By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal
Claude Clayton wanted to have solid 2012 season on the jet ski racing circuit, especially with a new sponsor on board.
The Tupelo racer didn’t disappoint.
Riding his corporate sponsor SeaDoo’s jet watercraft, Clayton finished second overall this season in the International Jet Sports Boating Association’s Pro-Am Runabout Open points standings.
“Getting the corporate sponsorship is a really big deal,” said Clayton, who competes for Judge Motorsports. “I got two new (SeaDoo) skis and raced those all year.
“It was the first year of a new relationship and you want to prove to them that they are getting their money’s worth.”
Clayton says the second overall points finish was the highlight of his racing career.
“I tried to be really consistent and make the top three in every competition,” he said. “There were times when I could have ridden more aggressive, and taken some chances, but I didn’t want to risk having a bad finish and hurting us in the points standings.”
Now that the national circuit season has ended, Clayton has his sights set on the world championships, scheduled for Sept. 29-Oct. 7 in Lake Havasu City, Ariz.
Clayton finished seventh overall in the Pro Open class at last year’s IJSBA World Finals.
“I’m looking forward to getting out there,” he said. “You have a different mentality – go for broke – when you go out there. I’m looking to improve on my result from last year.”
Clayton hopes to continue his sponsorship with SeaDoo.
“This first year with them was definitely a step in the right direction,” he said. “We have access to things we wouldn’t have. It’s nice to have their support.”
Clayton, who operates a motorsports business in Tupelo, won a jet ski racing world championship (2004) and a national title (2005) competing as an amateur.