The fifth round of the Penrite Australian V8 Superboats Championship was always going to provide a focal point in the season, not only as the start of the second half of the weather-affected six round schedule, but at the unforgiving Lake Wyangan circuit in Griffith, drivers would face a venue that has regularly had an impact on the Championship result, and this season would prove no different.

The weather was again fantastic, mostly sunny skies and temperatures in the high 20s attracting one of the biggest crowds Griffith has seen in the last decade, but whilst the drivers were cautious to start, by finals time things took a dramatic turn.

Repair work to the circuit just weeks out from the round had seen a big change to what drivers faced 12-month ago, with very few boats leaving the water, and those that did were back in contention again very quickly, but whilst the pace increased as the lights came on, so did the level of risk, and fighting for a real chance at outright victory, it all came unstuck for Nate Mullan in the LS-Class final.

Quick throughout the day, the younger of the two Mullan brothers saw perhaps his best chance yet of dethroning his brother, but whilst well within reach, he clipped the bank at the final corner, throwing the ‘RIPSHIFT’ machine out of the water and into the bank, the boat flipping upside down in the process.

From there things were a blur – navigator Nick Verrocchi was quickly out of the boat followed by Mullan who was assisted by Safety Crew who were quickly on the scene, but just as Mullan released his belts what appears to have been an oil fire took hold, a fire which quickly consumed the boat. Fortunately no-one was badly injured during the event which ultimately destroyed the Championship winning package, putting both the team’s title defence and World Series challenge in jeopardy – Griffith had struck again.

Despite the setback Bastian Mullan continued his winning streak to again claim maximum points, whilst their father was faced with his own challenge just minutes later to claim another dominant win in the Unlimited category over Daryl Hutton and Tyler Finch, whilst in 400-Class, points leader and reigning World Champion Ollie Silverton grabbed his first win in Australia since 2018.

It was clear pretty quickly that the modifications the Griffith Boat Club had made to the circuit in an effort to combat the pressure waves that created so much carnage 12 months ago had been successful, allowing teams to focus on getting the maximum from the rotation.

Following the same rotation as February 2023, the experienced teams had a great foundation to start with, but whilst they knew what to expect, it did little to change the outcome, reigning World Champion Phonsy Mullan very quickly returning to the top of the timesheets and comfortably clear of Temora’s round four giant killer, Tyler Finch.

Testament to the track changes was Mullan’s opening qualifier, his 35.2 more than 1.6-seconds faster than his best time from 2023 where he defeated Sam Everingham and Daryl Hutton in the final.

Mullan continued to find speed, the high water level certainly working in the teams’ favours as everyone in the field settled into a comfortable rhythm heading into the finals.

Ultimately Mullan delivered his best in the fourth qualifier, stopping the clocks with a 34.184, more than 2.6-seconds faster than his final time from 2023. Daryl Hutton too showed strong pace, although he couldn’t get to within 1.6 seconds of Mullan, whilst Scott Krause got the better of Tyler Finch to be third, Glenn Roberts fifth with some solid consistent laps all well below his 2023 best.

With just five boats through to the finals, teams were focussed on the Top 6 final in an effort to make it through to the podium positions, and Mullan continued his great run to be quickest, although six tenths down on his best whilst Daryl Hutton continued to stay within reach, his 35.471 getting him to within six tenths of the top spot, Tyler Finch third after jumping into the high 36s to drop Scott Krause back off the podium.

Behind Krause, Glenn Roberts too broke into the 30s with another strong run despite the dark patches scattered around the circuit.

With Mullan assuming station at the top of the timesheets it was Tyler Finch who was first out in the final, the round four winner understanding just how hard Griffith can bite, so there were no heroics this time, although he did improve to set his best time of the night carding a 36.080.

Daryl Hutton knew that he needed to keep the pressure on Mullan, and with ‘new’ navigator ‘Axe’ O’May alongside, slipped back into the low 35s to force the reigning Champion to dig deep, but it was perhaps no surprise to see Mullan back into the 34s, although four tenths down on his Q4 best – it was still eight tenths up on Hutton to return him to the top step of the podium.

Off the back of his first win of the season at Temora, reigning Champion Brendan Doyle was fired up to go two-from-two and repay the loss he suffered to title-rival Jody Ely 12-months ago. His weekend hit an early snag with a fuel line issue in opening practice but very quickly he settled into a comfortable rhythm, although in the end it wasn’t Ely he was chasing, points leader Ollie Silverton setting the early pace.

By the close of qualifying Silverton was the benchmark, his Q5 best of 36.953 just over a tenth up on Doyle, with 2023 round winner Jody Ely a full second further back – and in fact, slower than 2021 Champion Justin Roylance who was enjoying his best run of the season.

Danny Knappick was still struggling with fuel pressure issues and not 100% happy with his performance on the 12-month anniversary of first getting into his new ‘Sprintec’, whilst for Simon Doyle, he was taking a cautious approach to the weekend, yet despite that, he still ran foul of the bottom corner in the third qualifier in shades of what his brother had done in 2019, fortunately without the sudden stop nor the damage. He’d be back for Q4.

Noel Verning too was being cautious, especially off the back of his off three weeks prior at Temora, but unlike Temora he’d be campaigning the ‘Quiet Time’ package in which he’d started the year – memories of his run at Griffith 12-months ago still fresh in his mind, so he wasn’t willing to risk another engine to the vagaries of the Griffith circuit.

Jody Ely turned in his quickest time of the day in the opening final to be mere hundredth slower than pace-setter Ollie Silverton and throw his hat back into the ring for back-to-back wins, whilst for Brendan Doyle, who had been chasing some setup changes – he actually dropped a significant portion of time, carding just a 38.5 to be only fourth, Justin Roylance moving to within three tenths of Silverton to lay the foundations for an epic final.

Sadly for Danny Knappick his ongoing issues continued, the ‘KMC Performance’ backed machine a distant fifth, but a second clear of the impressive Hugh Gilchrist who was finally starting to come alive in his new ’MATTRIX’ ‘PULSE’ package.

Simon Doyle continued to improve, but with a cast of stars lined up for the Griffith round, making the Top 6 was always going to be a challenge, the ‘MSA Automotive’ supported driver missing the cut for the second final, joining Noel Verning back on the trailer, the Goondiwindi-based driver making a navigational error in his final run.

By the second final Brendan Doyle was back to form, carding an impressive 36.793 to be more than four tenths faster than Silverton, Jody Ely completing the final three despite dropping time across the lap, but in the end a technical setback for Justin Roylance saw the Victorian make the cut, Roylance dropping significant time after an exhaust broke whilst well on target to make the final.

Jody Ely hit the water first in the final and was clearly pushing, but from his split time it was clear it wouldn’t be enough, stopping the clock with a 37.759, an almost identical time to his Top 12 lap and a full 1.3-seconds faster than his race winning time from 2023.

Silverton was next out and it was clear he was full of intent and despite assurances he would be happy to win the title with perpetual second placed finishes, you could see he was desperate to take the fight to the Australians from the front. The first split was an 11.2 already three tenths up on Ely, but the closing split was his best of the night, the New Zealander carding a 36.606 to put Doyle on notice.

The reigning AUS#1 fired out the gate knowing he’d need to find just a couple of tenths on his best time to take the win, but by the opening split he was already down, but by just 76 one thousandths – he knew what he had to do, but with the memory of 2019 and what that did to his career tucked away in the back of his mind, you could perhaps have forgiven him for just feathering the throttle a couple of times over the closing stages – the difference in the end, just two tenths of a second. Victory going to Ollie Silverton, a victory that may well have determined the 2024 Australian title, especially with two rounds remaining – where both are daylight events!

To say Silverton was ecstatic would be an understatement, his donuts with the chequered flag afterwards a rare display of emotion from a driver who keeps his cards very close to his chest.

One thing is for certain though – this 2024 Championship battle has just hit boiling point, and it’s very clear that the Australian teams are going to have to lift their game if they want to prevent all the major Jetboat titles residing in New Zealand, by season’s end..!

Another strong field of LS-Class entries arrived at Griffith looking for redemption, especially off the back of a round 12 months prior that had claimed a number of scalps, notably Kyle Elphinstone, Noel Verning and Lance Edmonds, all three still suffering the after affects – Elphinstone and Edmonds working to return to form after mechanical setbacks through the season, whilst Verning elected to move on to 400-Class and shelve his LS plans altogether.

With that in mind teams were clearly cautious through the early laps, although that whole theory went completely out the window for Luke Walters’ navigator Juzzi Calvert who made his driving debut at Griffith, throwing caution completely out the window to turn in one of the performances of the weekend, in the end, putting Walters and long-time sparring partner Mike Hessell to shame, with laps that even some of the more experienced drivers were astounded by..!

Typically it was the Bastian and Nate Mullan show up front. But in pleasing news for Kyle Elphinstone, the 2019 title-holder was finally starting to see some gains from performance modifications made across the mid-season break, going toe-to-toe with the ‘RIPSHIFT’ team right through the qualifiers to head into the finals just half a second off the outright pace.

For Nate Mullan, he was back to the form that saw him shadowing his brother at Keith earlier in the season, the duo separated by just 48 one thousandths of a second at the close of the five qualifying sessions.

Matt Malthouse was fourth fastest just half a second shy of Elphinstone and a similar distance clear of son Mitch ahead of a big group of boats battling for a position in the top six; Luke Walters, Jade Atchison and Mike Hessell separated by less than half a second but with Juzzi Calvert not far off their tails.

After a stunning run at Temora just three weeks prior, Darren Pollard was a little out of sorts and struggling to get a handle on the perfect lap, he held down tenth ahead of the finals, just marginally clear of team-mate James Machan, with the O’Day team continuing to battle with the intermittent issue that sidelined them at Temora, they would ultimately face an early end to the day.

Under lights for the Top 12 final Bastian Mullan turned in an impressive 37.314 second lap, just five one thousandths quicker than his best of the day, but still just hundredths quicker than Nate Mullan’s best, Nate by contract was unable to reach that mark, dropping back to a 37.65.

Sadly for Kyle Elphinstone, a podium return was off the cards after the intake dropped out of the jet unit part way through his run – he crossed the line, but at a 46.292 it was always going to be a tall ask, James Machan joining him soon after with a navigational error.

With just six spots available for the second final, the race to join the Mullan brothers and Matt Malthouse was on in earnest. Mitch Malthouse was next to falter, a setback in the final qualifier which saw him up the bank in the bottom corner perhaps playing on his mind with a navigational error, he was quickly back up to speed but with such a tight pack vying for a start in the second final, he too was eliminated.

Juzzi Calvert’s ongoing efforts were the talk of his team-mates, Luke Walters and Mike Hessell convinced that there was no way the rookie was going to upstage them, especially with all their recent running in the New Zealand Championship. Calvert had other ideas though, defeating boat owner Luke Walters by 12 one hundredths, before falling marginally short of Mike Hessell’s time by just 16 one thousandths to join the Mullan brothers, Matt Malthouse, Jade Atchison and Hessell in the Top 6!

Bastian Mullan again set the pace in the second final, dropping into the high 36s, Nate still marginally shy of his best to be more than four tenths off the pace, Matt Malthouse regaining his Q3 form to comfortably make the final.

Jade Atchison’s form across the day had been stunning. With ‘navigator to the stars’ Jamie Maroney in the jump seat subbing for Erin Kearney, Atchison’s pace was impressive, although she too was finding herself under fire from Juzzi Calvert who also dropped into the 41s, the pair of them both carding a time, in the process relegating Mike Hessell to sixth after he clipped one too many corners and ultimately beached the boat.

With his brother a touch too close for comfort, Bastian Mullan turned in another epic final run, improving by more than three tenths of a second to drop into the high 36s.

Matt Malthouse knew he wouldn’t match that but felt if could keep the pressure on Nate Mullan, he might find himself in second, but almost as soon as he started the lap than he was out after a navigational error, all but paving the way for another Mullan-brothers 1-2, but they day was not yet done.

After an unusually incident free day at Griffith, Nate Mullan more than made up for it during his final run of the night with one of the biggest accidents Griffith has seen in many years..

Convinced he could match Bastian’s time, Nate sprinted off the line with clear intent and to the opening split he was well within reach, but despite an epic run, he turned in too early for the final corner, flipping the boat into the tyres on the outside of the corner, landing it upside down.

Navigator Nick Verrocchi was quickly out of the boat followed by Mullan who was assisted by Safety Crew who were quickly on the scene, but just as Mullan released his belts what appears to have been an oil fire took hold, a fire which quickly consumed the boat. Fortunately no-one was badly injured during the event which ultimately destroyed the Championship winning package, putting both the team’s title defence and World Series challenge in jeopardy – Griffith had struck again.

Junior Development
The last minute addition of brothers Jock and Tom Casey to the Junior Development roster added a point of interest for the younger fans as they watched former champion Koby Bourke do battle with two drivers closer to his age. With more maturity under their belts, they were quickly promoted to the ‘open’ key allowing them to race Bourke on an even keel, and they very quickly took the fight to the Queenslander.

Bourke ultimately qualified quickest with a 41.86 in the final session, Jock Casey not far in arrears with a 42.31, Tom Casey carding a best of 44.99.

The final saw an outstanding battle between Jock Casey and Bourke, the rookie driver getting the better of the fight to take victory on debut by just two tenths of a second, Tom Casey completing the podium with third.

So that concludes the fifth round of the 2023/24 season, next up we’re back to Keith in regional South Australia for the penultimate round of the season as part of the annual Keith & Tintinara District Show on Saturday, March 23.

For fans of the Penrite Australian V8 Superboats Championship, they can catch all the action on 7mate and 7+ during the year (check local guides and search V8 Superboats). Updates will be posted on social media channels with respect to on air times, however episodes from the 2022 season are available ‘on-demand’ on 7+.


Rnd#5 2023/24 Penrite Australian V8 Superboats Championship
Lake Wyangan, Griffith, New South Wales
24 February, 2024

Unlimited Superboat

1. 1. Phonsy Mullan/Leigh Stuart (RAMJET) – 34.542
2. 28. Daryl Hutton/Axe O’May (Victorian American Imports) – 35.345
3. 32. Tyler Finch/Jarrod Ballard (Loose Cannon) – 36.080

400-Class (Group A)
1. 31. Ollie Silverton/Jess Sitt (PSP Racing) – 36.606
2. 1. Brendan Doyle/Holly Small (PULSE) – 36.824
3. 33. Jody Ely/Brooke Tanner (Rampage) – 37.759

1. 1A. Bastian Mullan/Tahleah Mullan (RIPSHIFT) – 36.238
2. 69A. Matt Malthouse/Rob Taylor (NoodNutz Racing) – ww
3. 1B. Nate Mullan/Nick Verocchi (RIPSHIFT) – DNF

Junior Development*
1. 97A. Jock Casey (Lil Psycho) – 40.464
2. 97C. Koby Bourke (Lil Psycho) – 40.663
3. 97B. Tom Casey (Lil Pyscho) – 42.655
*different circuit rotation to other classes


Unlimited Superboat

1 1. Phonsy Mullan/Leigh Stuart (RAMJET) – 34.843
2 28. Daryl Hutton/Axe O’May (Victorian American Imports) – 35.471
3 32. Tyler Finch/Jarrod Ballard (Loose Cannon) – 36.717
4 37. Scott Krause/James Parsons (KAOS) – 37.065
5 888. Glenn Roberts/Narelle Pellow-Djukic (Blown Budget) – 39.849

400-Class (Group A)
1 1. Brendan Doyle/Holly Small (PULSE) – 36.793
2 31. Ollie Silverton/Jess Sitt (PSP Racing) – 37.250
3 33. Jody Ely/Brooke Tanner (Rampage) – 38.082
4 863. Hugh Gilchrist/Nikeyla Nisbet (MATTRIX) – 39.865
5 45. Danny Knappick/Cliff Bamford (Tuff’n Up) – 40.331
6 67. Justin Roylance/Tracey Little (The Outlaw) – 47.584

1 1A. Bastian Mullan/Tahleah Mullan (RIPSHIFT) – 36.993
2 1B. Nate Mullan/Nick Verocchi (RIPSHIFT) – 37.430
3 69A. Matt Malthouse/Rob Taylor (NoodNutz Racing) – 38.493
4 777. Jade Atchison/Jamie Maroney (Twisted) – 41.790
5 300B. Juzzi Calvert/Tommy Moroney (The Spartan) – 41.914
6 380. Mike Hessell/Shaun White (Borrowed Time) – DNF


(Group A)
1. 31. Ollie Silverton/Jess Sitt (PSP Racing) – 37.694
2. 33. Jody Ely/Brooke Tanner (Rampage) – 37.740
3. 67. Justin Roylance/Tracey Little (The Outlaw) – 37.987
4. 1. Brendan Doyle/Holly Small (PULSE) – 38.542
5. 45. Danny Knappick/Cliff Bamford (Tuff’n Up) – 39.555
6. 863. Hugh Gilchrist/Nikeyla Nisbet (MATTRIX) – 41.027
7. 99. Simon Doyle/Cael White (The Mistress) – 47.052

1. 1A. Bastian Mullan/Tahleah Mullan (RIPSHIFT) – 37.314
2. 1B. Nate Mullan/Nick Verocchi (RIPSHIFT) – 37.651
3. 69A. Matt Malthouse/Rob Taylor (NoodNutz Racing) – 39.351
4. 777. Jade Atchison/Jamie Maroney (Twisted) – 42.028
5. 380. Mike Hessell/Shaun White (Borrowed Time) – 42.309
6. 300B. Juzzi Calvert/Tommy Moroney (The Spartan) – 42.325
7. 300A. Luke Walters/Jess Mint (The Spartan) – 42.446
8. 77. Darren Pollard/Steve Muhvich (Disturbed) – 43.202
9. 69B. Mitch Malthouse/Harrison Collins (NoodNutz Racing) – 44.084
10. 219. Kyle Elphinstone/Will Cartwright (Blackout Racing) – 46.292
11. 7777. James Machan/Louis Borg (Toxicity) – DNF


2023/24 Penrite Australian V8 Superboats Championship – Series Points
Unlimited Superboa
t (after round four of six)
1. Phonsy Mullan (RAMJET) – 141-points, 2. Daryl Hutton (Victorian American Imports) – 122, 3. Scott Krause (KAOS) – 121, 4. Tyler Finch (Loose Cannon) – 118, 5. Glenn Roberts (Blown Budget) – 102, 6. Rob Coley (Poison Ivy) – 48, 7. Chris Edmonds (Hazardous) – 26, 8. Sam Everingham (Excalibur) – 24, 8. Peter Monger (Mongrel) – 24

400-Class (Group A) (after round four of six)
1. Ollie Silverton (PSP Racing) – 135-points, 2. Jody Ely (Rampage) – 126, 3. Brendan Doyle (The Girlfriend) – 123, 4. Danny Knappick (Tuff’n’Up) – 116, 5. Simon Doyle (The Mistress) – 98, 6. Noel Verning (Quiet Time) – 94, 7. Hugh Gilchrist (Mattrix) – 76, 8. Justin Roylance (The Outlaw) 68, 9. Andrew Medlicott (Gone Nutz) – 20

LS-Class (after round four of six)
1. Bastian Mullan (Ripshift) – 144-points, 2. Nate Mullan (Ripshift) – 129, 3. Matt Malthouse (NoodNutz Racing) – 107, 4. Kyle Elphinstone (Blackout Racing) – 102, 5. Jade Atchison (Twisted) – 82, 6. Mitch Malthouse (NoodNutz Racing) – 74, 7. Matt Hareb (No Limits) – 72, 8. Luke Walters (Borrowed Time) – 60, 9. Mike Hessell (Borrowed Time) – 58, 9. Darren Pollard (Disturbed) – 58, 11. Lawrie Howlett (Drop Bear) – 48, 12. Tyler O’Day (Agro-Vation) – 40, 13. Jodie Cottam (Steady Eddie) – 36, 14. James Machan (Twisted) – 34, 15. Lance Edmonds (Solid Gold) – 30, 16. Juzzi Calvert (The Spartan) – 26, 16. Ron O’Day (Agro-Vation) – 26, 18. Adam Sulcs (Steady Eddie) – 20, 18. Rodney Norton (Crackers) – 20, 20. Karen Howlett (Drop Bear) – 8, 21. John Verry (Blackout Racing) – 0

Junior Development (after round three of five)
1. Koby Bourke (Lil Psycho) – 108-points, 2. Harry Jay (Lil Psycho) – 0, 2. Jock Casey (0), 2. Tom Casey (0)


2023/24 Penrite Australian V8 Superboats Championship
Rnd#1 – Temora, NSW – 09 September, 2023
Rnd#2 – Keith, SA – 14 October, 2023
Rnd#3 – Tweed Coast, NSW – 05 November, 2023 (postponed – weather)
Rnd#4 – Temora, NSW – 03 February, 2024 (Colin Parish Memorial)
Rnd#5 – Griffith, NSW – 24 February, 2024
Rnd#6 – Keith, SA – 23 March, 2024
Rnd#7 [FINAL] – Tweed Coast, NSW – 04-05 May, 2024

About Penrite
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