Allcott Hire Park in Temora played host to a ‘double-header’ under lights to complete the 2016 Australian V8 Superboats Championships, but whilst their rivals threw everything - including the proverbial kitchen sink - at them, they could do little to stop Phonsy Mullan and Brett Thornton from claiming the series crowns.
They didn’t have it easy though, far from it, Mullan facing intense competition from returning former Group A world champion Slade Stanley on his way to claiming a record fourth consecutive Unlimited Superboat title, whilst Thornton’s closest rival in 400-Class - Brooke Lucas - claimed victory in the penultimate round before Thornton once more stamped his authority on the final event to claim his maiden Group A championship.
After being forced to postpone the proposed October 1 round of the championship due to heavy persistent rain, Temora delivered two stunning days of brilliant sunshine and warm nights to allow the 2016 season to come to its conclusion, a season which has seen some impressive new entries battling with the established stars.
The fans too turned out in droves, with two of the biggest crowds in the sport’s recent history, pushing drivers even harder as they negotiated two nights of competition back-to-back.
The biggest news ahead of the final two rounds of the season was the return of Slade Stanely in his all new twin-turbo 440ci V8 powered Stinger ‘Hazardous’, the former national and world Group A champion and long-time rival to Phonsy Mullan a crowd favourite at Temora, the Wagga-based driver too showing from opening practice that he was ready for a fight..
Campaigning a similar powerplant, Melbourne’s Tremayne Jukes too was expecting to be in the mix in ‘Maniac’, the Victorian proving across prior rounds that he was more than a match for the former ‘Loose Canon’ machine that had amazed crowds around the country in previous seasons in the hands of Dean and Tyler Finch.
Another driver who could never be discounted is multiple Australian champion Daryl Hutton, the Australian-based New Zealander always quick to take advantage of any of the faster boats striking trouble - he also had additional motivation as the only real threats to Phonsy Mullan’s chances of claiming four titles back-to-back.
Typically Mullan went out the gate hard, his 39.986 in the opening qualifier almost two seconds faster than Jukes. He went eight tenths faster in the second session, where both Jukes and Stanley failed to make much of an impact, Adelaide’s Tony Giustozzi jumping to second behind Mullan, the ‘Excalibur’ pilot looking to be the greatest threat to Mullan’s continuing domination.
By the third qualifier, all the big guns were starting to fire and by the fourth, the horizon looked very different to that of the opening qualifier. Giutsozzi finished Q3 as the fastest driver, his 39.745 mere hundredths faster than Mullan, whilst in Q4, Stanley set a 39.667 to go to the top, Mullan unable to find his Q2 form with two laps in the 39.7s.
For the final session Stanley threw down the gauntlet with an impressive 39.186 to top all five qualifiers, just five one hundredths faster than Mullan’s best, the ‘RAMJET’ driver though electing to sit out the session to conserve for the finals.
Tony Giustozzi’s Q3 time was enough to classify him third overall, ahead of Tremayne Jukes, whilst outgoing AFJSA President Ted Sygidus was starting to find some pace to be fifth in ‘Frankenzstain Jnr’, six tenths up on younger brother Darek.
Daryl Hutton set the seventh fastest time overall, the jetsprint veteran turning to the tools to try and uncover some more speed from the ‘American Automotive’ machine.
Whilst things were heating up in the Unlimited class, the 400s too was starting to get interesting, especially with the arrival of a new boat..
Since September when the Series last competed at the Tweed Coast venue, former 350-Class front-runner Ben Hathaway had taken delivery of the ex-Brooke Avenell/Jesse Watkins Sprintec that took Avenell to multiple Group A victories in past seasons, marking Hathaway as a man to watch.. He didn’t disappoint.
Like Mullan, points leader Brett Thornton was quick immediately, but the pack closed in as the finals approached with Hathaway, Brooke Lucas, Greg Harriman and Mitch Roylance setting some blistering qualifiers.
In the end, it was Thornton who topped the timesheets ahead of the finals, his Q4 43.493 eight tenths quicker than Hathaway’s best, with Lucas, Harriman and Mitch Roylance covered by another six tenths.
Jody Ely was next best in ‘Rampage’ ahead of Dave Moodie and Hugh Gilchrist who was improving every session in ‘Pangaea Floors’ which he was sharing with the experienced Greg Harriman.
It was nice to see a new entry too in the form of Graham Reynolds in ‘REDRUM’, sadly though he spent much of the day on the sidelines after an off in the fourth qualifier saw the boat submerge which flooded, and ultimately destroyed the engine, although within hours he’d negotiated the purchase of a backup engine to ensure he’d be on the water for the season final.. Clearly the V8 Superboat bug had bitten..!
With Stanley on top of the times, and Mullan unable to match his best from Q2, all eyes were on the two former 400 Class champions as they went out for the first final, Stanley setting a stunning 39.146 - just four one hundredths shy of his Q5 time to top the timesheets, Mullan again in the 39.7s, but only third fastest after Tremayne Jukes went P2 - defeating the three-time champion by eight one hundredths.. Things were heating up.
In the Top 6 final though, the balance swung dramatically back into the favour of Mullan after Stanley suffered a big off mid lap which inverted ‘Hazardous’ and stopped his progress dead. So big was the hit that the team were forced to retire the boat on the spot and withdraw from the season final, devastating for both crew and fans alike.. Fortunately neither Slade nor wife Vanessa were injured, but for the new Stinger, it was game over.. “It’s frustrating,” Stanley lamented afterwards.. “I was pushing hard, and jumped back on the throttle just a fraction too early after some cavitation, and was just spat out of the water. The most disappointing thing is that to that point, the boat was flawless, it was on rails. Straight off the trailer it was fast, in fact so fast that I started looking for more, and perhaps overstepped the mark. It’s a good sign for things to come, but disappointing that we’ve bent it. I think the engine is okay because I was able to kill the power pretty quickly, but we’ll have to see. It was great to be back behind the wheel, and I’m looking forward to what we can achieve for 2017!”
By the close of the top six, just three boats were remaining. After Stanley’s demise, Mullan found a little more to jump to the fastest time of the weekend - 39.059, whilst Tony Giustozzi showed that he was still able to extract a pretty impressive lap time from the naturally aspirated 510 to go P2 - Tremayne Jukes completing the trio for the final.
Jeremy Kincaid was an impressive fourth with his giant-killing supercharged Ford V8, just ahead of Darek Sygidus, Daryl Hutton unable to make the start for the second final.
Ultimatelythough the win went to ‘RAMJET’, Mullan again pulling some magic to set the fastest lap of the day - 38.945. Jukes too found a little something extra to be second, his 39.197 lap just quarter of a second shy of Mullan, forcing the three-time champion to dig that little bit deeper. Giustozzi too put in an impressive lap, but was unable to displace either of the Victorian drivers forcing him to settle for third.
400-Class too saw a number of surprises as the finals progressed.
Notably Ben Hathaway in his new boat who set a stunning Top 12 time, finding almost a second on his best qualifying time to go straight to the top of the timesheets, his 43.522 a full six tenths faster than Brett Thornton, and more than a second faster than Brooke Lucas. Mitch Roylance too was getting quicker and quicker in ‘Black Jack’, the Forbes local going one better in the Top 6 to displace points leader Thornton and move into the final.
Ultimately though it was the ‘sleeper’ Brooke Lucas in ‘Trouble Maker’ who emerged on top, the former 350-Class national champion relishing the underdog tag.. “The only time you need to finish on top is the final,” he beamed afterwards.
Whilst his 43.928 run in the final was more than half a second faster than his best for the day, it was still slower than both Thornton and Hathaway during the day, neither of whom would complete the final - Thornton eliminated in the Top 6, and Hathaway after an off in the final, fortunately with minimal damage to his new steed.
Second though was Mitch Roylance, the Temora winner on his series debut earlier in the season putting in his best run of the day with a 44.898 to grab more important championship points ahead of Saturday’s season final.
For 4-time Australian V8 Superboats champion Phonsy Mullan, his fifth title (and fourth-consecutive in Unlimited Superboats) came the second he rolled out for the opening qualifier. Needing just a single point to win, Mullan wrote another page in the history books of the sport as the most successful competitor in V8 Superboats elite class against some of the toughest competition in the world, but whilst that would be enough to see him take it easy, he wasn’t done as the field headed into the final event of the year.
Sadly for the big local crowd, Stanley’s retirement on Friday afternoon robbed them of a three-way battle for the top spot in the final, but pretty quickly Tony Guistozzi and Daryl Hutton threw their hats into the ring alongside Tremayne Jukes - all four battling for the top spot through qualifying.
Ultimately it was Mullan who topped the timesheets again as he had done so many times throughout season 2016, the ‘RAMJET’ pilot stopping the clock in Q2 with a best of 39.806, the Victorian finishing the qualifiers a full second faster than Q4 top qualifier Tony Giustozzi.
Tremayne Jukes was classified third fastest, with Daryl Hutton mere thousandths slower. Darek Sygidus was fifth fastest in ‘Frankenzstain Jnr’ ahead of Giustozzi’s ‘Excalibur’ team-mate Mick Carroll, with Jeremy Kincaid and Ted Sygidus within hundredths.. The finals were looking to be a battle royale.
Scott Krause continued to wow the Temora fans in his big supercharged ‘Soak’n Fused’, the local hero locked in a great fight with veteran Paul Burgess and former 350-Class champion Daniel deVoigt.
In 400-Class Brett Thornton very quickly put any question of a championship challenge out of question, the Queenslander’s pace stunning as the championship wound down to its conclusion, his opening qualifiers well clear of the pack before Ben Hathaway showed once more how big a threat he will be in season 2017, setting the second fastest time in the final qualifier - just three one hundredths slower than the points leader.
Round six winner Brooke Lucas by contrast - the only man who could threaten Thornton’s position at the top of the championship - couldn’t get to within four tenths of his rivals, although he maintained a relatively safe buffer over the chasing pack which again included Greg Harriman and Mitch Roylance, but the returning Justin Roylance - who missed Friday’s round six - was also making his presence felt.
Dave Moodie, Jody Ely, Hugh Gilchrist and the recovering Graham Reynolds - now with a new powerplant in place after his big off on Friday - all qualified for the opening final as the sun started to set across the western plains.
He may already have claimed his fourth consecutive Unlimited Superboat crown, but Phonsy Mullan wanted to close out season 2016 with his sixth victory of the year, and he began perfectly by topping the opening final, his 40.424 the quickest time, but as he has done on so many occasions, Daryl Hutton put in a blinding lap, completely on the knife’s edge to go second, just 31 one thousandths slower.. Game on!
Tony Giustozzi was third marginally ahead of Ted Sygdius, whilst Tremayne Jukes too was able to put in the fifth fastest time after missing the final qualifiers with a technical issue.
Sadly for the popular Victorian, his run in ‘Maniac’ was to come to a premature end in the second final, the big twin-turbo V8 machine suffering a turbo failure whilst on a strong run towards the final three, ending his season early.
Despite a strong run through the qualifiers, both Darek Sygidus and Jeremy Kincaid were eliminated in the first final, alongside Paul Burgess and Daniel deVoigt, Scott Krause unable to record a time despite making the finals after a technical issue in the final qualifier.
Whilst some of his rivals fell away as the final rotation of the year approached, Phonsy Mullan only increased the pressure, improving his time in the Top 6 final to a 40.153, before again putting any question of his domination to one side with a stunning 40.056 in the final.
Daryl Hutton managed to sneak into P2 in the Top 12, however the New Zealander was over a second shy of Mullan, although he managed to hold out Ted Sygidus in the final to claim second, Sygidus putting in one of his best runs of the year to claim third, just three quarters of a second shy of Hutton, whilst team-mates Tony Giustozzi and Mick Carroll rounded out the top five.
In 400-Class Brett Thornton carried on his qualifying pace to top the first two qualifiers and give himself a position in the final, his closest rival - emerging star Mitch Roylance. Brooke Lucas kept his slim championship hopes alive with third in the Top 12, but by the second session, his season - and ultimately his challenge on the title - came to an end after he missed the cut when Justin Roylance vaulted into the final with the third fastest time in the Top 6.
Jody Ely kept his championship alive with a place in the final six alongside Greg Harriman, but despite defeating the former AFJSA president in the second final, he fell behind him in the adjusted championship points, dropping from the third he’d held through the middle part of the season, back to fifth.
For the final, the championship had already been decided in favour of Brett Thornton, the Queenslander adding the 400-Class title to his 2013 350-Class victory, but like Mullan, he wasn’t content to just make up the numbers, the ‘2Obsessed’ driver punching out an impressive 44.533 lap time in the final to take his fourth win of the season.
Second, in the battle of the Roylance brothers, was Mitch Roylance, in the process the V8 Superboats rookie moved to third in the championship despite missing the opening round of the season, his 45.432 lap just eight tenths quicker than Justin Roylance who capped off a mixed season with a welcome podium finish.
That’s it now for the 2016 season, with news of new venues and an increased calendar for 2017 due in coming weeks. For more information, please visit www.v8superboats.com.au
Rnd#6 2016 Australian V8 Superboats Championships
Allcott Hire Park, Lake Centenary, Temora, NSW
28 October, 2016
1. Phonsy Mullan (RAMJET) - 38.945
2. Tremayne Jukes (Maniac) - 39.197
3. Tony Giustozzi (Excalibur) - 41.069
400 Class (Group A)
1. Brooke Lucas (Trouble Maker) - 43.928
2. Mitch Roylance (Black Jack) - 44.898
3. Ben Hathaway (Weapon) - DNF
TOP 6 FINAL
1. Phonsy Mullan (RAMJET) - 39.059
2. Tony Giustozzi (Excalibur) - 40.187
3. Tremayne Jukes (Maniac) - 40.549
4. Jeremy Kincaid (Rogue) - 41.539
5. Darek Sygidus (Frankenzstain Jnr) - 41.744
6. Slade Stanley (Hazardous) - DNF
400 Class (Group A)
1. Brooke Lucas (Trouble Maker) - 44.492
2. Ben Hathaway (Weapon) - 45.076
3. Mitch Roylance (Black Jack) - 45.145
4. Brett Thornton (2Obsessed) - 45.180
5. Greg Harriman (Pangaea Floors) - 46.311
6. Jody Ely (Rampage) - 47.180
Rnd#7 2016 Australian V8 Superboats Championships
Allcott Hire Park, Lake Centenary, Temora, NSW
29 October, 2016
1. Phonsy Mullan (RAMJET) - 40.056
2. Daryl Hutton (American Automotive) - 41.343 3. Ted Sygidus (Frankenzstain Jnr) - 42.101
400 Class (Group A)
1. Brett Thornton (2Obsessed) - 44.533
2. Mitch Roylance (Black Jack) - 45.432
3. Justin Roylance (Outlaw) - 46.330
TOP 6 FINAL
1. Phonsy Mullan (RAMJET) - 40.153
2. Daryl Hutton (American Automotive) - 41.160
3. Ted Sygidus (Frankenzstain Jnr) - 41.388
4. Tony Giustozzi (Excalibur) - 41.439
5. Mick Carroll (Excalibur) - 41.814
6. Tremayne Jukes (Maniac) - DNF
400 Class (Group A)
1. Brett Thornton (2Obsessed) - 44.890
2. Mitch Roylance (Black Jack) - 45.644
3. Justin Roylance (Outlaw) - 46.330
4. Jody Ely (Rampage) - 47.038
5. Brooke Lucas (Trouble Maker) - 47.403
6. Greg Harriman (Pangaea Floors) - 47.688
For more information on the 2016 Australian V8 Superboat Championships, please visit
Photos; Russell Puckeridge, Pureart Creative Images