Dramatic V8 Superboats season opener at Cabarita

After a challenging 2021 season battling ongoing Covid-19 restrictions and flooding rain, the V8 Superboat competitors returned to Cabarita Beach on the north-coast of New South Wales looking towards a fresh new start, although just days out, weather reports of heavy rain saw some wondering whether or not we were in for another run of setbacks.

Fortunately, despite persistent rain on Friday that hampered pre-event scrutineering, the weather steadily improved to the point where much of Sunday’s racing was held in brilliant sunshine, the big Cabarita crowd treated to some great racing and some epic performances.

Ultimately it was the pre-season favourites that set the pace, reigning champions Phonsy Mullan [Unlimited], Justin Roylance [400-Class], Bastian Mullan [LS-Class] and Koby Bourke [Junior Development] the early pace-setters, with all but Roylance tasting success in the final, the ‘Outlaw67’ driver ultimately defeated once-again by his 2021 sparring-partner Jody Ely.

Typical of the nature of the sport, we saw a number of incidents across the day, most notable was the heavy contact with the barriers that former 400-Class Champions Brett and Lin Thornton suffered during the final qualifier on Sunday, coming off on the entry to the infamous ‘Bennies’ corner. That saw a long delay as the medical team extracted them from the boat and transported them to hospital. Fortunately both were able to return home the following day, although they will need time to recuperate from the impact of the sudden stop.

They weren’t alone though, a number of drivers coming off on the same corner, whilst arguably the most dramatic incident was incurred by ‘Mr Excitement’ himself, Chris Edmonds.

Edmonds was again the crowd pleaser in ‘Yippee Ki-Yay’ but a mechanical setback in the fourth qualifier saw him sidelined, the sport’s ‘Nice Guy’ Daryl Hutton providing him an opportunity to share driving duties in the ‘Phoenix Lubricants’ boat. Keen to make an impression, Edmonds all but matched his lap time from his earlier runs in his own boat first time out, but it all went wrong during the opening elimination final, the expat New Zealander clipping a bank and inverting the Hutton machine, trapping navigator Jamie Maroney under water.

The Safety Crew were quickly on the scene to extract Maroney, but it was game over for the Hutton crew, the damage to the boat too much to repair in time to get the team back out on the water, although the upside of the incident was the statewide television exposure on networks 7 and 9 across the following four days. It may not have looked like it with the disappointment on Chris Edmonds’ face, but as they say.. Any publicity is good publicity.

Unlimited Superboat
The big news at the close of the 2021 season was the retirement of former champion Slade Stanley. The two-time World Champion had been the benchmark in the sport for much of the last three years, but business and family commitments forced him to call time on his racing, leaving a big void at the top of the timesheets.

Perhaps the most frustrating element of Stanley’s announcement was that we would never get to see a head-to-head fight between the man billed as the ‘fastest in the world’ and eight-time Australian Champion Phonsy Mullan.

Across the 2021 season, the consistent Mullan managed to claw back a deficit that at times had stretched to as much as three seconds, but by season’s end was down to mere tenths.

Coming to Cabarita though, a repeat rotation gave teams an opportunity to gauge themselves against a known rotation, organisers choosing to adopt the very same navigation that was used during the third round of the 2021 season last June. The Unlimited benchmark at that event, Slade Stanley with a 41.108, a time he set in the opening elimination final before inverting the ‘Hazardous’ machine next time out – whether he would have improved that mark, we will never know, although he conceded that he was often at the limit of the boat, so it was certainly a mark to chase.

Not surprisingly, Mullan was intent on breaking that mark, turning in some stunning laps to ultimately improve it in the second qualifier, then break into the 40s the next time out.

From that point on he conserved to focus on improving the setup of his ‘PULSE’ hull, before finishing with a flourish, his 40.253 in the final – a full three seconds faster than his June 2021 time – a statement that the reigning World Champion had finally returned to the throne..

With Mullan stepping up to fill the seat vacated by Stanley, teams now had a new benchmark to chase, but with little changing for any of his rivals, improvements over their last run at Cabarita on the same venue were always going to be incremental. That said, Daryl Hutton and Scott Krause both found wholesale improvement, Hutton improving to a 42.927 in the fourth qualifier after battling boost issues early, whilst Krause also found almost a second on his 2021 best, to card a 43.766 in the final qualifier.

Whilst the ‘usual contenders’ were vying for a position on the podium alongside Mullan, perhaps the greatest threat was former Unlimited race winner Tremayne Jukes.

Initially slated as Driver Coach for Brendan Doyle and the ‘Girlfriend’ team, Jukes found himself in the driver’s seat on Saturday morning after the boat’s original pilot Paul Gaston failed to make clearance with the specified distance between the top of his helmet and the rollcage.

Originally scheduled to play a part of the new 400-Class methanol development project, the ‘PULSE” team elected instead to enter Jukes in Unlimited to see how the new engine package shaped up, the alloy heads and methanol injection system powering the Victorian to the third fastest time at the close of the opening elimination final, his 44.018 slotting him in behind Mullan and Hutton, before a setback in the Top 6.

Running on a pace that would have seen him on the podium, Jukes was shaving millimetres off every bank to make up for his performance deficit before grabbing just a little too much mid run, his pirouette off an island now the stuff of legend, the boat spinning a full 360 degrees to land back in the water where Jukes kept the boot in to continue his rotation. The only setback.. the contact had thrown him off navigation, so he was forced to complete one part of the circuit again and right the wrong, but sadly, that put the clock against him.

He wasn’t the only one to suffer a setback, Rob Coley – who had endured the month from hell – also came out of the water in ‘DEVO2’ the boat owned and formerly campaigned by former 350-Class Champion Daniel DeVoigt. Coley was keen to come back and race the full 2022 Australian season, the New Zealander having made cameo appearances in the past with some success.

A brand new Peter Caughey built Sprintec engine had been fitted with an all new twin-turbo Nissan powerplant and shipped from New Zealand with plenty of time to spare, at least that was the plan before shipping revealed a change to the schedule.. The new boat still sitting in a container on a ship in New Zealand as the opening round began. Having a similar package sitting in Sam Everingham’s shed just miles away from the Cabarita circuit, the team tried to effect repairs to that boat, but that too failed to materialise, the ‘Poison Ivy’ team opting to lease DeVoigt’s boat for the round to ensure some points ahead of August’s second round.

Conservative to start, Coley started to get stuck into the twin-turbo LS3 powered machine in the finals, but contact with the bank and a spin onto an island ended his run in the top six.

All the while this was falling into the hands of Cabarita regular Glenn ‘Spider’ Roberts. The ‘Blown Budget’ driver had arrived in the region some days ahead of the round to finalise work on his 632 cubic-inch big block to be fully prepared for the season, but early in the event he suffered a DNF, with a rocker arm issue forcing a hasty overnight rebuild at the track Saturday night, assisted by rivals Daryl Hutton and Scott Krause. By Sunday morning he was finally able to card a time, then maintain his pace into the final six, where he stepped things up to a 46.937 to qualify for the final alongside Mullan and Krause after the setbacks suffered by Edmonds, Hutton, Coley and Jukes in the second elimination final, the Unlimited veteran carding a safe 49.831 to make a popular return to the Cabarita final.

No-one though could touch Mullan, his final lap one of the best you’ll see, whilst for Krause, his consistency saw him claim second and a strong haul of championship points, Roberts, Jukes, Coley, Hutton and Edmonds completing the championship order.

400-CLASS (GROUP A)
With soaring prices for petrol, much less race fuel, and the ongoing challenge of sourcing OEM cast-iron heads, the 400-Class teams looked for a solution ahead of the 2022 season, a solution that saw some teams convert to running methanol fuel (as per the Unlimited category), and others run aluminium heads, with a mix of packages entered for the opening round.

Ultimately, some teams – notably Jody Ely, Brendan Doyle, Brett Thornton, Danny Knappick and Daniel Warburton – elected to run their 2021 packages, whilst reigning champion Justin Roylance (cast heads, methanol injection), Paul Kelly (cast heads, methanol injection) and Paul Gaston (alloy heads, methanol injection) chose to run variations of the new setup. Sadly Kelly and Gaston were late scratchings, leaving Roylance as the only driver with a different package to that of his rivals, the Gaston ‘Girlfriend’ switching to Unlimited in the hands of Tremayne Jukes.

Discussions pre-season saw a decision to take a vote on whether the new systems would be included within the outright 400-Class points, or whether those teams would contest a separate point score, a vote amongst competing teams on Saturday night seeing the majority call for all boats to be included in the outright points as performance differences were not judged to be a factor. Post-event however a decision was made to call the result provisional until all stakeholders (including those not present) were consulted, so at this stage, the result remains unofficial.

Not surprisingly, the season started much the way the 2021 season closed – with arch-rivals (and great mates), Jody Ely and Justin Roylance going head to head, before Roylance was sidelined late on Saturday with issues with his new system.. Methanol burning in the exhaust pipes at low revs melted data lines in the back of the boat, a hasty welding job in Sam Everingham’s nearby workshop extending the tailpipes beyond the top of the boat to allow the team to carry on into Sunday’s finals.

Sunday morning saw Roylance return to the top of the timesheets, his 44.481 ultimately the fastest of the day, Ely half a second shy with Brett Thornton and Brendan Doyle battling over the final place on the podium ahead of Thornton’s Q5 retirement.

With just six boats remaining, the first elimination final was dropped, teams instead going into the final six battling to make it into the final.

Daniel Warburton carded his best run of the weekend, with Danny Knappick showing ongoing signs of his improvement – the benefit of more miles under his belt since the June 2021 event – the former ski racing competitor finding four and a half seconds over his June best to join Ely, Roylance and Doyle in the final, officials extending the final to four boats to allow both 400-Class variants an opportunity to score points ahead of a final decision on the category’s future.

Having topped the timesheets in the first elimination final after Roylance grabbed too much bank (then suffering a clogged jet unit in the final), Ely was the last boat out, Roylance carding a 44.864 to Doyle’s 47.345 and Knappick’s 49.295, Ely turning in another stunning lap on a rotation that clearly suits his ‘Jetspeed’ hull, his 45.653 a full half second faster than his June 2021 lap to put him two tenths clear of his rival.

LS-CLASS
Not surprisingly, the ongoing success of the ‘new’ LS-Class format saw 13 entries arrive at Cabarita for the opening round, sadly without West Australian Daniel Salter who was expected to take the fight to reigning champion Bastian Mullan, ‘the Hustler’ withdrawn on the eve of the round due to setbacks getting in from Western Australia.

He wasn’t the only one to suffer setbacks, Matt Riley forced into Darren Pollard’s second boat ‘Twisted’ whilst he waited for engine parts to become available, whilst Pollard himself suffered issues throughout Saturday having taken delivery of his rebuilt ‘Disturbed’ package just ahead of the season opener, leaving the team no time to test and sort the engine, which gave them a string of challenges across the opening day.

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, although ultimately it was 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 21, one thousandths of a second.

For the remainder of the field however the round presented mixed results..

As one of the drivers to watch this season, Nate Mullan finished the round in fifth place, the younger of Phonsy Mullan’s two sons on target to break into the top three before an off in the Top 6, contact with the bank whilst well up on his best frustrating, but in a show of maturity, he brought the boat back to the trailer without issue, electing to give up the lap in order to ensure his brother had the opportunity to go after the win. In the end that saw him place fifth behind Lawrie Howlett in his ‘new’ ‘Drop Bear’ package, the Hervey Bay local improving across the day to place fourth in the final with a best of 49.946.

Sadly for Paul Hill who arrived at Cabarita with an upgraded LS3 powerplant, his weekend came to an end during the Top 6 final after repeating the error made by Brett Thornton earlier in the day, ‘Slicer’ running wide on the run into ‘Bennies’ to nose the boat into the barriers. Fortunately he and Alex Singleton were okay, but the boat will need some cosmetic work ahead of the August event.

For Tyler O’Day, who again was making his presence felt in the top half of the field, he was forced to settle for seventh, after dropping more than a second on his best during his Top 12 run, whilst Mike Hessell recovered from a frustrating run of early DNFs and a ‘wrong way’ in the final qualifier to grab eighth.

For Matt Riley, his start to the season hadn’t gone to plan with the late arrival of engine parts for ‘Toe Cutter’, an offer to step into Darren Pollard’s second boat (to be debuted this season by daughter Jade Atchison) ‘Twisted’ a nod to Pollard’s drives in ‘Toe Cutter’ last season, Riley working his way up to speed before a ‘wrong way’ in the first elimination final saw an early retirement, ninth in points a solid start to the year with Pollard tenth despite limited running.

For Ron O’Day, his ongoing battle with son Tyler was a focal point, before the ‘old boy’ had a slip on Saturday, falling onto the trailer, in the process doing damage to his ribs which saw him step out of the boat ahead of Sunday to support Tyler’s efforts, he’s hoping to be fit to return to the seat by August.

For rookies Noel Verning (Quiet Time) and Rodney Norton (Hot Shots), they enjoyed their V8 Superboats debut, both drivers taking a cautious approach, Verning ultimately though suffering a DSQ due to a technical issue, but not before turning in some impressive laps times, whilst Norton had the time of his life despite failing to record a single timed lap having had to deal with the vagaries of navigating, whilst at the same time getting used to driving the boat!

JUNIOR DEVELOPMENT
Having had to race against the clock throughout the 2021 season due to a lack of competition, reigning champion Koby Bourke had some serious opposition at Cabarita, with experienced motorsport campaigner (karts and speedway) Connor Smith 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, teams enjoy a short break before returning to the Tweed Valley Jet Sprint Club’s Cabarita Beach facility across the August 27-28 weekend,

For fans of the Penrite Australian V8 Superboats Championship, they can catch all the action on 7mate and 7plus this year, the first program going to air in mid-September (check local guides for dates and times). We will also post updates on social media channels once the on-air dates have been released.

—————————————————————–

Rnd#1 2022 Australian V8 Superboats Championship presented by Penrite
Tweed Valley Jet Sprint Club, Cabarita Beach, NSW
23-24 July, 2022

FINAL RESULTS

TOP 3 FINAL
Unlimited Superboat
1. 23. Phonsy Mullan/Leigh Stuart (RAMJET) – 40.253
2. 37. Scott Krause/Rachel Parsons (KAOS) – 44.300
3. 888. Glenn Roberts/Tia McGifford (Blown Budget) – 49.831

400-Class (Group A) – PROVISIONAL
1. 33. Jody Ely/Angel Brennan (Rampage) – 44.653
2. 67. Justin Roylance/Michelle Hodge (Outlaw67) – 44.864
3. 4. Brendan Doyle/Rory Doyle (PULSE) – 47.345
4. 45. Danny Knappick/Darren Tickell (Tuff’n Up) – 49.295

LS-Class
1. 1A. Bastian Mullan/Tahleah James (RIPSHIFT) – 43.962
2. 69. Matt Malthouse/Leighton Collins (Nood Nutz) – 45.735
3. 219. Kyle Elphinstone/Jacob Bellamy (Blackout Racing) – 45.756

Junior Development*
1. 97A. Koby Bourke (Lil Pyscho) – 52.428
1. 97B. Connor Smith (Lil Pyscho) – 60.076
* different circuit rotation to other classes

—————————-

TOP 6 FINAL
Unlimited Superboat
1. 23. Phonsy Mullan/Leigh Stuart (RAMJET) – 41.265
2. 37. Scott Krause/Rachel Parsons (KAOS) – 43.824
3. 888. Glenn Roberts/Tia McGifford (Blown Budget) – 46.937
4. 214. Tremayne Jukes/Tracey Little (The Girlfriend) – 59.883
5. 86. Rob Coley/Ange Coley (DEVO2) – DNF
6. 28. Daryl Hutton/Mick Parry (Phoenix Lubricants) – DNS

400-Class (Group A) – PROVISIONAL
1. 33. Jody Ely/Angel Brennan (Rampage) – 44.855
2. 67. Justin Roylance/Michelle Hodge (Outlaw67) – 45.413
3. 4. Brendan Doyle/Rory Doyle (PULSE) – 47.190
4. 45. Danny Knappick/Darren Tickell (Tuff’n Up) – 50.323
5. 81. Daniel Warburton (Team Attitude) – 60.478
6. 53. Brett Thornton/Lin Thornton (Still Obsessed) – DNS

LS-Class
1. 1A. Bastian Mullan/Tahleah James (RIPSHIFT) – 44.926
2. 69. Matt Malthouse/Leighton Collins (Nood Nutz) – 46.388
3. 219. Kyle Elphinstone/Jacob Bellamy (Blackout Racing) – 46.963
4. 14. Lawrie Howlett/Karen Howlett (Drop Bear) – 49.946
5. 1B. Nate Mullan/Jayden Vella (RIPSHIFT) – ww
6. 512. Paul Hill/Alex Singleton (Slicer) – DNF

—————————-

TOP 12 FINAL
Unlimited Superboat
1. 23. Phonsy Mullan/Leigh Stuart (RAMJET) – 40.716
2. 28. Daryl Hutton/Mick Parry (Phoenix Lubricants) – 42.798
3. 214. Tremayne Jukes/Tracey Little (The Girlfriend) – 44.018
4. 37. Scott Krause/Rachel Parsons (KAOS) – 44.046
5. 86. Rob Coley/Ange Coley (DEVO2) – 45.588
6. 888. Glenn Roberts/Tia McGifford (Blown Budget) – 50.099
7. 169. Chris Edmonds/Jamie Maroney (Phoenix Lubricants) – DNF

LS-Class
1. 1A. Bastian Mullan/Tahleah James (RIPSHIFT) – 45.874
2. 69. Matt Malthouse/Leighton Collins (Nood Nutz) – 45.983
3. 219. Kyle Elphinstone/Jacob Bellamy (Blackout Racing) – 47.187
4. 1B. Nate Mullan/Jayden Vella (RIPSHIFT) – 47.660
5. 512. Paul Hill/Alex Singleton (Slicer) – 48.613
6. 14. Lawrie Howlett/Karen Howlett (Drop Bear) – 50.334
7. 29B. Tyler O’Day/Xavier Jackson (Agro-Vation) – 50.921
8. 370. Mike Hessell/Ruauri Crilly (Borrowed Time) – 52.254
9. 777. Matt Riley/James McCarron (Twisted) – ww
10. 77. Darren Pollard/Jess Pollard (Disturbed) – DNS
11. 29A. Ron O’Day/Paris O’Day (Agro-Vation) – DNS
12. 269. Noel Verning/Nathan Garrett (Quiet Time) – DNQ

—————————————————————–

2022 Australian V8 Superboats Championships presented by Penrite – Series Points
Unlimited Superboat (after round one of seven)
1. Phonsy Mullan (RAMJET) – 36-points, 2. Scott Krause (KAOS) – 33, 3. Glenn Roberts (Blown Budget) – 30, 4. Tremayne Jukes (The Girlfriend) – 28, 5. Rob Coley (Poison Ivy) – 26, 6. Daryl Hutton (Phoenix Lubricants) – 24, 7. Chris Edmonds (Yippee Ki-Yay) – 22

400-Class (Group A) (after round one of seven) – PROVISIONAL
1. Jody Ely (Rampage) – 36-points, 2. Justin Roylance (Outlaw67) – 33, 3. Brendan Doyle (PULSE) – 30, 4. Danny Knappick (Tuff’n Up) – 28, 5. Daniel Warburton (Team Attitude) – 26, 6. Brett Thornton (Still Obsessed) – 24

LS-Class (after round one of seven)
1. Bastian Mullan (Ripshift) – 36-points, 2. Matt Malthouse (NoodNutz Racing) – 33, 3. Kyle Elphinstone (Blackout Racing) – 30, 4. Lawrie Howlett (Drop Bear) – 28, 5. Nate Mullan (Ripshift) – 26, 6. Paul Hill (Slicer) – 24, 7. Tyler O’Day (Agro-Vation) – 22, 8. Mike Hessell (Borrowed Time) – 20, 9. Matt Riley (Toe Cutter) – 18, 10. Darren Pollard (Disturbed) – 16, 11. Ron O’Day (Agro-Vation) – 14, 12. Noel Verning (Quiet Time) – 0, 13. Rodney Norton (Hot Shot) – 0

Junior Development (after round one of seven)
1. Koby Bourke (Lil Psycho) – 36-points, 2. Connor Smith (Lil Psycho) – 33

—————————————————————–

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

About Penrite
Founded in Melbourne in 1926 by – then – 16-year old Les Mecoles, Penrite Oil utilised high-quality lubricants from Pennsylvania [USA] base stocks, hence the name ‘Pen’ from the base stock and ‘rite’ for the right oil.

In 1979, due to ill health, Les sold the company to John and Margaret Dymond. A mechanical engineer by trade and a car enthusiast at heart, John rapidly expanded the Penrite range of products. His technical background and commitment to quality ensured that Penrite continued to produce the highest quality products becoming the market leader in Australian oil and lubricants.

90 years on from those early beginnings the Dymond family have built Penrite into one of Australia’s most prominent and recognised brands.

The iconic Australian-made and owned lubricants company has a simple philosophy: ‘the right product for the right application’.

Penrite Oil Company produces a large range of high quality products suited to the Australian conditions including the exciting 10 Tenths Racing Oils range which offers a superior package of performance and protection for both competition and high-performance engines.

For more information about the extensive range of Penrite Oils available, visit www.penriteoil.com.au

For more information on the Australian V8 Superboat Championships, please visit https://www.v8superboats.com.au
http://www.facebook.com/V8Superboats
http://www.instagram.com/australian_v8_superboats
https://www.tiktok.com/@australianv8superboats
#V8Superboats

Search

recent post