It meant that Mullan’s younger brother Nate would follow the action from the grass bank. With a returning Matt Malthouse, a resurgent Kyle Elphinstone and West Australian charger Daniel Salter (26) all on the entry list, there was no guarantee Mullan was going to have an easy day of it.
Immediately the experienced Salter made his impression, settling into the top spot on the timesheets in all four qualifying sessions. Mullan meanwhile was taking time to dial himself in with a wrong way in his first qualifier, before sitting out the fourth to conserve his motor.
Behind them the battle for a place in the final three ensued between Malthouse and reigning champion Elphinstone. In the end electrical gremlins forced Malthouse to jump behind the wheel of the ‘Blackout Racing’ entry whilst the ‘Nood Nutz’ team continued to search for the issue that was plaguing the orange boat.
They ultimately discovered the problem, but whilst Malthouse returned to his own machine to carry on into the finals, a rulebook issue saw the local driver side-lined having swapped boats and then back again. A technicality, but a rule nonetheless, a frustrated Malthouse forced to watch from the side-lines, the result seeing him drop to third in the title race after the final tally of points was calculated from the event.
That saw Salter, Mullan and Elphinstone (219) comfortably through the opening elimination final, then into the top six as behind them the fight for a place in the second final intensified.
By the second final, Paul Hill was starting to make an impression in the fight for the last step of the podium, especially as the top three would become the top four thanks to the fact that Salter was not entered in the championship points race. So, regardless of his finishing position, he would not take points away from the contenders.
Going into the second final, a fantastic fight was brewing between Jim Beaman, Tyler O’Day (who along with Father Ron had made the move from 400-Class to LS) and Rob Johnston. With both Ron O’Day and Mike Hessell shadowing them in case any one of them made an error. In the end Beaman got the better of the trio to lead them into the top six, where he grabbed a fifth placed finish (fourth in the overall points), his best of the season. Johnston sixth (fifth in points), and Tyler O’Day failing to finish the final rotation, although he grabbed sixth in points overall for the event.
Heading into the final, Bastian Mullan (24) had effectively wrapped up his maiden title, his father Phonsy urged a cool head in the battle for the top spot, but the younger Mullan knew that if he wanted to be Champion, he’d have to find something extra to take to Salter in the final. So, he came out all guns blazing, laying down an impressive 46.179 to Salter’s 46.193 to claim his third win of the year, and with it, his maiden title in V8 Superboats.
Behind the pair, Kyle Elphinstone consolidated his position to claim third for the day (and second in points) to move past Matt Malthouse in the overall championship race, with Paul Hill making it three podium finishes from three starts to close out his season in style.
For Bastian Mullan, who had grown in maturity across the year, the chance to join his father as a V8 Superboat Champion was a dream come true.
I wanted to go out to win and beat Salter, but my dad was more focussed on the Championship points. I just want to beat the best, and that was my focus – I didn’t feel like I could be the Australian Champion if I couldn’t beat another person that races in Australia.
As he had done all year, Koby Bourke’s battle at Keith might have been against the clock, but he set himself a series of goals across the weekend to be faster with each session. The Thirteen-year-old achieved what he’d set out to achieve, his last run of the day being his quickest by six tenths of a second. In the end he had found almost 5.5-seconds across the day on his way to claiming the very first Australian V8 Superboats Junior Development Championship.
2021 Penrite Australian V8 Superboat LS-Class Championships (after round five of five)
- Bastian Mullan (Ripshift) – 141-points
- Kyle Elphinstone (Blackout Racing) – 121
- Matt Malthouse (NoodNutz Racing) – 120
- Nate Mullan (Ripshift) – 107
- Jim Beaman (JB Racing) – 104
- Paul Hill (Slicer) – 90
- Chris Edmonds (Solid Gold) – 76
- Matt Riley (Toe Cutter) – 72
- Mike Hessell (Borrowed Time) – 60
- Rob Johnston (Almost There) – 48
- Robert Westerink (The Contractor) – 42
- Nick Druery (Hazzmat) – 40
- Mitch Curtis (Smoke & Mirror) – 38
- Dwayne Mezzadri (Unleashed) – 34
- Bill Biggin (JB Racing) – 30
- Darren Pollard (Toe Cutter) – 28
- Tyler O’Day (Agro-Vation) – 24
- Ron O’Day (Agro-Vation) – 22
Junior Development (after round five of five)
- Koby Bourke (Lil Psycho) – 144-points
Now the Penrite Australian V8 Superboat Championship the teams go into their ‘off-season’ preparations ahead of the first official round of the 2022 season on July 23-24 at the Tweed Valley Jet Sprint Club’s Cabarita Beach facility.