Date: Thu 15 Jun 2017

Throwback Thursday: Rasmussen edges out Francis in Jacksonville cracker

We take a look back at one of tightest finishes AquaX has ever seen as Stuart Rasmussen claimed victory by the smallest of margins in tough conditions.

Jacksonville was the location for the second race of the 2014 campaign, but with strong currents and a heavy river working together to create difficult conditions for the riders over the two-mile race course it would not be easy.

In the 300 class, 11 riders took to the waves hoping to improve their rank in the overall standings, and there was plenty of fireworks on course to keep the locals entertained. In the first heat, championship contenders Rasmussen and Francis battled it out with Scott Dawley’s Kawasaki 300 for the lead. Francis hit the front in his Kawasaki 310 and managed to see it out to claim the 20 points on offer. After losing ground, an incredible revival from Rasmussen secured him a fourth-placed finish, with impressive rides from Anya Colley and Jason Russo bagging second and third respectively.

Having finished strong first-time round, Rasmussen wasted no time in making up for lost ground from the first race, leading from the start and claiming maximum points to get his challenge back on track. The US rider’s performance should have been the highlight of Race 2, but the battle for third and fourth was truly a spectacle to behold. Teammates Francis and Colley were going all out to topple each other, and after a continuous period of overtaking, the former made his move to nail second place on the final lap.

With conditions easing, Francis and Rasmussen were now occupying the top two but didn’t have it easy in the early stages of Race 3. Having recovered from technical issue in the previous race, the 300x of Domenico Barilla hit the front, with Dawley edging out Rasmussen and Francis for second.

Dawley was soon to suffer heartache, however, with a split water hose ending his ride after taking the lead from Barilla. Rasmussen made the most of the situation and passed Barilla to claim first, not looking back to secure top points. Francis could only manage a third-place finish to end up two points behind overall winner Rasmussen, but controversy was soon to strike.

With a technical infringement seeing Barilla stripped of his placing in the final race, the entire field was bumped up one position and secured Francis a further two points. With both riders securing 54 points over the course of the event, it was Rasmussen who held on by the narrowest of margins having secured the maximum in the final race.

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