While the COVID-19 pandemic may have impacted the International Watercross Association (IWA) season, it didn’t have much of an impact on the success of Park Rapids’ Blake Higgins and Matt Czeczok.
The pandemic forced the Grantsburg World Championships in Wisconsin in July and the Ely End of the Road Challenge in August to be canceled. Of the five races on the IWA circuit this summer, four were held at Brainerd International Raceway with the other at a new site at Lake Linden, Michigan.
Higgins,who was a World Champion at Grantsburg last summer, moved up to the Pro Class this season and found success by placing in races at all five sites.
In the season opener on June 6-7, Higgins was the runner-up in Semi-Pro Open Ovals and Pro Stock Ovals at the BIR Spring Wet & Wild Weekend.
At the BIR Mid Season on July 22, Higgins took first in Semi-Pro Open Ovals and placed seventh in Pro Stock Ovals and eighth in Mod Drags while Czeczok was second in Semi-Pro Open Ovals.
In the third event at BIR on Aug. 8-9, Higgins placed fifth in Mod Drags, sixth in Pro Stock Ovals and seventh in Semi-Pro Open Ovals.
Higgins placed fourth in Mod Drags, fifth in Pro Stock Ovals and fifth in Semi-Pro Open Ovals at the Lake Linden Water X on Aug. 22-23.
In the season finale, Higgins finished fourth in Semi-Pro Open Ovals and Mod Drags and was ninth in Pro Stock Ovals at the BIR Fall Wet & Wild Weekend 2.0 on Sept. 19-20. Czeczok finished ninth in Semi-Pro Open.
“My watercross season went great, regardless of any extra strains created by COVID,” said Higgins, who was among the leaders in season points for Semi-Pro Open (second), Pro Stock (fifth) and Mod Drags (fifth). “There was a lot of adjustment to compete at the pro class, but I adapted quickly and had some good results. The biggest difference in pro class is the consistency of every racer. Everyone in that class runs pretty flawlessly, so it doesn’t leave any room for errors on my end. It was a lot of fun competing at the pro level and I look forward to even better results next year.”
“My watercross season went fairly well for the circumstances and a couple mechanical issues that put me out of a couple finals,” said Czeczok, who finished sixth overall in Semi-Pro Open Oval season points and seventh overall in Semi-Pro Stock Oval season points. “(I’m) glad the season has come to an end, but definitely looking forward to next year.”