Despite the weather forecast changing by the minute, the Australian Formula Jet Sprint Association (AFJSA) and the Tweed Valley Jet Sprint Club elected to press on with the Round 4 of the 2021 Penrite Australian V8 Superboats Championship.
Saturday provided a brief weather window that saw three rounds of qualifying in the LS Class contested allowing the event to be classified and points awarded. The LS Class allows competitors to race any LS engine with a controlled CAM making it an affordable class to run.
With Keith’s Matt Malthouse side-lined due to delayed engine parts, it freed up two-time 2021 winner Bastian Mullan to extend his advantage at the top of the championship. He may not have expected though to play second-fiddle to the reigning champion, Kyle Elphinstone who was finally finding form after a challenging start to his title defence.
In the end, Elphinstone topped every timed session, although rookie Bastian Mullan – who stunned the field with his pace the last time the series competed at Cabarita – was improving with every session. The margin in the end just 42 one thousandths of a second, setting up what promises to be a tantalising final at Keith once Malthouse returns to the fold.
Third fastest in the end was local driver Paul Hill, although like his rivals, he couldn’t get to within four seconds of the leaders.
The battle for fourth position was the closest of the day, with the ever-improving Matt Riley getting the nod ahead of Jim Beaman and Mike Hessell. Riley at one stage running third, although on countback Hill was more than a second faster overall to take the final step on the podium.
As he did last time out at Cabarita, Nate Mullan very much played a secondary role to his older brother to support Bastian’s championship bid, but he was improving with every session and expected to make a challenge in the finals. The weather though impacted that opportunity as it did for Robert Westerink, a driver with solid LS-Class credentials who just couldn’t perfect the challenging rotation and was unable to record an official time.
LS-Class (after round four of six)
- Bastian Mullan (Ripshift) – 135-points
- Kyle Elphinstone (Blackout Racing) – 108
- Nate Mullan (Ripshift) – 103
- Matt Malthouse (NoodNutz Racing) – 102
- Jim Beaman (JB Racing) – 90
- Chris Edmonds (Solid Gold) – 76
- Paul Hill (Slicer) – 60
- Matt Riley (Toe Cutter) – 60
- Dwayne Mezzadri (Unleashed) – 42
- Robert Westerink (The Contractor) – 42
- Mike Hessell (42)
In the Junior Development category Koby Bourke had a solid weekend in Lil Psycho though not without his own challenges after the long break. The teenager is growing so much (vertically) since he was last in the boat, that he may well need to relocate the seat for the coming ’22 season. Despite that he turned in progressively faster laps through qualifying and actually managed to card a time for a final ahead of the onset of the rain.
Junior Development (after round four of six)
- Koby Bourke (Lil Psycho) – 144-points
The Penrite Australian V8 Superboats Championships season continues at the Spitwater Arena in Keith, South Australia on Saturday 26 March and the organisers will certainly be hoping for better weather.