After a lengthy mid-season break, Australia’s best V8 Superboat drivers will be back in action this weekend at Round Mountain Raceway at Cabarita Beach on the north coast of New South Wales, a demanding venue popular with both drivers and fans, with one of the biggest fields in recent history expected to turn on a memorable display across two days of competition.
Three-time Unlimited Superboat champion Phonsy Mullan has proven unstoppable again in season 2016, but there have been a number of drivers this year who have pushed the four-time national champion to dig deeper, and there is expected to be an even greater depth of competition for the dominant Victorian this weekend.
A season high 30 teams are entered for the fourth round of the season, with all but one of the leading teams in the country entered - former world champion Slade Stanley once more forced to delay his debut with a new boat after another technical setback just days out from the Cabarita event.
The event will however see the return of one of the most feared Unlimited Superboats in the world, with Victoria’s Tremayne Jukes taking delivery recently of the famed ‘Loose Cannon’ a boat built and developed by former Australian champion Dean Finch.
With a fearless reputation when it comes to man-handling a 1000+ horsepower Unlimited boat around a circuit, Jukes is expected to be the wildcard in the Unlimited field this weekend, and despite announcing his plans to take a cautious approach to the weekend, he openly admits that once the flag falls plans are often forgotten..
12-months ago the Cabarita event provided one of the most historic moments in V8 Superboats history after Adelaide’s Tony Giustozzi had a big moment on the run back up the home straight, coming to an end upside down in front of the big local crowd. It wasn’t the biggest V8 Superboats crash we’d ever seen, nor the biggest for the ‘Excalibur’ team, but Giustozzi’s maniacal laughing as the boat came to a stop made him an overnight internet sensation with almost 25-million views. Footage was also played one two national news broadcasts to the delight of hundreds of thousands of viewers.
Whilst Giuztozzi and team-mate Mick Carroll will be keen not to repeat the incident this weekend, both have shown to be fearless competitors and both are capable of making the Unlimited podium in their naturally-aspirated 510ci Chevrolet V8 powered Sprintec.
Throw in West Australian star Jamie Welch in his similarly powered machine and two-time Australian champion Daryl Hutton and you’d expect plenty of fireworks, but that’s without considering the dual boats from former 400-Class champions Ted and Darek Sygidus.
The two Sygidus brothers are expected to share their monstrous 680ci V8 powered ‘Frnkenzstain’, whilst former round winner Rob Coley will campaign the team’s ‘junior’ boat with its 510ci naturally-aspirated powerplant, the New Zealander always one to thrill the crowd.
Whilst the Unlimited class always attracts plenty of attention, the Group A [400 Class] class too will have the crowd on their feet, especially with the return of a past champion. Former 350 Class champion Daniel James will return to the fold with a fresh new JRE-built 410ci powerplant, but the popular Victorian will have his work cut out, with fellow former 350 Class champions - Queensland locals - Brooke Lucas and Brett Thornton expected to be the pace-setters this weekend.
Local knowledge always contributes to the result at Cabarita, and with a number of Tweed Coast Jet Sprint Club local events run at Round Monutain Raceway in recent months, there are a number of Queensland boats expected to feature at the top of the timesheets.
Who to watch out for..
Phonsy Mullan hasn’t been the most prolific winner in V8 Superboats over recent seasons for no reason - he is one of the most competitive drivers in the world and always finds a little extra when he needs to when it counts, both from within himself and from his awesome 1600-horsepower twin-turbo 445ci machine. If you wanted a likely winner from the weekend, you’d start there, but don’t discount any number of his rivals..
Reigning world #4 Jamie Welch has proven to be a worthy rival for Mullan this year, the West Australian actually topping the timesheets on a number of occasions in 2016, so too ‘Mr Excitement’ Tony Giustozzi.
New Zealander Daryl Hutton is always an exciting prospect, however the two-time Australian Unlimited champion was without a powerplant earlier this week, leaving the Victorian-based star with a mammoth task ahead, a task which fans will be praying to see reach completion ahead of the weekend to provide another great wildcard in the field.
Tremayne Jukes too always rises to the occasion on the big stage, and his purchase of the multiple race winning ‘Loose Cannon’ of Dean and Tyler Finch provides the field with a second boat truly capable of outright honours, whilst in brothers Ted and Darek Sygidus you have two drivers with championship winning credentials just as likely to stand on the top of the podium as any of the leading contenders.
The big winners though will be the fans.. Cabarita is notorious for incidents when the leading contenders are pushed, and this weekend we see one of the most complete Unlimited fields the sport has seen in the last five seasons, so anything is possible.
In the 400 Class the action too will be intense, at the very least because each team is campaigning an almost identical 600-horsepower 410ci V8 powerplant which forces them to dig deep and rely on pure ability and boat performance.
The local heroes will be out in force - specifically former 350 Class champions Brooke Lucas and Brett Thornton, whilst returning Victorian Daniel James is expected to be right in the mix, the part-time 400 competitor and former 350 Class champion is always in the battle at the front of the field, and this weekend should see nothing less.
The fourth round of the Australian V8 Superboat Championships gets underway at Round Mountain Raceway (Round Mountain Road, Cabarita Beach) on Saturday 6 August, with two qualifying sessions taking place from 12:15pm, ahead of two more qualifiers and the finals on Sunday, 7 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!
For ticketing information, please visit www.afjsa.com/tickets
Rnd#4 2016 Australian V8 Superboats Championships
Tweed Valley Jet Sprint Club, Cabarita Beach, NSW
(6-7 August, 2016)
1. Phonsy Mullan/Kelsie Gill (RAMJET)
15A. Tremayne Jukes/Kiana Lucas (Maniac)
15B. Andrew Page/tbc (Maniac)
18. Paul Burgess/Matt Foote (Daly Transport)
22A. Jamie Welch/Joel Page (Natwel Racing)
22B. Cheryl Welch/Rachel Parsons (Natwel Racing)
28. Daryl Hutton/Mick Parry (American Importers)
86. Daniel deVoigt/Vicki Burrell (Devo 2)
93A. Tony Giustozzi/tbc (Excalibur)
93B. Michael Carroll/tbc (Excalibur)
302. Jeremy Kincaid/Miles Kincaid (Rogue Racing)
666A. Ted Sygidus/tbc (Frankensztain)
666B. Darek Sygidus/Austin Gill (Frankensztain)
999. Rob Coley/tbc (Frankensztain Jnr.)
400 CLASS (GROUP A)
4. Daniel James/tbc (JRE Racing)
11. Brooke Lucas/Karrina White (Trouble Maker)
21. Mitch Roylance/Matt Hern (Black Jack)
33. Jody Ely/Greg Blaz (Rampage)
33B. Justin Roylance/Joel Duggan (Outlaw)
39. Kevin Laugesen/Jessica Winsley (spanet)
40. Paul Kelly/tbc (PK Racing)
53. Brett Thornton/Lin Thornton (2Obsessed)
66A. Brad Marsden/tbc (AirMarine)
66B. Nathan Walker/tbc (AirMarine)
70. Clint Ruby/Raymond Goddard (Dirty Deeds)
96. Peter Monger/tbc (Mongrel)
333. David Moodie/Laura Pratt (Jackhammer)
360A. Greg Harriman/Sammy Leonard (Pangaea Floors)
360B. Hugh Gilchrist/Kate Gilchrist (Pangaea Floors)
85. Ben Hathaway/Lisa Oppes (Weapon)
Saturday, 6 August;
10:00am - Gates Open
12:15pm - Qualifying #1 (60-minutes)
1:15pm - Qualifying #2 (60-minutes)
Sunday, 7 August;
9:00am - Gates Open
9:30am - Qualifying #3 (45-minutes)
10:15am - Qualifying #4 (45-minutes)
11:00am - Lunch break
12:30pm - Top 12 Finals (all classes)
1:35pm - Top 6 Finals (all classes)
2:45pm - FINALS (all classes)
2016 Australian V8 Superboat Championships - Series points
Unlimited Superboat (after round three of seven)
1. Phonsy Mullan (RAMJET) - 108 points, 2. Daryl Hutton (American Automotive) - 86, 3. Jamie Welch (Natwel Racing) - 62, 4. Darek Sygidus (Frankenstein) - 81, 5. Ted Sygidus (Frankenstein) - 66, 6. Paul Burgess (Daly Transport) - 64, 7. Cheryl Welch (Natwel Racing) - 62, 8. Scott Krause (Soak’n Fused) - 60, 9. Tony Giustozzi (Excalibur) - 54, 10. Mick Carroll (Excalibur) - 48, 11. Slade Stanley (Hazardous) - 26, 12. Daniel deVoigt (Q-BEARS) - 20
400-Class (Group A) (after round three of seven)
1. Brett Thornton (2Obsessed) - 99-points, 2. Brooke Lucas (Trouble Maker) - 83, 3. Justin Roylance (Rampage) - 81, 4. David Moodie (Jackhammer) - 78, 5. Kevin Laugesen (Spanet) - 72, 6. Jody Ely (Rampage) - 72, 7. Mitch Roylance (Black Jack) - 62, 8. Brad Marsden (Allcott Transformer) - 54, 9. Greg Harriman (Pangaea Floors) - 54
Sportsman (after round three of seven)
1. Ben Hathaway (Weapon) - 108
2016 Australian Superboat Championships
Rnd#1 - 26 March, Griffith (NSW)
Rnd#2 - 23 April, Temora (NSW) - ANZAC Day Tribute
Rnd#3 - 21 May, Temora (NSW)
Rnd#4 - 6-7 August, Tweed Coast (NSW)
Rnd#5 - 3-4 September, Tweed Coast (NSW)
Rnd#6 - 1 October, Temora (NSW)
Rnd#7 - 29 October, Temora (NSW) [FINAL]
For more information on the 2016 Australian V8 Superboat Championships, please visit www.v8superboats.com.au