Just a month ago the biggest V8 Superboats field in recent years descended on Round Mountain Raceway at Cabarita Beach for two days of incredible action.
Ultimately we saw a first-time winner for the 2016 season in Unlimited Superboat after the demise of runaway championship points leader Phonsy Mullan during qualifying, whilst Queenslander Brett Thornton continued to stamp his authority on the super-competitive 400-Class with his second straight victory of the year.
Sadly we also lost a couple of competitors due to mechanical failures, the most notable outside of Mullan, was reigning World#4 - and Mullan’s closest rival - Jamie Welch, the West Australian out with serious damage to his 510-cubic inch powerplant, damage which saw the team forced to withdraw from the remainder of the season.
‘Jackhammer’s’ David Moodie was also sidelined early last round with mechanical dramas, and he will be absent this weekend, whilst Jody Ely who is holding down third place in 400-Class has been offered a lifeline by former team-mate Justin Roylance in ‘Outlaw’ after a delay in delivery of parts to rectify a technical issue the team suffered during the closing stages of the August event.
Unfortunately too we’ll have to wait just a touch longer to see former 400-Class world champion Slade Stanley debut his new boat after further setbacks, he is now aiming for a return later in the season.
Last time out we saw a couple of big hits too from Adelaide’s Tony Giustozzi and Mick Carroll, the pair once more coming to grief in ‘Excalibur’ and whilst repaired and ready for action, the South Australians were unable to make the transport for the Tweed Coast event and have been forced to sit out the weekend, but expect to return for Temora.
As for Mullan, a rare mechanical failure sidelined the points leader forcing a re-think on his future..
“I’ve been keen to try a naturally-aspirated [na] engine for a while to see just how competitive we can make it,” the GM Motorsport’s MD explained. “We haven’t actually pulled down the twin-turbo unit yet, and actually have plans to build another, but the block has been delayed, and the na package was sitting in the wings ready to go.
“That said we’ve had a lot of sleepless nights and some seriously long hours because it’s not just a matter of changing the engine, it’s a matter of changing just about everything from electrics to driveline, to starter motor and exhaust - it’s been a tireless three weeks since we got back.
“Frustratingly time and a few little teething issues meant it didn’t make the dyno and we didn’t actually get the boat on the water, but we did manage to start it so that was one thing, but we’ll be busy early in the weekend trying to find a good baseline to work from.”
Another with a ‘new’ powerplant is two-time Unlimited Superboat champion and winner last time out, Daryl Hutton.
“It’s the same unit we’ve been using up till the last round at Cabarita, although it’s a new block and new pistons and a few other ancillaries, but still a 410ci supercharged V8 so hopefully it gives us a known package to work with.”
Last time out Hutton was forced to ‘borrow’ a boat from former 350-Class front-runner Glenn ‘Spider’ Roberts, the New Zealander taking the 560ci powered naturally-aspirated big-block to victory in the final over pace-setter Tremayne Jukes and Darek Sygidus.
“I think we surprised a few people in the final,” Hutton admitted. “We kept improving the boat but actually suffered a stator failure in the jet unit in the final few rounds as well as a valve spring in the final run, but we were able to find enough pace to take the win and move back into contention for the title, so we’ll be going hard this weekend with the ‘American Importers’ machine back in action..
Whilst Mullan and Hutton will no doubt provide a focal point at the front of the field, don’t discount Ted Sygidus and younger brother Darek in ‘Frankenzstain’ the naturally-aspirated 680ci big-block V8 powered Unlimited machine that features insane horsepower. Darek made the podium last time out in the team’s ‘Junior’ boat with its nimble 510-ci powerplant, but with each event the bad-boy 680 gets quicker and quicker and the team gain more valuable insight into how to get it to work, so it’s only a matter of time before the two former 400-Class champions start eking away at Mullan’s ongoing domination of the category.
Throw in Tremayne Jukes in his new twin-turbo powered machine, the Victorian showing last time out that ‘Maniac’ - the newly re-liveried ‘Loose Cannon’ - still has the ability to shake the standing order of the Unlimited field, and the popular former 400-Class competitor showed incredible pace to record the quickest time of the event.
And whilst there’s little question that the crowd comes to see the Unlimited boats battle at the top of the timesheets, something which often produces some spectacular out of water episodes, the 400-Class title battle too has been shaping up to be one of the best on record.
Currently former 350-Class champion Brett Thornton leads the way with two wins from four starts (but podiums on every occasion) to be clear of Brooke Lucas and more than a round clear of third placed Jody Ely, but if there’s one thing that Phonsy Mullan’s early retirement last time out showed, and that’s that you need to keep scoring points. One DNF or low point-scoring round and that lead could quickly evaporate..
Who to watch out for..
Despite his new powerplant and his down-playing of a continuation of his run of victories which up until four weeks ago had stretched to more than two years, Phonsy Mullan could expect to start this weekend as favorite, something which would fit well with his closest rival Daryl Hutton.
Hutton admits to liking the ‘underdog’ tag that has served him so well in the past, and something which he felt almost assured him of victory a month ago when many wrote him off after failing to arrive with his own boat.
That said, they won’t make the same mistake twice, and despite Natwel Racing’s Jamie Welch sitting on the bank this round, there are no shortage of challengers to take the fight to Mullan and Hutton.
Amongst those will be August pace-setter Tremayne Jukes, the Victorian driver showed he has the talent to wrestle with the immense horsepower of the former ‘Loose Cannon’ machine, and as he gets more comfortable behind the wheel, he can be expected to ‘turn up the wick’ on the twin-turbo powerplant and really push the leaders into uncomfortable territory.
Throw in the brothers Sygidus and emerging star Jeremy Kincaid in his supercharged Ford 302 and you have the recipe for yet another exciting round of Unlimited Superboat action..
As for the 400-Class, that is often a lottery, and you could expect the same this time around, especially if the Roylance brothers from central-western NSW get their boats firing.
Justin Roylance was quick last time out, but unreliable, the former drag racer only just getting his package together with new boat and engine hours before leaving for Cabarita, so much of his time was spent sorting the boat, but he showed signs of great speed so he could be a contender this weekend whilst his brother Mitch has already proven a giant killer this season, with victory on debut in Temora in round two.
Throw in rising star Paul Kelly and the revitalised Greg Harriman in the Pangaea Floors boat, and you have another great fight in the making..!
The fifth round of the Australian V8 Superboat Championships gets underway at Round Mountain Raceway (Round Mountain Road, Cabarita Beach) on Saturday 3 September, with two qualifying sessions taking place from 12:15pm, ahead of three more qualifiers and the finals on Sunday, 4 September 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#5 2016 Australian V8 Superboats Championships
Tweed Valley Jet Sprint Club, Cabarita Beach, NSW
(3-4 September, 2016)
1. Phonsy Mullan/Kelsie Gill (RAMJET)
15. Tremayne Jukes/Kiana Lucas (Maniac)
18. Paul Burgess/Matt Foote (Daly Transport)
28. Daryl Hutton/Mick Parry (American Importers)
86. Daniel deVoigt/Vicki Burrell (Devo 2)
302. Jeremy Kincaid/Miles Kincaid (Rogue Racing)
666A. Ted Sygidus/Braydon Munro (Frankensztain)
666B. Darek Sygidus/Austin Gill (Frankensztain)
400 CLASS (GROUP A)
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)
40. Paul Kelly/tbc (PK Racing)
53. Brett Thornton/Lin Thornton (2Obsessed)
66A. Brad Marsden/tbc (AirMarine)
70. Clint Ruby/Raymond Goddard (Dirty Deeds)
85. Ben Hathaway/Lisa Oppes (Weapon)
96. Peter Monger/tbc (Mongrel)
360A. Greg Harriman/Sammy Leonard (Pangaea Floors)
360B. Hugh Gilchrist/Kate Gilchrist (Pangaea Floors)
Saturday, 3 September;
10:00am - Gates Open
12:15pm - Qualifying #1 (60-minutes)
1:15pm - Qualifying #2 (60-minutes)
Sunday, 4 September;
9:00am - Gates Open
9:30am - Qualifying #3 (45-minutes)
10:15am - Qualifying #4 (45-minutes)
11:00am - Lunch break
11:45am - Qualifying #5 (45-minutes)
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 four of seven)
1. Phonsy Mullan (RAMJET) - 130 points, 2. Daryl Hutton (American Automotive) - 122, 3. Darek Sygidus (Frankenzstain) - 111, 4. Jamie Welch (Natwel Racing) - 100, 5. Ted Sygidus (Frankenzstain) - 92, 6. Paul Burgess (Daly Transport) - 88, 7. Cheryl Welch (Natwel Racing) - 76, 8. Tony Giustozzi (Excalibur) - 74, 9. Mick Carroll (Excalibur) - 64, 10. Scott Krause (Soak’n Fused) - 60, 11. Tremayne Jukes (Maniac) - 33, 12. Daniel deVoigt (Q-BEARS) - 30, 13. Jeremy Kincaid (Rogue) - 28, 14. Slade Stanley (Hazardous) - 26, 15. Rob Coley (Frankenzstain) - 12, 16. Andrew Page (Maniac) - 10
400-Class (Group A) (after round four of seven)
1. Brett Thornton (2Obsessed) - 135-points, 2. Brooke Lucas (Trouble Maker) - 109, 3. Jody Ely (Rampage) - 92, 4. Justin Roylance (Rampage) - 89, 5. David Moodie (Jackhammer) - 86, 6. Mitch Roylance (Black Jack) - 86, 7. Ben Hathaway (Weapon) - 86, 8. Greg Harriman (Pangaea Floors) - 80, 9. Kevin Laugesen (Spanet) - 80, 10. Brad Marsden (Allcott Transformer) - 68, 11. Daniel James (JRE Race Engines) - 33, 12. Paul Kelly (PK Racing) - 28, 13. Peter Monger (Mongrel) - 18, 14. Nathan Walker (Alcott Transformer) - 16, 15. Clint Ruby (Dirty Deeds) - 12, 16. Hugh Gilchrist (Pangaea Floors) - 10
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