

          Link to a sample race below:

          https://youtu.be/No_WaqhWC0Q

        • ryan_4z
          ryan_4z commented
          Editing a comment
          Brian, This is exactly the class I had in mind when conceiving this new J. I think we could easily develop a kneel down version of this class that would translate more directly to AX/A classes. I agree, it does look like fun.
          Last edited by ryan_4z; 11-24-2017, 07:34 PM.

      • #8

        Re: J Category

        Its Silly season all right. I really tried hard not to respond to this thread , but.......

        The J catagory is always a hotbed of controversy. It continues unchanged, and unfortunately from the tone of this thread NOTHING. NOTHING will change.

        Without writing a novel on this subject. J is controlled/led? By the J comittee and the SORC.
        All of the blah blah blah is pointless. There is a opposite view of any need to change these classes.
        The last sentance posted by a rep of both the SORC AND J COMMITTEE MEMBER says it all.
        " at this point there is no need to change. " That folks is what is going to happen. NOTHING




        Joe Sylvestri is spot on with his post ( short and to the point also ).

        Comment


        • bmitch1
          bmitch1 commented
          Editing a comment
          Karl...embrace your passion: Join a committee, make a recommendation, partake of the discussion and be the change... How many proposals have you submitted to the J committee about your concerns and challenges? I appreciate your situation and you arent the only folks who weighed right out of the J class... instead of saying 'nothing', say something that can create action.... What would you like to see?? Raise the minimum weight? what else?

      • #9

        Re: J Category

        Unplug the engines and they will live long and prosper and slow down by a couple mph's and lose acceleration! .....................i never understood why our racing Commissions reward cheaters. This performance modification did nothing but speed the motors up and created excessive heat potentially doing short and long term damage to our Junior Class engines. How about that Karl Dyle for being short and to the point......

        Comment


        • Matt Dagostino
          Matt Dagostino commented
          Editing a comment
          I believe the rule NOW allows the plugging either at the water pump housing or the newly approved power head location hence many people i imagine are just leaving them plugged at the water pump creating the heat damage on the exhaust side of the block. However my main point is that if the water cooling system of the motors were left in factory stock configuration the SPEED would go down if that is the goal of the J Racing Committee. As far as the inspectability issue of plugging that is the job of our inspectors. Plugging is a big deal performance wise!

        • bmitch1
          bmitch1 commented
          Editing a comment
          You mean the thermostat housing... anyone who still plugs there isnt worried about motor longevity. Or, if they haven't taken a motor apart since 2014 they are either not running frequently or not taking good care of their equipment. Regarding our UNPAID inspectors: until we see a line out the door for new trainees or a reasonable answer for how to police the requirement, a reasonable idea will continue to be a hard sell.

        • Matt Dagostino
          Matt Dagostino commented
          Editing a comment
          Correct..........i meant the thermostat housing. I think i put to much Bailey's in my coffee this morning...........

      • #10

        Re: J Category

        If the desire is to slow them down for younger kids, and help them plane quickly, can you just lower the motor enough to get to the desired speed? Then you can use the same boat, motor and prop as current J.
        7 seems young to me...but just a thought on how to cost effectively do it so it's appealing to more parents.

        Comment


        • #11

          Re: J Category

          Other motor sports may use 7 as a beginning age but that doesn't take into consideration the racing. Kid karts all line up in nice rows and start from a dead stop. Junior dragsters also take minimum of driver awareness around him/her beyond what happens in his lane. But we expect J kids to go out and mill around for a minute or two before the start, having to pay attention to the flags, the clock and all the other boats as well. It is far more mentally challenging than the other kids motorsports, hence the need for more maturity and awareness from the drivers. Simple when you think about it.

          Comment


          • ryan_4z
            ryan_4z commented
            Editing a comment
            Beach starts would eliminated milling, equalize the playing field, and shorten the race day.

          • TAndersonV11
            TAndersonV11 commented
            Editing a comment
            Ryan, beach starts are the exact opposite of what you just stated, except for the elimination of milling of course.

          • bmitch1
            bmitch1 commented
            Editing a comment
            Beach starts would require a few factors to be truly safe and effective in a youth class when compared to the current format. Unfortunately we need to agree on the problem and solve a few hurdles first:

            1) We attended 11 races this year - and I did not see kids struggling to get on-plane as in previous years. The new 2017 requirement of 1 in. setback in JH successfully eliminated the frequency of problems seen in prior years. I'd like to hear feedback from the clubs because the places we raced did not lose material amounts of race time this year on this particular element of the day, as compared to previous years.

            2) For beach starts to work, the boat has to get on-plane immediately - LeMans starts for OSY and larger classes rarely have problems because the power-weight ratio works REALLY well. Assuming we develop and implement a completely new power source and racing hull, you're still assuming every parent has tested and trained their racer on how to guarantee an on-plane boat. Testing time is sometimes hard to find - and it just won't happen. The 'equalization' intended with the proposal will create huge focus on the preparation by parents - and those kids will miss races unless you black flag to go back and start again to make sure they all do get on plane. As it is, the class format supports getting kids on plane to make a fair run at the clock start.

            3) What are we going to do when the kids motor stalls during the beach start attempt? And this happens in current, properly powered adult classes today - just watch a marathon race. You'll need electric start on that J motor, which requires the additional weight of a starting battery and associated battery maintenance. That starter/battery package needs to be waterproof or at least marine-rated to survive a dunking. If that kid is stuck on the edge of the course that next black flag just cut in to the proposed time savings.

            4) Race water is certainly difficult to find, and many of our courses don't support the course layout needed for a row of J racers to beach start. Twelve J racers beach starting from popular long-courses like Constantine or Grass Lake are going to leave a pretty messy front straightaway. Shorter courses like Huntington or narrow courses like Kittanning or Lock Haven will end up with nasty problems in the turns. I suspect we will lose racing water for the kids.

        • #12

          Re: J Category

          Brian,

          The video you just shared was a beach start and it seemed to work spectacularly. The water was rough, the boats were built to handle it. If I am going to be totally consistent then I must say that we should consider this class in the UIM format. Why not? I would love to see something that was more of a kneeldown but with other similar features to make all the problems go away. As you said, it is easy to design a boat to acheive the goal you want. But what is the goal? I believe that our entire Outboard racing format needs to be addressed. The current methods are not working and our sport is dying so slowly that one day it may just be gone and we'll be like, 'What happened to everybody?'

          I am not saying I have the answers here. But I think many agree that there are problems. Many think that J is too fast, even for 9-10 year olds. I think that big AX kids racing against little J kids is ridiculous. These issues need to be addressed. I know the J committee always makes cautious but advancing progress. I think that all the categories need to work together to make noteworthy change for the future.
          Ryan Runne
          9-H
          Wacusee Speedboats
          ryan.runne.4@gmail.com

          "Imagination is more important than knowledge"--Albert Einstein

          These days, I find it easier to look up to my youngers than my elders.

          Comment


          • #13

            Re: J Category

            Some additional details from the UIM rulebook about the GT15 and GT30 classes:
            GT15
            Engine 15hp 4-stroke
            Weight* (Min) 462 lbs
            Length (Min) ~10ft
            Width (Min) ~4.4 ft
            Driver Age 9-15
            Speed 40+ mph

            GT30
            Engine 30hp 4-stroke
            Weight* (Min) 550 lbs
            Length (Min) ~11.5 ft
            Width (Min) ~4.4 ft
            Driver Age 14+
            Speed 55+ mph


            * The minimum weights mentioned here above are the weight of a complete rig weighed directly after the race including driver, personal safety equipment, residual fuel but without residual water

            Some specific information from the rulebook that may be of interest (note that the UIM rulebook is 360+ pages and covers many classes - this only covers selected highlights)

            To be homologated as stock motor, an outboard motor must be sold and advertised by an industrial firm as being manufactured in standard production series (that is to say with all parts interchangeable and with identical dimensions, weights and materials) for the propulsion of boats. To be eligible for homologation, a minimum of 1000 units must have been built and assembled, certified by the manufacturer to the National Authority of the country of origin.

            When the motor is in the water, the cooling must be effected by a water circulation pump. The cooling water must circulate through the water pump and be fed only through the standard water intake, neither the position nor the shape of which may be modified.

            An efficient gear changing system giving forward, neutral and astern movement is compulsory. The control handle for the reverse gear, ready for use, must be within easy hand reach of the driver, when he is in the normal driving position. Manoeuvring of the boat astern, must be possible by selecting reverse gear.

            The original propeller may be replaced by another

            Original carburetor jets may be replaced for another size.

            Thermostats and pressure valves of the cooling system may be removed.

            -----

            The governing body of the UK claims they can have a boat in customer hands within 3 weeks. From the photos and information I could find using Google it appears most families make it a one-boat show, although larger teams may have trailers carrying the second boat. The weight of this style racing machines makes it prohibitive to load boats to/from carts and they use boat-ramps to launch with the driver already strapped in. Considering the difference in exchange rates and economies it is tough to say exactly what a turn-key package would cost but I found a used GT15 boat/motor/prop for sale for $7,500 (converted rate to USD eff 11/25/2017),

            Looks like a 2018 Mercury 15 in. electric start 4-stroke is about $2,900 here in the states. Cost of boat would be TBD

            It is unfortunate the EPA has effectively killed the 2-stroke package that combines light-weight and high-performance or it would be much easier to find a consumer/fishing motor and implement a revision to the class promoting sealed engines and handout props that would fit the current boats. I have to admit the hydroplanes are what caught my eye at APBA, but the UIM program is focused on the runabouts for the juniors. As we know, they use the Yamato in the OSY hydro class for older racers and they do a lot with tunnel boats over there too.

            Comment


            • DiGia54D
              DiGia54D commented
              Editing a comment
              Craig Dewald proposed this years ago... Ask him what the response was.

          • #14

            Re: J Category

            It's an attractive class for new racers in concept. It is really more of an OPC category entry class both in performance and racing format, with a modified Lemans start. While you could technically call the boat a runabout, it is really more of what we refer to as a V-bottom rather than a tunnel hull. My guess, without doing extensive research and knowing some of the drivers who started over there in this class, it is the entry class moving into the tunnel hulls of F4, F2, then F1. It would be interesting to see how many of these drivers are intending or actually go into stock or pro type racing. Overall a great option for APBA as a whole. OR, buy/build some of the exact versions of the stadium racing runabouts used with the Yamato, then you could have a great entry class as well that runs on a clock start. Furthermore, it would be relatively low cost.

            Comment


            • #15

              Re: J Category

              Here's an idea - actually a couple:

              Part 1: Considering the Kyōtei runabouts used in the stadium racing in Japan: that design is obviously working pretty well for that runabout...and they run those motors DEEP so they don't have Yamato cooling problems. So use that design and create the long-awaited 300SSR runabout class for sealed motors in the SO class.

              Part 2: From the same boat that Dad would race in 300SSR.... How much does a Yamato weigh? About 85lbs? A 4-stroke 15hp Mercury weighs about 100lbs - so trade that 15lbs in exchange for a lighter youth class (manual or electric start) running a stock, sealed consumer 15hp motor (fishing gearfoot like the GT15 class discussed earlier). Keep the motor deep enough to cool properly and keep the speeds down (no surfacing propeller). There are plenty of folks smarter than me who can figure out details on whether to use the standard shift control or we allow them to lock in forward gear with a left hand squeeze throttle like we have today. I'm guessing those torque-loaded 4 strokes running deep could be lightly restricted to make a slower and faster class?

              Gotta think out of the box...

              Comment


              • ryan_4z
                ryan_4z commented
                Editing a comment
                Those Japanese runabouts are the coolest thing going, I think. Why are they exciting? Small race courses. Our large races courses are self-serving and lead to boring races....
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