Not surprisingly, the ongoing success of the ‘new’ LS-Class format in the Australian V8 Superboats Championship saw thirteen entries arrive at Cabarita for the opening round. Sadly, without West Australian Daniel Salter, who was expected to take the fight to the reigning champion Bastian Mullan.
He wasn’t the only one to suffer setbacks as Matt Riley had to run Darren Pollard’s second boat ‘Twisted’ whilst he waited for engine parts to become available. Pollard himself suffered issues throughout Saturday having just taken delivery of his rebuilt ‘Disturbed’ leaving the team no time to test and sort the engine.
Ultimately though the round was dominated by the trio that filled the top three steps of the 2021 season podium: Bastian Mullan, Matt Malthouse and 2019 Champion Kyle Elphinstone. It would be Mullan who reigned supreme, the 18-year-old topping all but one session where he failed to finish after finding the limit of grip, his advantage at the close of qualifying, an impressive 45.313, the next best, Elphinstone with a 47.230.
By finals time, Mullan turned up the wick again to card a 43.962 in the top three, Matt Malthouse second after finding almost two seconds across the three finals to defeat Elphinstone by twenty-one, one thousandth of a second.
- 1A. Bastian Mullan/Tahleah James (RIPSHIFT) – 43.962
- 69. Matt Malthouse/Leighton Collins (Nood Nutz) – 45.735
- 219. Kyle Elphinstone/Jacob Bellamy (Blackout Racing) – 45.756
Having had to race against the clock throughout the 2021 season due to a lack of competition, reigning champion Koby Bourke (#97) had some serious opposition at Cabarita, with experienced motorsport campaigner (karts and speedway) Connor Smith (#B97) joining the ‘Lil Psycho’ team for the first time.
For Smith – who is no stranger to motorsport – the boat was a whole new experience for the 11-year-old who struggled at first with the rotation, before dialling himself in to take the fight to Bourke. The pair separated by 2.7-seconds heading into the final where Bourke stepped things up to record a 52.428 second lap, Smith’s consistency seeing him all but match his qualifying best. The pair will go at it again for round two with rumours that additional Juniors will join the field across the 2022 season.
For the Australian V8 Superboats Championship presented by Penrite Oils, teams enjoy a short break before returning to the Tweed Valley Jet Sprint Club’s Cabarita Beach facility across the August 27-28 weekend.
2022 Australian V8 Superboat Championships
Rnd#1 – Tweed Coast, NSW – 23-24 July 2022
Rnd#2 – Tweed Coast, NSW – 27-28 August 2022
Rnd#3 – Keith, SA – 8 October 2022
Rnd#4 – Temora, NSW – 5 November 2022 (Colin Parish Memorial)
Rnd#5 – Temora, NSW – 3 December 2022
Rnd#6 – Griffith, NSW – 11 February 2023
Rnd#7 [FINAL] – Keith, SA – 25 March 2023