After a ten week sabbatical, the Australian V8 Superboats Championship will return to action this weekend at the Tweed Valley Jetsprint Club at Cabarita Beach on the north coast of New South Wales for the fourth round of the season. Another strong field of entries will do battle across the two-day event, with Victoria’s Phonsy Mullan - the reigning Australian Unlimited Superboat Champion - again expected to set the pace.
The two-time Unlimited Champion was less than 100% last time out, but is expected to be back to full health for the fourth round where he is looking to keep his perfect 2015 record intact, after claiming three round wins from three starts in his 2015 title defence.
Whilst he ultimately claimed comfortable victories during the double-header at Cabarita in late May, it came at the cost of a number of his title rivals, many of whom suffered mechanical issues, but almost all are back for this weekend’s event to try and put an end to Mullan’s winning streak.
Leading the charge will be two-time champion Daryl Hutton, the New Zealander is always a threat and he has upped the ante since May, rebuilding his 670ci ‘big-block’ Chevrolet V8 ‘Big Chief’ to try and take the fight to Mullan.
“Phonsy’s engine has almost unlimited power, so he’s going to be tough to beat, but we got close last time (seven tenths of a second) with our ‘smaller’ engine, so we might be okay,” the laconic kiwi admitted. “As long as I beat Greg Mercier, that will be a start, and from there, who knows, it will be another tough event for the TOTAL Lubricants team.”
Mercier - a fellow former champion - is also looking for a strong result after some mechanical issues last time out with his new jet unit. “We’ve installed a new jet unit in the boat and had little time to develop it ahead of the last event,” the Victorian explained. “Sadly there were some inherent problems which we could only have found under racing conditions, so the best we could do last time out was use the two-day event as a glorified test session, but this time I think you’ll see us surprise a few people.”
Another driver that’s looking to effect a surprise is fellow Victorian Tremayne Jukes. A popular driver amongst his rivals, the former 400-Class front-runner finished the May double-header on the podium on both occasions, claiming second on Saturday and third on Sunday. Whilst he put in one of the drives of the year to drag the ‘small’ 410-ci powered JRE Race Engines boat onto the podium, this time around he will be faced with arguably one of the most dramatic boats in the sport, a 1500bhp supercharged 436ci V8 powered ‘monster’ appropriately named ‘Kamakazee’.
“This boat doesn’t have a great track record,” Jukes admitted.. “Everyone that’s driven it - me included - over the last couple of seasons has had a big ‘off’, but we’ve tried to fix what’s wrong with it, so fingers crossed it will be both drivable, and competitive. We’ll soon see!!”
Jukes won’t be the only one that will be battling big horsepower, with former 400-Class champions Ted and Darek Sygidus sharing driving duties in ‘Frakenzstain’ a 510ci Chevrolet powered Unlimited Superboat with 950 horsepower. The two brothers have won a number of races over the years, but have taken their time to develop the new Unlimited boat, Ted Sygidus - also the President of the Australian Formula Jet Sprint Association (AFJSA) - admitting that the team might have a few surprises in store.
“We were hampered by a lack of development time last time out, although were campaigning our big block engine during the May double-header,” he explained. “Now we’re back to our 510ci engine which is more suitable to the twisty nature of the Cabarita circuit. A lot of development work has gone into this engine, and we think we’re on top of it now thanks to Jason Kavanagh, so we’re looking for a good run and a chance to get ourselves back on the podium.”
With multiple champion Phil Dixon subbing for daughter Brooke [Avenell], the returning New Zealand star Rob Coley looking to make amends for a difficult run in May, and former race winners Tony Giustozzi and Mick Carroll also back in the field, the Cabarita round will be sure to provide plenty of action across the two days of competition.
And whilst the competition in the Unlimited Class will be intense, the depth goes much deeper than that, with an impressive 400 Class field likely to see some tight racing right across the weekend.
Currently the battle between 400 Class regular - and current points leader - Damian O’Leary, and former 350 Class champion Mark Garlick has everyone talking, although last time out they were joined by Garlick’s long-time 350 Class rival Brooke Lucas, the local driver taking his first ever victory on his ‘home’ circuit.
There has been little separating the leading 400 Class teams, so much so that even the smallest of errors has seen some dramatic offs, one of which claimed the experienced Garlick in May, ‘Grumpy’ completing a full rollover before landing back in the channel fortunately without any serious damage to boat or crew.
“That’s how competitive it is, we’re now pushing ten-tenths, there’s little left, so you’re forced to shave every millisecond off your time, otherwise you could be off the podium, ‘it’s fantastic,” the Queenslander admitted after his round three victory.
And whilst the Unlimited Superboat class in Australia continues to grow, the numbers in the 350 Class - the feeder category for the sport - have sadly started to drop off, although the competition at the front is just as strong as it has ever been, and Cabarita will once more see a return to combat for former champion Jake Garlick and round two winner Ben Hathaway.
The fourth round of the Australian V8 Superboat Championships gets underway at Round Mountain Raceway (Round Mountain Road, Cabarita Beach) on Saturday 8 August, with two qualifying sessions taking place from 11:15am, ahead of three more qualifiers and the finals on Sunday, 9 August with gates open at 8:30am.
For those of you unable to make the event, this weekend a range of interviews and videos will be made available 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!
Gates open 8:30am (Sunday), entry $25 (adults), $5 (kids) per day- or, to buy tickets online, please visit http://www.afjsa.com/tickets/
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#4 Australian V8 Superboats Championships
Tweed Valley Jetsprint Club, Cabarita Beach, NSW - 8-9 August, 2015
1. Phonsy Mullan/Kelsie Gill (RAMJET)
10A. Phil Dixon/Jeremy Ward (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. Daryl 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)
400 CLASS (GROUP A)
11. Brooke Lucas/Kianna Lucas (Trouble Maker)
12A. Jesse Watkins/Brendon Greig (Kanaris Engines Racing)
12B. Mark Seddon/Mitch Scott (Kanaris Engines Racing)
39. Kevin Laugesen/Jessica Winsley (spanet)
53. Brett Thornton/Lin Thornton (Obsession)
66. Brad Marsden/Melinda McMullen (Allcott Transformer)
79. Damian O’Leary/Grace Smith (Kryptonite)
95. Mark Garlick/Jamie Anderson (Grumpy)
96. Peter Monger (Mongrel)
360. Greg Harriman/Emma Wilkinson (Pangaea Floors)
74. Jake Garlick/Peta Dary (Evil As)
85. Ben Hathaway/Lisa Oppes (Allcott Transformer)
Saturday, 8 August;
11:15am - Qualifying #1 (60-minutes)
1:30pm - Qualifying #2 (60-minutes)
Sunday, 9 August;
10:30am - Qualifying #3 (45-minutes)
11:15am - Qualifying #4 (45-minutes)
12:00pm - lunch break
12:45pm - Qualifying #5 (45-minutes)
1:30pm - Top 12 (all classes)
2:35pm - Top 6 (all classes)
3:45pm - FINAL (all classes)
2015 Australian V8 Superboat Championships - Series points
Unlimited Superboat (after round three of six)
1. Phonsy Mullan (RAMJET) - 108 points, 2. Ted Sygidus (Frankenstein) - 77, 3. Brooke Avenell (Hi-Tec Oils) - 74, 4. Jamie Welch (Natwel Racing) - 72, 5. Greg Mercier (ACOL Racing) - 64, 6. Tremayne Jukes (JRE Engines) - 63, 7. Daryl Hutton (Total Lubricants) - 61, 8. Darek Sygidus (Frankenstein) - 58, 9. Paul Burgess (Daly Transport) - 56, 10. Cheryl Welch (Natwel Racing) - 48, 10. Rob Coley (Poison Ivy) - 48, 12. Daniel deVoigt (Q-BEARS) - 42, 13. Paul Gaston (Frankenstein Jnr) - 36, 14. Louise Dixon (Hi-Tec Oils) - 24, 14. Tony Giustozzi (Excalibur) - 24, 16. Mick Carroll (Excalibur) - 20.
400-Class (Group A) (after round three of six)
1. Damian O’Leary (Kryptonite) - 99 points, 2. Mark Garlick (Grumpy) - 96, 3. Greg Harriman (Pangaea Floors) - 80, 4. Kevin Laugesen (spanet) - 70, 4. Brad Marsden (Allcott Transformer) - 70, 6. Brooke Lucas (Trouble Maker) - 66, 7. Paul Kelly (Anaconda) - 50, 8. Peter Monger (Mongrel) - 44, 9. Brett Thornton (Obsession) - 42, 10. Jesse Watkins (Kanaris Engines) - 38, 11. Dave Moody (Jackhammer) - 28
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 - 24 October, Temora (NSW)
Rnd#6 - 21-22 November, Tweed Coast (NSW)
For more information on the 2015 Australian V8 Superboat Championships, please visit www.v8superboats.com.au