Just months out from the much anticipated UIM World Series in Australia, the Penrite V8 Superboats Championship returns to the Tweed Coast Jet Sprint Club for the penultimate round of the national series with the competition for both international classes closer than ever.
As it did 12-months ago, the Unlimited Superboat class sees 5-time champion Phonsy Mullan behind the eight ball after just a solitary win in the four rounds to date, the RAMJET driver forced to play second-fiddle to emerging star Scott Krause, the Temora local having claimed three-consecutive wins across the opening stanza of the season as Mullan suffered a litany of issues with a new boat.
The pair are separated by just nine points heading back to Cabarita Beach, but last time out – at Round Mountain Raceway – Mullan was the winner of the final, and he’ll need to do the same again this weekend to keep his chances alive of a record-breaking sixth consecutive Unlimited title.
In 400-Class (also known as International Group A), the fight for the title is even more intense, with three boats separated by just five points at two thirds distance in the season. Coming into Cabarita, three-time Australian champion Mark Garlick holds the points lead after his maiden 2018 win last time out, but he is just two points clear of reigning champion Ben Hathaway, and five points clear of fellow Queenslander Paul Kelly. On adjusted points though (teams can drop their worst round of points in their final season tally), Kelly is three points clear of Garlick thanks in part to his round win at Keith earlier in the season.
This weekend though, with teams preparing for the World Series – Cabarita hosting the second leg on 3-4 November – teams are using the round to both qualify and prepare for the high profile end of year event, with a number of additions to the field that could well have an impact on the outright result.
After three straight wins this season, Scott Krause came into the Cabarita round last time around on a high, having weathered everything that Phonsy Mullan had thrown at him, but you don’t become a 6-time national champion by sitting back, Mullan delivering another impressive performance under pressure to claim his first win of the year and shorten Krause’s championship lead by six points.
With nine points separating Krause from Mullan, the reigning champion has only one option if he is to take the 2018 Unlimited crown – victory. For Krause, he can win the 2018 title and break Mullan’s domination of the category by finishing second at the final two events of the season, or by claiming one or two more wins himself, but it won’t be easy..
12-months ago Tremayne Jukes was the dominant force in the Unlimited class, taking a season high four wins to Mullan’s two, yet due to his consistency, Mullan emerged the champion by three points thanks to one poor round by Jukes which saw him fail to make the finals with an electrical issue.. That typical 10-cent part failure that costs you a title.
Mullan’s strength is his reliability, and he will take any advantage from any minor slip by his rival, so the pressure falls on Krause to maintain his early season form and force Mullan to push harder than he’d perhaps like.. Regardless, with the addition of some impressive additions to the field and the re-emergence of former champion Daryl Hutton, this weekend will present plenty of intrigue..
Two months ago during the fourth round at Cabarita, New Zealand’s Rob Coley made his first appearance this season – in part to prepare for the coming World Series – the New Zealander falling four tenths of a second shy of Mullan in the final run despite setting the fastest time of the weekend during the qualifiers, a time comfortably faster than everyone in the field.
With Natwel Racing’s Jamie Welch looking to make the most of his new Steve Morris-built twin turbo 427LSX engine and Paul Gaston getting quicker each run in the winningest Unlimited machine of 2017 (the ex-Jukes/Ex-Finch twin-turbo 468ci machine), the leaders will have to watch their every step.
The Keith round of the season showed perhaps best what consistency can achieve, with two underpowered LS machines making the podium alongside Sccott Krause’s potent Penrite supported KOAS machine, a sure sign that to finish first, first you have to finish..
Glenn ‘Spider’ Roberts has been a podium finisher in the past at Cabarita, and a podium finisher this season, so will take advantage of any slip up by the front runners, so too local driver Daniel deVoigt who sits well inside the top ten in season points.
Sadly we’ll be without Adelaide’s Tony Giustozzi and Mick Carroll, the two ‘Excalibur’ pilots forced to be a late withdrawal from Cabarita after delays in engine parts saw them unable to rebuild their 510ci naturally-aspirated powerplant in time for the round, however as former winners at Cabarita, they’ll be more than ready for their return in the World Series in the first weekend of November.
CTVS 400-CLASS (International Group A)
12-months ago the 2017 Group A title was settled at Cabarita on the final run of the year with Melbourne’s Ben Hathaway taking his maiden title, defeating reigning champion Brett Thornton in the final by just a quarter of a second to win the championship by a single point after six months and seven rounds of competition.
This year things are just as close with five points separating 3-time champion Mark Garlick – who leads – from Hathaway and adjusted points leader Paul Kelly.
Needing to continue their charge at the top of the timesheets, the trio will have a few additional things to consider this weekend, not the least being the 2018 pace of Victoria’s Jody Ely (Rampage), 2016 champion Brett Thornton, the return of former champion Jake Garlick (Grumpy) and the motivations of Mitch Roylance (Black Jack), Justin Roylance (Spitwater Team Outlaw) and Daniel James (JRE Race Engines), all drivers capable of making the podium..
Between them Mark and son Jake have six national titles to their names, all in the same boat they will share this weekend. Both are ‘locals’ at Cabarita with hundreds of laps under their belts, so both would start equal favourites, but despite that experience, Hathaway has prevailed in the past, and Queenslander Paul Kelly is also an experienced campaigner at the Tweed Coast facility.
Former 350 Class champion Brooke Lucas returns this weekend too ahead of his World Finals appearance later in the year and with son Josh Woodroofe-Lucas alongside, the pair could also be considered a threat for the podium, the younger of the pair making a podium appearance last time out at Cabarita during a hotly contested club day.
With a string of new and some returning entries also in the Group A field – many of whom will be preparing themselves to be a part of the 40+ entries for the forthcoming World Series in October/November, the weekend is sure to present plenty of challenges for the contenders, and more than enough action to entertain the crowd.
The fifth and penultimate round of the 2018 Penrite Australian V8 Superboat Championships will be contested at the Tweed Coast Jetsprint Club across two days, with opening qualifying at 12:30pm on Saturday, ahead of the second day of competition starting at 9:15am on Sunday, August 19.
Tickets are available at the gate.
For those of you unable to make the event, this weekend a live stream, and 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 the Tweed Coast Jet Sprint Club to take in some of the action live, you certainly won’t be disappointed!
Photo: Russell Puckeridge, Pureart Creative Images
Rnd#5 2018 Penrite Australian V8 Superboats Championships
Tweed Coast Jet Sprint Club, Cabarita Beach, NSW
18-19 August, 2018
1. Phonsy Mullan/Kelsie Gill (RAMJET)
10. Michael Cunningham/Narelle Grayland (True Blue)
18. Paul Burgess/Matt Foote (Daly Transport)
22A. Jamie Welch/Narelle Pellow-Djukic (Natwel Racing)
22B. Cheryl Welch/Joel Page (Natwel Racing)
28. Daryl Hutton/Mick Parry (American Automotive)
37. Scott Krause/Rachel Parsons (KAOS/Penrite)
48. Paul Gaston/Louise Blythe (Heatseeker)
86. Daniel deVoigt/Vicki Burrell (Devo Racing)
111. Rob Coley/Ange Coley (Poison Ivy)
888. Glenn Roberts/Tiarna McGifford (Blown Budget)
400 CLASS (GROUP A)
1. Ben Hathaway/Lisa Oppes (Weapon)
2. Brett Thornton/Lyn Thornton (2Obsessed)
4. Daniel James/Michelle Hodge (JRE Race Engines)
5. Phil Weinthal/Dwayne (Black Dog)
11A. Brooke Lucas/Kianna Lucas (Trouble Maker)
11B. Josh Woodroofe-Lucas/Carol Russell (Trouble Maker)
21. Mitch Roylance/Matt Cullen (Black Jack)
29. Ron O’Day/Will O’Day (Agro)
33. Jody Ely/Greg Blaz (Rampage)
40. Paul Kelly/Matthew Gow (4Zero Racing)
43. Darrin Kesper/Barry Taylor (Let’s Boogie)
62. Andrew Medlicott/Mackenzie Bennett (Gone Nutz Again)
63. Sam Everingham/Mikayla Mongen (Arkham Asylum)
67. Justin Roylance/Tracey Little (Spitwater Team Outlaw)
95A. Mark Garlick/Angel Brennan (Grumpy)
95B. Jake Garlick/Naomi Gow (Grumpy)
96. Peter Monger/Codie Monger (Mongrel)
117. Shane Brennan/Melissa Whalen (Ynot)
360. Greg Harriman/Sammy Leonard (Pink Boots Racing)
219. Kyle Elphinstone/Ben Ryan (Blackout Racing)
Saturday, 18 August;
8:00am – Gates Open
12:30pm – Qualifying #1 (75-minutes)
1:45pm – Qualifying #2 (75-minutes)
Sunday, 19 August;
7:00am – Gates Open
9:15am – Qualifying #3 (60-minutes)
10:15am – Qualifying #4 (60-minutes)
11:15am – Qualifying #5 (60-minutes)
12:15pm – Lunch break (30-minutes)
12:45pm – Top 3 Final (LS-Class)
1:00pm – Top 12 Finals (Unlimited/400)
2:00pm – Top 6 Finals (Unlimited/400)
2:40pm – FINALS (Unlimited/400)
V8 Superboats and Cabarita
2018 Australian V8 Superboats Championship
Rnd#4, 2-3 June, 2018
1. 1. Phonsy Mullan/Kelsie Gill (RAMJET) – 45.356
2. 111. Rob Coley/Ange Coley (Poison Ivy) – 45.759
3. 37. Scott Krause/Rachel Parsons (KAOS/Penrite) – 45.995
TOP 3 FINAL
400-Class (Group A)
1. 95. Mark Garlick/Angel Brennan (Grumpy) – 49.543
2. 1. Ben Hathaway/Lisa Oppes (Weapon) – 49.856
3. 2. Brett Thornton/Lyn Thornton (2Obsessed) – 50.412
2017 Australian V8 Superboats Championship
Rnd#7, 28-29 October, 2017
1. Tremayne Jukes (Maniac) – 46.523
2. Phonsy Mullan (RAMJET) – 46.679
3. Glenn Roberts (Blown Budget) – 49.195
400 Class (Group A)
1. Ben Hathaway (Weapon) – 50.177
2. Paul Kelly (4Zero Racing) – 50.217
3. Brett Thornton (2Obsessed) – 50.901
2018 Penrite Australian V8 Superboat Championships – Series points
Unlimited Superboat (after round four of six)
1. Scott Krause (KAOS/Penrite) – 138-points, 2. Phonsy Mullan (RAMJET) – 129, 3. Glenn Roberts (Blown Budget) – 100, 4. Daryl Hutton (Victorian American Imports) – 91, 5. Michael Cunningham (True Blue) – 84, 6. Paul Gaston (Heatseeker) – 76, 7. Daniel deVoigt (Devo Racing) – 70, 8. Darek Sygidus (Frankensztain) – 52, 9. Jeremy Kincaid (Rogue) – 38, 10. Tony Giustozzi (Excalibur) – 38, 11. Darek Sygidus (Frankensztain) – 33, 12. Rob Coley (Poison Ivy) – 33, 13. Mick Carroll (Excalibur) – 28, 14. Cheryl Welch (Natwel Racing) – 26, 15. Tremayne Jukes (Rogue) – 20, 16. Jamie Welch (Natwel Racing) – 10
400-Class (Group A) (after round four of six)
1. Mark Garlick (Grumpy) – 127-points, 2. Ben Hathaway (Weapon) – 125, 3. Paul Kelly (4Zero Racing) – 122, 4. Mitch Roylance (Black Jack) – 102, 5. Jody Ely (Rampage) – 98, 6. Justin Roylance (Spitwater Team Outlaw) – 98, 7. Brett Thornton (2Obsessed) – 80, 8. Greg Harriman (Pink Boots Racing) – 60, 9. Hugh Gilchrist (Pink Boots Racing) – 58, 10. Brad Marsden (Allcott Transformer) – 52, 11. Shane Loughnan (Vicious) – 50, 12. Andrew Medlicott (Gone Nutz Again) – 46, 13. Sam Everingham (Arkham Asylum) – 42, 14. David Moodie (Jackhammer) – 32, 15. Darrin Kesper (Let’s Boogie) – 28, 16. Jake Garlick (Grumpy) – 26, 17. Daniel James (JRE Race Engines) – 22, 18. Clint Ruby (Dirty Deeds) – 10, 19. Peter Monger (Mongrel) – 8, 20. Ron O’Day (Agro) – 4, 21. Shane Brennan (Ynot) – 2
LS-Class (after round four of six)
1. Ivan Safranek (Katana) – 36-points
2018 Penrite Australian V8 Superboat Championships
Rnd#1 Griffith, NSW – 24 February – (day/night)
Rnd#2 Keith, SA – 24 March (day)
Rnd#3 Temora, NSW – 28 April (day/night) – Colin Parish Memorial Trophy
Rnd#4 Tweed Coast, NSW – 2-3 June (day)
Rnd#5 Tweed Coast, NSW – 18-19 August (day)
Rnd#6 [FINAL] Temora, NSW – 22 September – (day/night)