The Australian V8 Superboat Championships heads to its ‘northern home’ this weekend (23-24 May) for a double-header event that will score for both rounds two and three of the seven round series, but whilst that is motivation enough to bring competitor’s boats out of the garage, no-one quite expected the battle this weekend is shaping up to provide.
Entries have come from all quarters, from former champions, to international drivers, and the event has even attracted the attention of global icons Red Bull who have sent a team from Austria to cover the expected fireworks..!
And the interest doesn’t stop there. Immediately after wrapping up the opening round at Temora, reigning champion Phonsy Mullan was injured on a motocross bike which saw the Victorian lying prostrate on a hospital bed for a couple of days. There was initially some concern that the RAMJET pilot would miss the all important double-point scoring round, however doctors have pronounced him fit enough to compete and he will lead an impressive entry of Unlimited teams.
Two-time champion Darryl Hutton will return in the Total Lubricants big-block powered Unlimited boat looking to take the fight to Mullan, as will fellow former champion and current world #2 Greg Mercier who was forced to sit out the opening round after a last minute issue forced him to step out of his own boat and share the Hi-Tec Oils boat of Brooke Avenell. Sadly the duo were both forced to retire after a mechanical issue in qualifying, leaving them well behind in the points battle, so both will be looking for a big points haul this weekend.
Avenell is a multiple champion in the 400 Class, and a proven race winner already in an Unlimited Superboat. She has shown on multiple occasions that her deft touch is often the quickest way to circulate a jetboat circuit, where many of her rivals rely on sheer aggression, often with an exciting conclusion..!
Throw in returning former race winners Mick Carroll (Mr Excitement), team-mate Tony Giustozzi and the Sygidus brothers in the mighty 1200-horsepower alloy big-block powered ‘Frankenstein’, and rising young star Tremayne Jukes and you have the recipe for a weekend to remember, but as the commercial says.. but wait, there’s more..
Joining the field from New Zealand will be one of that series’ biggest stars, Rob Coley in his race-winning Unlimited Superboat ‘Poison Ivy’. Coley will be joined by Paul Gaston, an Australian who does most of his racing in New Zealand, the Queenslander jumping aboard ‘Frankenstein Jnr’ the boat which the Sygidus brothers took to a double-podium finish at the opening round at Temora in March.
With Australian-based kiwi Darryl Hutton making it three New Zealanders contending in the Unlimited class, the event has not only taken on a profile as a battle of the titans, but an unofficial Australia versus the All Blacks competition at the same time!!
Now whilst this would be enough to animate even the biggest of armchair heroes to get their backsides off the couch, we haven’t thrown the steak knives in yet..
Yes, the 400 Class, and already there is a hot contest shaping up between former race winners and long-time title contenders Damien O’Leary and Temora race winner Mark Garlick. Garlick, a former 350 Class champion will have some more pressure this weekend, as reigning champion - son Jake - will be back in the field behind the wheel of a rival boat. There will also be a number of local challengers, including another former 350 class champion in Brett Thornton who with wife Lin alongside, who will be making their 400 Class debut later in the season.
Throw in Temora podium contenders Greg Harriman and Kevin Laugesen, local star Brooke Lucas - a man recognized for some of the most spectacular crashes at the Tweed Coast facility - and a range of drivers new to the sport making their debuts, and you have yet another recipe for a weekend of outstanding action.
As for the likely winners, you’re better served in going after the winning Tattslotto numbers, because your chances of predicting an outcome ahead of this weekend are just as slight as landing the ‘big one’.
But for those of you unable to make the event, this weekend a range of interviews and videos will be made available almost immediately via www.facebook.com/V8Superboats where results and updates will also be posted, but if you live in the area, do yourself a big favour, and drop down to Round Mountain Raceway to take in some of the action live, you certainly won’t be disappointed!
The second round of the Australian V8 Superboat Championships gets underway at Round Mountain Raceway (Round Mountain Road, Cabarita Beach) on Saturday May 23 and Sunday May 24 (gates open 9:00am, entry $25 (adults), $5 (kids) per day) - both days will feature a stand-alone round of the Australian titles. Family tickets and weekend passes also available, please visit; https://www.facebook.com/V8Superboats/app_456277661055966
For those who text 'friend' to 0416 067 057, you can receive ‘entry special’ deal on your tickets. For more information, please visit www.tweedvalleyjetsprintclub.com.au
Rnd#2/3 Australian V8 Superboats Championships
Tweed Valley Jetsprint Club, Cabarita Beach, NSW - 23-24 May, 2015
1. Phonsy Mullan/Kelsie Gill (RAMJET)
10A. Brooke Avenell/Lauren Hopkins (Hi-Tec Oils)
10B. Louise Dixon/Karen Symes (Hi-Tec Oils)
15. Tremayne Jukes/Daniel James (Maniac)
18. Paul Burgess/Liam Hayes (Daly Transport)
22A. Jamie Welch/Simone Craige (Natwel Racing)
22B. Cheryl Welch/Shauna Dean (Natwel Racing)
27. Greg Mercier/Dorinda Mercier (ACOL Racing)
28. Darryl Hutton/Scott Jones (Total Lubricants)
86. Daniel deVoigt/Vicki Burrell (Q-BEARS)
93A. Mick Carroll (Excalibur)
93B. Tony Giustozzi (Excalibur)
111. Rob Coley (Poison Ivy)
666A. Ted Sygidus/Jay Houston (Frankenstein)
666B. Darek Sygidus/Austin Gill (Frankenstein)
999. Paul Gaston/Louise Blythe (Frankenstein Jnr)
400 CLASS (GROUP A)
11. Brooke Lucas/Kianna Lucas (Trouble Maker)
12. Jesse Watkins/Mark Seddon (Kanaris Engines Racing)
39. Kevin Laugesen/Jessica Winsley (spanet)
40. Paul Kelly/Gavin Armstrong (Anaconda)
53. Brett Thornton/Lin Thornton (Obsession)
66. Brad Marsden/Melinda McMullen (Allcott Transformer)
74. Jake Garlick/Peta Dary (Evil As)
79. Damien O’Leary/Grace Smith (Kryptonite)
85. Ben Hathaway/Lisa Oppes (Weapon)
95. Mark Garlick/Jamie Anderson (Grumpy)
360. Greg Harriman/Sammy Leonard (AQUA Bar)
RACE SCHEDULE (both days);
9:00am - Qualifying (4x rounds)
1:00pm - Top 12 (all classes)
2:00pm - Top 6 (all classes)
2:40pm - FINALS (all classes)
2015 Australian V8 Superboat Championships - Series points
Unlimited Superboat (after round one of seven)
1. Phonsy Mullan (RAMJET) - 36 points, 2. Ted Sygidus (Frankenstein) - 33, 3. Darek Sygidus (Frankenstein) - 30, 4. Jamie Welch (Natwel Racing) - 28, 5. Paul Burgess (Daly Transport) - 26, 6. Cheryl Welch (Natwel Racing) - 24, 7. Daniel deVoigt (Q-BEARS) - 22, 8. Brooke Avenell (Hi-Tec Oils) - 20, 9. Greg Mercier (ACOL Racing) - 18
400-Class (Group A) (after round one of seven)
1. Mark Garlick (Grumpy) - 36 points, 2. Damian O’Leary (Kryptonite) - 33, 3. Greg Harriman (Pangaea Floors) - 30, 4. Dave Moody (Jackhammer) - 28, 5. Kevin Laugesen (spanet) - 26, 6. Brad Marsden (Allcott Transformer) - 24
2015 Australian Superboat Championships
Rnd#1 - 7 March, Temora (NSW)
Rnd#2/3 - 23-24 May, Tweed Coast (NSW)
Rnd#4 - 8-9 August, Tweed Coast (NSW)
Rnd#5 - 26 September, (venue TBC)
Rnd#6 - 24 October, Temora (NSW)
Rnd#7 - 21-22 November, Tweed Coast (NSW)
For more information on the 2015 Australian V8 Superboat Championships, please visit www.v8superboats.com.au
All photographs supplied by Russell Puckeridge from Pureart Creative Images