After six rounds the Unlimited Superboat crown is sadly out of the equation, with reigning champion Phonsy Mullan effectively claiming an unprecedented fifth-straight Unlimited title with a solid performance last time out at Temora, despite trailing title-rival Tremayne Jukes for much of the 2017 season.
Jukes sadly lost what promised to be the showdown of the decade, the ‘MANIAC’ pilot making a rare navigational error last time out at Temora whilst on top of the timesheets, adding to his woes from the fifth round of the series at Cabarita where an electrical gremlin stopped the team in their tracks, forcing a rare retirement after failing to record a competitive lap in the finals. He will be back at Cabarita for the final and looking to add to his three rounds wins so far this season.
On count-back Mullan needs only start in the final event to be classified champion, but as always, he will want to go out on a high, and will push ‘RAMJET’ and his rivals through every lap to prove once more just why the Victorian is regarded as one of the best drivers in the world.
The Unlimited title might be out of reach for anyone but Mullan, but in the 400-Class, the battle will come all the way down to Sunday afternoon’s final three, with a number of teams right in the mix. Like Jukes, Ben Hathaway has been a revelation this season, the popular Victorian may have only won two 400-Class rounds of the six to date, but he’s won the hearts of the fans with his epic drives in borrowed boats after ‘Weapon’ was sidelined with technical problems during the year. He comes into the Cabarita final on top of the points, but on adjusted points he is actually five points down on reigning champion Brett Thornton who’s consistency at the northern-NSW venue could be the key to back-to-back titles.
Who to watch at Cabarita..
With the Unlimited Superboat crown out of the equation for another year, teams will be going for broke looking for victory. Rivals Mullan and Jukes will be looking to end the year on a high, and with some months until the start of the 2018 season, both will be pushing to the limit.
Don’t discount Adelaide’s Tony Giustozzi either, the ‘Excalibur’ pilot is driving perhaps better than ever this year and is the only one outside of Mullan and Jukes to have claimed a round win. Always exciting at Cabarita, Giustozzi and team-mate Mick Carroll – both multiple winners in the Unlimited category, will be pushing the points leaders hard.
They won’t be the only ones though, factor in former champion Daryl Hutton in the ‘American Automotive’ machine and the returning Jamie Welch in the ‘Natwel Racing’ entry from Western Australia, and you have a range of boats capable of making the podium and keeping the fans on their feet!
With nothing to lose, the Unlimited teams will surely provide plenty of action, but whilst they will be going hard and ignoring championship points, the 400-Class teams will spend as much time on keyboards strategizing as they will behind the wheel as the title comes all the way down to the wire.
For points-leader Hathaway, he will be focused on one single goal – victory. Without it, his road to his first 400-Class crown will be more difficult, and he will be forced to hope that any one of this title rivals will push reigning champion Brett Thornton into a rare error and slip down the leaderboard.
Thornton though has proven a very capable rival, and his consistency is amongst the best in the business. He leads the championship effectively by five points, and with three points separating the winner from second, or second from third, if he can keep within reach of Hathaway, a second consecutive 400-Class crown will be his. He – and Hathaway – though will also have one eye on a ‘Grumpy’ old man (he just had another birthday, something in the 40+ range).. multiple Australian champion Mark Garlick. Like Thornton, ‘Garlo’ is a Cabarita ‘local’ and knows the circuit intimately. He’s also one of those competitors who can dig deep under pressure and pull out a blinding lap when he needs to, so keep an eye on the #95 machine, because he just could be the ‘joker’ in the pack!
Throw in Victoria’s Jody Ely (Rampage) and popular local star Paul Kelly (4Zero Racing) and the battle for championship points will keep everyone guessing all the way down to the final three on Sunday afternoon, but don’t discount a range of other stars that will also be looking to make an impression..!
Leading the charge will be Spitwater Team Outlaw pilot Justin Roylance, the man from Forbes in NSW debuted a new boat at the start of the 2017 season with mixed results, but with strong support from the team at JRE, he has been on a steep development curve, and this weekend could see the efforts of his entire team produce a podium finish.. Likewise his younger brother Mitch who has been on a sabbatical this season, the ‘Blackjack’ star was a rookie winner in 2016, and makes his return to the Australian championships this weekend, and is just as capable of making the podium.
For those of you unable to make the event, this weekend 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 Round Mountain Road, Cabarita Beach to take in some of the action live, you certainly won’t be disappointed!
Rnd#7 2017 Australian V8 Superboats Championships
Tweed Coast Jet Sprint Club, Cabarita Beach
28-29 October, 2017
1. Phonsy Mullan/Kelsie Gill (RAMJET)
15. Tremayne Jukes/Kianna Lucas (Maniac)
18. Paul Burgess/Matt Foote (Daly Transport)
22A. Jamie Welch/Joel Page (Natwel Racing)
22B. Cheryl Welch/Rachel Parsons (Natwel Racing)
28. Daryl Hutton/Mick Parry (American Automotive)
37. Scott Krause/Narelle Pellow-Djukic (Krause Auto & Marine)
86. Daniel de Voigt/Vicki Burrell (Devo Racing)
93A. Tony Giustozzi/Damian O’Leary (Excalibur)
93B. Mick Carroll/Daniel Kelly (Excalibur)
888. Glenn Roberts/Tiarna McGifford (Blown Budget)
400 CLASS (GROUP A)
1. Brett Thornton/Lyn Thornton (2Obsessed)
12. Ben Hathaway/Lisa Oppes (Weapon)
21. Mtch Roylance/tba (Blackjack)
33. Jody Ely/Greg Blaz (Rampage)
40. Paul Kelly/Matthew Gow (4Zero Racing)
62. Andrew Medlicott/Phil Shead (Gone Nutz Again)
63A. Sam Everingham/Mikayla Mongan (Arkham Asylum)
63B. Luke Diedrich/Marissa Moore (Arkham Asylum)
66A. Mark Oakley/Jarrod Nobrega (Allcott Transformer)
66B. Brad Marsden/brayden Barr (Allcott Transformer)
67. Justin Roylance/Michelle Hodge (Outlaw Team Spitwater)
70A. Clint Ruby/Mick Brennan (Dirty Deeds)
70B. Shane Brennan/Angel Brennan (Dirty Deeds)
95. Mark Garlick/tba (Grumpy)
96. Peter Monger/tba (Mongrel)
360A. Greg Harriman/Sammy Leonard (Pink Boots Foundation)
360B. Hugh Gilchrist/Rachel Parsons (Pink Boots Foundation)
7. Ivan Safranek/Chris Guerin (Katana)
43. Darrin Kesper/Bas Taylor (DUG)
85. David Bray/Adam Knightsbridge (Bare Necessities)
Saturday, 28 October;
8:00am – Gates Open
12:15pm – Qualifying #1 (60-minutes)
1:15pm – Qualifying #2 (60-minutes)
Sunday, 29 October;
8:00am – Gates Open
9:00am – Qualifying #3 (45-minutes)
9:45am – Qualifying #4 (45-minutes)
10:30am – Lunch break
11:15am – Qualifying #5 (45-minutes)
12:00pm – Top 3 Final (LS-Class)
12:20pm – Top 12 Finals (Unlimited/400)
1:50pm – Top 6 Finals (Unlimited/400)
2:30pm – FINALS (Unlimited/400)
2017 Australian V8 Superboat Championships – Series points
Unlimited Superboat (after round six of seven)
1. Phonsy Mullan (RAMJET) – 204-points, 2. Tremayne Jukes (Maniac) – 185, 3. Mick Carroll (Excalibur) – 150, 4. Daryl Hutton (Victorian American Imports) – 149, 5. Ted Sygidus (Frankensztain) – 136, 6. Tony Giustozzi (Excalibur) – 132, 7. Paul Burgess (Daly Transport) – 130, 8. Glenn Roberts (Blown Budget) – 126, 9. Darek Sygidus (Frankensztain) – 122, 10. Daniel deVoigt (DEVO Racing) – 106, 11. Jeremy Kincaid (Rogue) – 58, 12. Scott Krause (Soak’n Fused) – 44, 13. Aaron Hansen (Blown Budget) – 26, 14. Jamie Welch (22), 15. Cheryl Welch (10)
400-Class (Group A) (after round six of seven)
1. Ben Hathaway (Weapon) – 186-points, 2. Brett Thornton (2Obsessed) – 175, 3. Jody Ely (Rampage) – 171, 4. Mark Garlick (Grumpy) – 167, 5. Paul Kelly (4Zero Racing) – 144, 6. Justin Roylance (Spitwater Team Outlaw) – 135, 7. Brad Marsden (Allcott Transformer) – 134, 8. Greg Harriman (Pink Boots Foundation) – 122, 9. Hugh Gilchrist (Pink Boots Foundation) – 98, 10. Ivan Safranek (64), 11. Clint Ruby (Dirty Deeds) – 36
LS-Class (after round six of seven)
1. Ivan Safranek (Katana) – 108-points, 2. Kyle Reynolds (RedRum) – 63, 3. Graham Reynolds (RedRum) – 43