Nicolas Rius took second and will be hoping to hold off Francis on Sunday
With three hours of delays caused by stormy conditions in the morning and marine wildlife on course during the afternoon, the Pro and AMs were forced to race together just to get race one on the board, making for some interesting racing and lots of overtaking.
The Pros launched first, with the new Sea-Doo RXT-X 300 of Erminio Iantosca taking the holeshot and rocketing into a strong lead.
However, his early blistering pace wasn’t to last as Nicolas Rius collared the leader after a couple of laps, before both Eric Francis and Brian Baldwin advanced past Iantosca making it a RIVA Racing 1-2-3 with 10 minutes on the clock.
Positions remained relatively consistent throughout the middle of the race before Francis started to pile the pressure on Rius, closing the gap by a couple of seconds per lap before taking the lead with a powerful move up the inside on the left hand side of the course.
Brian Baldwin completed a RIVA Racing 1-2-3 on Saturday
He was able to pull away from Rius in the final minutes and finished stronger than anyone on the track to take an overnight lead with three races planned for tomorrow should conditions and time allow.
Rius was a clear second from Baldwin, whilst Iantosca held a comfortable fourth as the top four pulled away from the rest of the pack.
Chris Saxon produced one of his best performances of the season to jump from 8th to 5th with an outstanding last lap pass of European favourite Thomas Favolini.
Jay Edworthy was a consistent 7th and will be happy with his day and was followed by Tommy Olswang and Dave Huddlestone.
Huddlestone had probably the most eventful of races, colliding with a buoy early doors causing him to drop to last after taking the penalty buoy, before slowly making his way back through the pack to land a top ten finish.
Anthony Radetic suffered a mechanical failure and was forced to retire early whilst Eric Lagopolous was forced back into 10th on the last lap after starting strong alongside GEICO racer Jason Russo.
Re-watch the action LIVE on our Facebook page and catch the highlights of day one.