Eddie’s World - World Exclusive
Exploring Lake Havasu along with four-times GP500 World Champion Eddie Lawson, and riding three different Yamaha WaveRunners.
In the early nineties four-times GP500 World Champion, Californian Eddie Lawson put an end to his racing carrier as a GP500 rider. After a long lasting relationship with Yamaha, a short experience with HRC and two years with Cagiva, he decided that it was time to enjoy life. He still races Super-carts and along with his good friend Wayne Rainey prefers to hang around with other friends on the water and have fun with his WaveRunners. Especially since he has a nice house in Lake Havasu City, Arizona. He is a great fan of personal watercrafts and mostly enjoys having fun on his Blaster.
Eddie is close friend of R&D’s guru Bill Chapin (and Glenn Dickinson) and we have been introduced to each other five years ago when I accidentally mentioned to Bill that I had met Eddie in the early nineties in Branch Hatch, UK. That was the beginning of our friendship since Bill picked up the phone and called Eddie and started telling him all about the memories I had described earlier on. During the 30th Anniversary of the IJSBA World Finals I met Eddie again at the Paddock since he was hanging around with Bill so when the races were over, Bill and Eddie invited me for a tour around Lake Havasu. I have been visiting Lake Havasu for the past ten years though I had never had the opportunity or the time to explore the lake. Lake Havasu City is known as the Mecca of Personal Watercraft Racing since it hosts the annual event for 30 years.
It is located in Arizona, approximately in the middle of a triangle formed by the three largest population centers, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Phoenix. It is almost a five-hour drive from LA, two and a half from Vegas and three from Phoenix. It was founded in 1964 by John McCulloch and since then it has grown from a village to an actual city.
We met at nine o’clock sharp in the morning –as sharp it could be since Eddie was making fun of us- at Windsor Beach with the scope to head towards the North side of the Lake. Eddie was on board his R&D - Bill Chapin specifically tuned FZR, Bill was riding Eddie’s Yamaha FX SHO Cruiser and my friend Akis Malouchos and I, were on board a Yamaha VXR equipped with a R&D Stage 1 kit. It was the race craft that Aero Aswar won the Iron Man title 8 months ago. The weather was perfect with a reasonable temperature (which means that it was not too hot for the Arizona standards), mild wind blowing and slightly chopped making its presence on the blue waters of Lake Havasu.
The landscape was magnificent on our way to the North. Among the green coves there were small –private would anyone say- beaches were visitors parked their fishing boats to have fun. Some others were simply camping and enjoying the beautiful sun and the calm waters of the lake. The color of the water was different from one place to the other depending on the depth of the lake. It was turning from Havasu-blue to light blue or even green however when we reached a sandy reef or actually a place, were the water was very shallow. Initially we passed from Blackendship Bend and Mohave Rock and through the narrow passage of Picture Rock we reached the Sand Dunes beach. Eddie knew the area very well, so he advised us on which points we should go with a lower speed. We stopped on the reef, more actually a very shallow point of Sand Dunes to take a few pictures and then we continued our trip to the North.
The scenery changed a lot since we actually started riding through a canal –Split Rock- within the Great Rocky Mountains. The red stone color of the mountains made a perfect contrast with the green coves and the blue water. The morphology of the landscape was superb at Lave Totem as we were approaching Devil’s Elbow, which was actually the narrowest passage of this point. Leaving Devil’s Elbow and Pulpit Rock behind us, we headed towards Topock Bridge. For years I used to drive on that bridge on the 40 Interstate prior to reaching Lake Havasu City and for the first time I was actually passing under the bridge while riding a Yamaha VXR. After passing under the bridge, we entered Mohabi Regional Park Marina and we idled in order to reach Pirate Cove so we can have lunch. Beautiful was the coast with the golden sand and the cozy wooden rental houses. A peaceful place for anyone to stay, especially for people who needed to get away from big city’s noise and smog. We parked our WaveRunners on the shore and we headed to the Pirate Cove for a cold drink. The view was magnificent and along with the hot Arizona weather we had the perfect conditions to relax and talk all about jet skis and motorcycles.
On the way back to where we started our trip, we went faster since we had the opportunity to swap boats with Eddie and Bill in order to feel the performance and handling of the three different WaveRunners. We drag raced side-by-side Eddie’s FX SHO with R&D’s VXR. Eddie was piloting the later while I was on board his FX SHO with my partner Akis. Both crafts were equal top speed wise, clocking 70mph on the SHO LCD screen. Eddie was fascinated by the performance of the natural aspirated VXR, however insisted that he preferred his Bill Chapin specifically tuned FZR which was topping 80+mph easily. Well, you know that if you have Bill Chapin close to your craft everyone knows that instantly you gain power and performance before even putting his hands on it.
The very next day we met at the same place and headed at the North part of the lake. We went around the Island by viewing the small coasts and Lighthouses, before we entered the narrow part of the Lake. The landscape and the color of the water was a lot different from the North part of the lake. We cruised in a good rhythm as our priority, was to have breakfast at The Springs restaurant all the way down to Parker Damn. We parked our WaveRunners in the Marina and enjoyed our premium breakfast. If you have never been there, we do recommend that visit. Definitely do not miss it.
On our way back we discovered the beautiful coasts and small islands that we formed in the lake at various places. On places were the water is extremely shallow there was an American flag noting the dangers to the boaters. There are many places available for camping in the South East part of the lake. Also, there are many bays formed in such a way that they are actually hidden. If you know them you can visit them and invite your friends for a private party.
We played around those buoys by enjoying riding our Yamaha’s such a way –following the coast line- that made it a unique game. The faster we were going the funnier it became. We reached Body Beach, which was empty three days after the World Finals were over. However, it was interesting to watch Eddie putting his R&D tuned FZR in the buoy course. Even an amateur’s eye could easily tell that this guy had race experience since his lines were very good.
Then we idled through the small canal in front of Island Inn Resort, the area that accommodated the World Finals, when the sport was at its peak. The scene was beautiful and the view magnificent. Riding through the canal at a low speed many stories were told as memories came through my mind about the history of the World Finals in Havasu. As we approached London Bridge, we realized how beautiful it is when you actually look at it from the boat. I have seen it so many times, from both coasts, even from Makai’s when we go for breakfast with Bill, Glenn and their friends however it is so different when you pass underneath on a pwc. McCulloch was a smart person, very sharp indeed and he managed to transform the desert in to an oasis and made it look unique by bringing one of London’s bridges to the middle of nowhere.
We took our time to idle under London Bridge and riding through the canal, however before we called it a day we had the opportunity to test side-by-side Eddie’s Limited FZR with R&D’s newest Limited FZR version. I had the honor to drag race side by side with Eddie, while I was on board Bill’s FZR. The result was outstanding since Bill’s FZR outperformed Eddie’s on acceleration from low rpm and in top speed by at least 3-4mph. We switched crafts and the result remained the same. “Now, I want this one up on my trailer” Eddie commented while we were at the launching dock.
Special thanks to Eddie Lawson and Bill Chapin for the particular invitation and the opportunity to test ride side-by-side three different Yamaha WaveRuners.
R&D Racing Products USA Inc.
12983 Los Nietos Rd.
Santa Fe Springs. CA. 90670