Breaking: Bushell to Contest Disqualification, Official Statement Released

The biggest news to come from this past weekend’s racing was possibly one of the most shocking disqualifications in recent years.
As reported to Watercraft Performance – as of the evening of Sunday, May 5th – two-time IJSBA World Champion James Bushell was stripped of his domination over the Pro Open Runabout class for having his ski weigh a staggering 130 pounds under weigh set by the IJSBA Rule Book.

At the time of this announcement, the Internet erupted in a fury of questions and finger pointing. If this setup was the same that Bushell used to win last year’s Finals, how was this not caught earlier? Did the IJSBA not do its job? Did Bushell and the crew at Sea-Doo Centre blatantly try to break the rules? Needless to say, things were getting messy fast.
In an effort to keep his Round 1 points, Bushell wisely consulted his team and the rule book, and opted to protest the ruling. First, according to the statement, you’ll find that the claim of 130 is grossly exaggerated; second, you’ll see that in accordance to some awkward wording on behalf of the IJSBA website, that the champ might have a pretty strong leg to stand on.


James Bushell’s team is fighting to overturn a disqualification ruling deemed unfair and ahead of time, after the PWC star won the first three motos of the US championship, only to be told his ski was underweight.
After the race, James’ new ski was found to be 78lbs underweight according to new rules – yet the IJSBA website stated that the weight change would not be coming into play until 2014.

Speaking after the decision, James said: “My World Finals ski weighed in at 663lbs and this new one is heavier – 672lbs. Nobody knew about this new ruling coming into force before the stated date, and I feel the IJSBA was wrong to call disqualification.”
A spokesman for 158 Racing said there was no 2013 rule book available until a couple of days before the meeting and, although the new weight ruling was announced on the IJSBA website in January, the recommendation was that it would not come in until 2014. This statement is still live on the IJSBA website, in an article dated January 4, 2013. (See HERE )
We also caught up with James’ father, Steve Bushell, who told us that James is disappointed by the circumstances around the ruling, and insists the weight of his Sea-Doo was race-legal, with documentation to prove that the new weight rule was not due to be introduced until 2014.

Steve explained: “This sport is a fun sport – it’s not like we’re being paid footballers’ wages – but the rules need to be defined BEFORE we go to racing! The rules on the official website state that the new weight was not due to come into effect until 2014; James’ team is always extremely careful to ensure we’re working well within the rule book, so there’s no way they would have allowed him to race on a Sea-Doo that was not legal.”

He added: “We have lodged a protest because we feel we have been treated unfairly, and we’re hoping the decision will be overturned, so we’ll await the outcome before commenting further.”

Right now, the ball is in the hands of Scott Frazier and the IJSBA. We’ll keep you posted as news breaks.

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