October-November, 2019 [Australia]
The 2018 Penrite Australian Superboat Championships might still be in full flight with some epic battles in progress across both the Unlimited and International Group A fields, but with the dust yet to settle on the national series, planning is well underway for the forthcoming UIM-sanctioned World Series, with a big field of entries already confirmed.
Some of the regions leading teams are entered, including a number of multiple national champions, whilst for the local heroes, home track advantage and the absence of the reigning World Series title holders could give Australia the best chance yet to take the biggest prize in the sport.
New Zealand start undeniable favourites heading into the two round Series, with multiple world Unlimited champion Peter Caughey again leading the charge, the seven-time world title holder expected to present a boat-engine combination that is likely to prove the pace-setter, the recently crowned New Zealand champion (his 11th national title) though staying well under the radar ahead of the opening event at Keith over the October 27-28 weekend.
Sadly, reigning World Series champion Glen Head won’t defend his Unlimited world crown, but Caughey will have no shortage of rivals, including six-time Australian champion Phonsy Mullan who is intent on becoming Australia’s first ever Unlimited world title holder.
Like Caughey, Mullan’s boat-engine package is a closely guarded secret, and just like Caughey, Mullan’s business allows him to spend plenty of quality time behind closed doors developing a title contending package, the Australian a world renowned aftermarket engine specialist responsible for some of the most impressive LS powerplants on the planet, many of which have powered various iterations of his ‘RAMJET’ package over the years.
Despite the expected confrontation between Caughey and Mullan, the multiple title holders will have no shortage of competition from both sides of the Tasman..
Temora’s Scott Krause has been a revelation this year, as the man most likely to break Phonsy Mullan’s five-year stranglehold on the Unlimited title. Claiming three wins from the five rounds so far contested in season 2018 to Mullan’s two victories at Cabarita, Krause and his twin-turbo 440-cubic-inch powered ‘KAOS’ have been quick in the southern rounds of the championship, although the Tweed Coast circuit hasn’t been quite so kind.
Queensland’s Paul Gaston has been methodically working himself forward through the Penrite Australian Championships, the former NZ regular enjoying his time behind the wheel of ‘Heatseeker’ – the re-liveried ‘Maniac’ of Tremayne Jukes, and formerly ‘Loose Cannon’ of multiple Australian champion Dean Finch.
Widely regarded as the most potent Superboat on the planet, in Jukes’ hands the boat took a season high four wins from seven starts in 2017, falling an agonising three points shy of defeating Phonsy Mullan for his maiden Australian crown.
In Gaston’s hands the twin-turbo 468ci V8-powered machine has been a consistent finals finisher, but he is yet to unleash the full potential of the crowd-pleasing boat, the World Series a chance to show what the team, are truly capable of..
Australia’s own two-time world champion (Group A) Slade Stanley is another on the short list to be a contender in the Unlimited class, the successful Wagga native though battling against the clock to have a new boat and engine package ready for the World Series, whilst Jukes – a fan favourite – too is working against the clock, the Victorian battling business commitments ahead of the end-of-season event and a 50/50 chance of making the start list.
With New Zealand race winner Rob Coley and his impressive twin-turbo Nissan V8-powered machine, and returning West Australian Jamie Welch at the wheel of the revamped ‘Natwel Racing’ machine also in the Unlimited field, there will be no shortage of contenders for a world crown on the entry list, but they’re not the only ones.
Two-time Australian champion Daryl Hutton is widely regarded as one of the best drivers in the world, but the ex-pat New Zealander has had a frustrating couple of years trying to get a new Stinger boat package to work, something which up until recently had eluded him and his experienced team. In recent rounds he has shown the boat is capable of running within striking distance of Mullan, but he has also conceded that like his rivals, he may be forced to consider turbo power due to the much higher weight of his preferred supercharged powerplant, which may see him begin the World Series with an untested and untried package..
Alongside regular Australian front-runners, Tony Giustozzi and Mick Carroll – two of the most spectacular drivers in the sport – there will be no shortage of entertainment to keep the fans on their feet across the two Penrite World Series events.
But wait, there’s more..
During Keith’s second round of the Penrite Australian Championships, West Australian Rachel Swarts made the Unlimited podium in her LS-powered ‘All Torque’ a boat which was significantly underpowered compared to her rivals, but with consistency and persistence, she was able to outlast all but Scott Krause to record a result that stunned the field. She will be back for the Worlds with a new 800-horsepower LS7 powerplant, ‘small’ by Unlimited standards, but it’s not always power that counts.
With the glory of a World Series crown on offer, you can be sure teams will be pushing ten-tenths every session, but in a competition where every point counts, there is a fine line between a result and a retirement, Swarts proving that it’s not always about horsepower, something the top teams will need to consider..
To qualify for the World Series, teams need to contest at least two rounds of the national series (wildcards can be allocated though to former champions) and with just one round left of the Penrite Australian Championships, the clock is ticking for a number of competitors to make the cut.
The Unlimited field presents one of the best on record, whilst the International Group A (aka 400-Class) field will also provide a strong focal point for the fans.
Queensland’s Jake Garlick will return to the wheel of ‘Grumpy’ the three-time national title holder will join his father Mark, himself a three-time title holder and a man in the midst of an intense battle at the top of the points table in the 2018 Penrite Australian Championships.
They will be joined by reigning Australian title-holder Ben Hathaway, and 2016 400-Class champion Brett Thornton, all of whom are capable of winning the world crown. They will have no shortage of challengers from within Australia and from reigning world title holders New Zealand.
Queensland’s Paul Kelly has been a star during the 2018 Australian season, and together with fellow title rival Jody Ely, is well within striking distance of his maiden national crown. Together with emerging star Justin Roylance – a driver who has focussed his 2018 program solely on being a contender for the World Series – his younger brother Mitch, and recent Penrite Australian series round winner Daniel James, you have at least nine likely contenders for their maiden world title, a title Australia last won with Slade Stanley in 2009.
New Zealander Ric Burke is the current world title-holder, although like the reigning Unlimited champion, will not defend his title, although the land of the long white cloud will be well represented by 2018 NZ title contenders Ross Travers and Sean Rice, both of whom are expected to mix it with the leading Australian teams, whilst experienced American Ron Domoe will provide plenty of additional international colour and flavour to the field.
2018 Penrite UIM World Series entries
Nick Berryman – NZ Riverjet [NZ]
Paul Burgess – Daly Transport [AUS]
Simon Cain – Quality Time [AUS]
Mick Carroll – Excalibur [AUS]
Peter Caughey – Sprintec [NZ]
Rob Coley – Poison Ivy [NZ]
Michael Cunningham – True Blue [AUS]
Daniel deVoigt – Devo Racing [AUS]
Scott Donald – [NZ]
Paul Gaston – Heatseeker [AUS]
Tony Giustozzi – Excalibur [AUS]
Baden Gray – The Specialist [NZ]
Daryl Hutton – American Automotive [AUS]
Jeremy Kincaid – Rogue [AUS]
Scott Krause – Kaos/Penrite [AUS]
Phonsy Mullan – Ramjet [AUS]
Kyle Patrick – Psycho Racing [USA]
Glenn Roberts – Blown Budget [AUS]
Rachael Swarts – All Torque [AUS]
Cheryl Welch – Natwel Racing [AUS]
Jamie Welch – Natwel Racing [AUS]
International Group A (400-Class)
Shane Brennan – Ynot [AUS]
Ron Domoe – Bad Influence [USA]
Jody Ely – Rampage [AUS]
Shane Francis – Aussie Apocalypse [AUS]
Mark Garlick – Grumpy [AUS]
Jake Garlick – Grumpy [AUS]
Ben Hathaway – Weapon [AUS]
Daniel James – JRE Race Engines [AUS]
Paul Kelly – 4Zero Racing [AUS]
Mike Llewellyn – Ynot [USA]
Brooke Lucas – Troublemaker [AUS]
Neil Marshall – Eagle Automotive [NZ]
Peter Monger – Mongrel [AUS]
Sean Rice – Cosa Nostra [NZ]
Justin Roylance – Spitwater Team Outlaw [AUS]
Mitch Roylance – BlackJack [AUS]
Ollie Silverton – PSP Racing [NZ]
Brett Thornton – 2 Obsessed [AUS]
Ross Travers – Radioactive [NZ]
Phil Weinthal – Black Dog [AUS]
Tony Whalen – Ynot [USA]
Joshua Woodroofe-Lucas – Troublemaker [AUS]