The greatest development guru in jet ski history Bill Chapin passed away at the age of 65 suffering from heart issues for a week at Lake Havasu hospital.
Chapin had a successful career as a Jet Ski racer and Motocross rider however he was highly motivated on developing parts among those was suspension for MX and mountain bikes, automotive parts, etc. He was involved with many companies in the jet ski scenes such as PJS, Team Butch, MoTec and R&D, and he developed one of a kind parts for stand-ups and runabouts in the early two-stroke years and later in the four-stroke era. He won the first ever four-stroke title in Pro Runabout Open in 2006 with the exceptional STX-15F Supercharged which was a big accomplishment for him and for Kawasaki.
He cooperated with many teams and riders in the USA (Jeff Jacobs, Larry Rippenkroeger, Rob Flores, Victor Sheldon, Christy Carlson, Mike Follmer, etc), as well as in Europe and Asia. His input to the Kuwait Team was remarkable and he worked with individuals such as Minoru Kanamori from Japan, Mike Klippenstein from Canada, Team Pastorello from France, Raphael Maurin from France, BJ Ang from Philippines, Nicolas Rius in the early years, Aswar brothers from Indonesia and list goes on.
Locals in Lake Havasu City still believe that he was hard to approach and work with. Well, this is true on one hand however on the other hand Bill was being protective as he was trying to protect his secrets and tuning data from the “smart” guys who want to get everything for free in other words to get it without doing any work.
I met Bill back in 2006 when I tested Chris MacClugage’s 800 SX-R and STX-15F Supercharged. My input on those watercrafts attracted Bill’s attention and since then we became very good friends. When he was working on something I never asked him anything since I knew he wouldn’t reply. Then he was telling me to come closer to the bench and he was explaining to me what he was doing. He knew things that most people never even tried to test in the pwc scene. He was always experimenting and testing new ideas. We were going early on beach before the sunrise in order to do things in a peaceful environment. There were times I was working along with Bill until late at night and we were back on the water early in the morning. Bill was a hard working person, he worked from 06:00 to 10:00+ seven days a week.
Lately he was working on a project with Kawasaki (KMC) with Jeremy McGrath and the Kawasaki KRX 1000 Teryx. Jeremy managed to finished second overall at King of Hammers which was an amazing achievement for Kawasaki, a company that came out of nowhere and shoot right to the podium. Bill told me that he was confident this year with the new parts and Jeremy would have been able to win the race. After that he was planning to retire from the racing scene.
Certainly he will be missed but he never be forgotten. R.I.P. Bill Chapin