Round 5: 2014 Hi-Tec Oils Australian V8 Superboat Championships, Temora, NSW.
Victoria based Kiwi Daryl Hutton won a tricky penultimate round of the 2014 Hi-Tec Oils Australian V8 Superboat Championships , held under lights at the New South Wales location of Temora on Saturday night (8 November).
Of the 31 V8 powered water jet pump sprint boats competing, the under lights night event adds a challenging dimension to the six round series. Hutton, who competes in the Unlimited Class, one of three in the competition, had challenges of his own – although relieved to have his own boat back from USA and run with navigator Scott Jones.
Hottest contender Phonsy Mullan (Melton, Vic), winner of the previous round, had his fastest time of 41.594sec “taken away” after being delivered a starting infringement when his first attempt was aborted due to a vibration in his jet unit. Phonsy said “we did lodge a protest and were given the green flag to run the lap” and later “this is hard to swallow, but we will regroup and return to duke it out for the final round on the 29th November”.
Victoria’s Brooke Dixon was again shadowed by bad luck with her engine failing during qualifying and her backup boat was found to have an oil pressure issue after a test run by her dad Phil Dixon. Ted Sygidus of team Frankenstein galantly stepped aside and gave Brooke his boat, enabling her to set fastest time in the top-six elimination and push through to the top three. Joined by fellow Victorian Greg Mercier for the final it was Hutton whose time of 42.573 won him the day. Mercier finished second while Dixon ran up onto the bank and failed to finish the final timed run.
Hutton extends his lead in the overall chase to be 18 clear of Dixon’s 240 while Mullan slips further from title contention to now be 27 points in arrears but he is still in with a chance to be crowned champion.
In the 400 class for engines up to 412 cubic inch in capacity the group of ten demonstrated how close the season’s competition is.
Pace setter and previous round winner Jake Garlick (Queensland) consistently set top-three times during the five qualifying and elimination runs. Nailing the course rotation, Garlick and navigator Lauren Chen saved their best for last with a time of 44.836 in the top-three elimination run. Class leader Damien O’Leary from Adelaide struggled to close the gap to within a second of Garlick – finishing second in the final.
Rueing what could have been Victoria’s Shane Loughnan typically had the measure of O’Leary during the day’s qualifying and early elimination runs. The failure of his engine in the top-three final run could have changed the overall leaderboard. Finishing third for the day keeps him third overall in the standings but the gap between O’Leary and Garlick narrows from nine points to one with one round remaining. O’Leary now has a total of 240 points.
Third at the previous round, Queensland’s Brooke Lucas was on track to match his season’s best result. Running in the top-three time bracket during qualifying the #19 “Trouble Maker” boat left the water metres from the finish – and while managing to slide through the finish line the time lost saw them outside the top-six.
In the 350 restricted category Victoria’s (Seaford) Jeremy Kincaid again showed the eight boat field a clean pair of heels. Paired with navigator Wayde Chalmers they were the only boat to get inside the 50 second bracket – setting a fastest time in the top-six eliminations of 49.734 sec.
Having missed the last three rounds Victoria’s Troy McKenzie provided Kincaid with threatening opposition. Setting his fastest time of 51.630 in the top-12 elimination was the only time anyone got to be less than a second from the round winner during the run-off’s.
Duelling with McKenzie was previous round runner-up Brett Thornton from Queensland. The tit-for-tat battle between the pair ended with Thornton finishing third in the final and a paltry point behind for the round. Although in the overall standings Thornton moves ahead of Scott Roberts for second place – 43 behind Kincaid’s lead of 294.
Of note; all eight in the 350 category finished each run with only one boat making a significant navigational error – in the second (of five) qualifying runs.
The season’s sixth and final round for the 2014 Hi-Tec Oils Australian V8 Superboat Championship returns to Temora – with the Saturday 29 November event being held under lights and promising to be full of excitement.
With up to 60 points available for the final round it comes down to the top-three in each category to settle their final championship positions.