This past weekend, your local Sulphur Springs High School Freshman, Andrew Vo, a 14-year-old professional jetski racer, competed at the Jetski World Finals. It is Andrew’s third year of Jetski racing. He and his family raced in the Jettribe Mid America race series, covering Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Kentucky. After a long, tough race season, Andrew was able to earn impressive overall trophies for his region, a first place in the 2-Stroke Lites (13-15 yrs old) class and a second place in the 4-Stroke Lites (13-15 yrs old ) class on both of his Yamaha stand up race skis.
For the finals competition, Andrew, his family, and the support team traveled to Lake Havasu, Arizona, to compete at the legendary IJSBA Jetski World Finals, where international riders and national riders compete against the best of the best jetski riders for the world title. It was indeed an international event. Riders traveled from Europe, Asia, South America, and Dubai – a total of 27 individual countries participated.
It was the most challenging race Andrew had ever fought, both on and off the track. It was exhausting, from the emotional defeats to being physically drained from the multiple qualifying heats, plus LCQ (last chance qualifier). It was such a big race class that Andrew had to place in the top six to move on to the main race event. After racing in two heats, he did not qualify. To make it more challenging in the LCQ, just the top three kids could move to the main race. It was the final lap in the LCQ, and Andrew was in fourth place. They thought our hopes were lost, and the team thought we were packing up to go home, preparing for the disappointment that we would have gone so far yet not qualify to race the main.
Then, the third-place rider suddenly came off his ski from Andrew pushing hard from behind. With Andrew in the position to take third, he was the last kid to qualify for the main race! Whew – we were not going home early!
In the final races, Andrew could control his emotions and draw on his depleted stamina from qualifying. We are so proud of Andrew for earning sixth place and tenth place in the world against the best and fastest Junior stand-up jetski racers, from being the last kid to qualify to race.
The most crucial aspect that Andrew learned from racing is not about winning on the track. It is not just about being first or being the fastest. Titles and trophies fade away over time. It’s about teamwork, making lifetime memories, and building friendships that last a lifetime, with humbleness and gratitude for the experience.
It took an entire race team to get Andrew to the race track. Thanks to Andrew Vo’s sponsors, Cometic Gaskets, Klotz Oil, Bomber Eye Wear, and Nauti Shine.
Our team feels excellent gratitude for Team New Zealand for adopting Andrew to their race team. Kylie E., Simon M., Oillie M., and Dave M. for the coaching, training, working on the race skis and holding. Thanks to Jon L. and John G. for spending weeks preparing the race rig and fuel, etc.
Most of all, we could not race without the matriculate builds from Dale’s Jetsports and the software tunning from Caberra Motor Sports.
Thank you to Andrew’s high school teachers for not sending him to detention for missing school.