Jet Ski: Spires wins World Finals
In the 13 years since he picked up the sport, Gardnerville resident Blaine Spires, 25, has had his fair share of successes in the world of jet skiing.
But there was one thing that kept eluding his grasp.
Despite a couple of national titles, and a string of eight-consecutive years qualifying for the world finals, he never could quite hammer down that world finals championship.
Then life kind of stepped in the way.
He took the entire 2008 season off while he graduated from college, got married and moved into a new home. He also managed to put together a campaign for a seat on the Douglas County Board of Commissioners in the 2008 election.
That left little time for his athletic adventures on the water.
“I really did miss it,” Spires said. “I told myself coming into this year that I can get gainfully employed, just do a couple little races here and there and try to make the world finals. I wasn’t expecting much. I figured whatever I could do would be great.”
And as the saying goes, sometimes when you least expect it, amazing things can (and do) happen.
Spires won the International Jet Sports Boating Association World Finals title in the Pro-Am Runabout 800SS class last month at Lake Havasu, Ariz. He was up against a field that included the top racers from Thailand, Kuwait and of course, the United States.
“I think it was one of those psychological things that when you really aren’t expecting it to happen, that’s when it seems to come together. I just kind of got into it at the last minute and it turned out to be the first time I won the world finals.
“I did a couple regional races. I was going more for fun. I just missed the people and the atmosphere.”
After posting successful results at the pair of regional races, Spires thought he could get back in top racing shape in time for the world finals.
“The two races were enough practice to kind of get back into the swing of things,” he said. “I started hitting the gym again.
“My dad (Brad Spires) and I put the boat back together and met up down there with one of my buddies from up here, Jeremy Godfrey and my mechanic since 2000, Chad Cole, and they kind of formed my crew.”
After qualifying, Spires took second in the first moto (10 laps) at the world finals. He won the second moto (six laps) outright, giving him the overall title.
“The boat was solid, just running really well,” he said. “That second moto, I just had a phenomenal start – One of the best starts I’ve ever had. I came out in second around the splits and was lucky enough to not make any mistakes from there.
“I just kept thinking I had to keep riding a good race, because so many things can happen. Even once I got a good lead, I just kept at it and kind of mellowed down a bit so as not to risk the boat at all. Once I crossed the finish line, I was very excited. It all finally came together.”
Spires said he wanted to thank his sponsors, Michael’s Cycle Works in Carson City, Skat-Trak and Hyrdo-Turf.
“I’m just really thankful to my dad and to Chad, my mechanic, too,” he said.
His next target, he said is the 2010 King’s Cup in Thailand next December.
“It’s like a $10,000 prize if you can win it,” Spires said. “You’re up against the very best in the world.
“I’ve been wanting to do it for a long time. Some great riders have beent here. I’ll have to figure some things out with work, but my goal is to be there.”