After a three-month winter layoff, the Spitwater Team Outlaw operation of Justin and Bree Roylance was back on the water for the fifth round of the Australian V8 Superboats Championship on the Tweed Coast in northern new South Wales looking for some more solid data on which to build their team ahead of the 2018 UIM World Championships.
Much preparation work had taken place during the winter break, including a solid effort from their ace mechanical crew from JRE Race Engines, giving Roylance and navigator Michelle Hodge full of confidence for a return to the 400-Class podium.
Despite that confidence, Roylance was aware very early on at Cabarita of two things.. One, the preparation of the boat had never been better, and the engine performance was very near it’s peak.. and; Two, the jet unit fitted to the pristine ‘Spitwater Team Outlaw’ machine wasn’t capable of handling the power that was being pumped through the 400ci V8 powerplant, forcing some lengthy negotiations with the team’s rivals..
“The work that Brad James from JRE has done with the engine is outstanding, it’s making so much power that our poor little jet unit can’t cope,” Roylance admitted.
“We knew that would happen, but we didn’t expect to be at this stage just yet in the development of the new package, so to counter the additional power, I had to call in some favours from some of my rivals, who not unsurprisingly didn’t hand across their best blades, but gave me access to blades they weren’t using.”
As a point of explanation, jet units feature two impellors [props], the shape and angle of which can have a dramatic effect on the performance of the boat being able to ‘thrust’ its way through the water [hence the term ‘jet’ unit].
“We tried various combinations, one of which cost us three seconds a lap, the second of which gained us time, but we were still short of where we needed to be by probably two seconds. We have already placed orders for new blades capable of handling the power we’re now producing, but that takes time and may not even be available to use for the next round in Temora, but we’re still tuning the boat and everything is taking big forward steps.
“At the end of the day, we’re campaigning a brand new package this year against teams with tried and proven combinations, and we’re just over a second off where we should be, so all-in-all it’s looking very positive as we head into the 2018 season, a season for which we have big things planned ahead of the World Championships at the end of the year.”
Ultimately the ‘Spitwater team Outlaw’ machine was classified seventh for the round having missed the second final by mere tenths of a second, the team’s best lap of 52.646 just over a second and a half off the top qualifiers, the result maintaining Roylances sixth place in the championship with two rounds to go, still well within striking distance of a series podium.
The sixth round of the 2017 Australian V8 Superboats Championship will be held at Lake Centenary in Temora in central-western New South Wales on 23 September, a day-night event, ahead of the season finale at the Tweed Coast venue on the northern New South Wales coast over two days, 28-29 October.
2017 Australian V8 Superboat Championships – Series points
400-Class (Group A) (after round five of seven)
1. Ben Hathaway (Weapon) – 150-points, 2. Jody Ely (Rampage) – 149, 3. Brett Thornton (2Obsessed) – 145, 4. Paul Kelly (4Zero Racing) – 134, 5. Mark Garlick (Grumpy) – 134, 6. Justin Roylance (Spitwater Team Outlaw) – 115, 7. Brad Marsden (Allcott Transformer) – 108, 8. Greg Harriman (Pink Boots Foundation) – 94, 9. Hugh Gilchrist (Pink Boots Foundation) – 80, 10. Ivan Safranek (40), 11. Clint Ruby (Dirty Deeds) – 20
2017 Australian V8 Superboat Championships
Rnd#1 – 4 March, Temora (NSW) – Colin Parish Memorial Trophy – day/night
Rnd#2 – 25 March, Keith (SA) – Diesel & Dirt Derby
Rnd#3 – 15 April, Griffith (NSW) – day/night
Rnd#4 – 27-28 May, Tweed Coast (NSW) – day
Rnd#5 – 26-27 August, Tweed Coast (NSW) – day
Rnd#6 – 23 September, Temora (NSW) – day/night
Rnd#7 – 28-29 October, Tweed Coast (NSW) [FINAL] – day
All images courtesy of Russell Puckeridge – Pureart Creative Images