From the immortal words of John McClane in the popular ‘Die Hard’ movies, LS-Class graduate Chris Edmonds is in for the ride of his life at Keith for the final round of the 2021 Penrite Australian V8 Superboats Championship, the expat New Zealander campaigning a new Unlimited Superboat package – the appropriately named ‘Yippee KiYay’..
Whilst it would be no surprise that Edmonds would arrive with yet another V8 Superboat project, this boat actually has a strong heritage in the sport, although in the past it was wearing the colours of ‘Kamikazi’ – also an appropriate name for the ‘Stinger’ hull formerly owned by Mildura’s Andrew Page. Since Cabarita’s washed out fourth round, the supercharged 427ci Chev powered machine has changed hands, with Edmonds set to debut the boat at Keith this weekend.
“When it came up [for sale], I had a good long think about it, and thought – well, why the hell not,” Edmonds explained.
The former 400-Class World#2 made his return to the sport last year after a 20-year sabbatical to pursue family and business, returning to the new LS-Class with an Aitchison hull and jet unit package, having taken over the Aitchison business in Australia from founder Kevin Aitchson, the ‘Solid Gold’ name on the side of the boat a throwback to Aitchison’s days as a competitor.
After the long mid-season pandemic break, Edmonds returned to Cabarita having graduated to the Unlimited category, although with a backup engine unit, his planned primary powerplant – a twin-turbo LS1 – still undergoing development, his choice of replacement.. Slade Stanley’s secondary engine, which had also been under development – a supercharged LSA engine with something around 1000 horsepower.
Most ‘normal’ people would have been happy to focus on developing their new package for the forthcoming season, but not so Edmonds, who after some quick calculations, decided to take ‘Kamikazi’ off Pagey’s hands, the series part-timer having decided to call time on his V8 Superboat career.
“Pagey will be at Keith for the handover and to give me some tips, but with 1800-2000 horsepower on tap, I’m under no illusions that it’s going to be easy to handle, especially given the history of the boat,” Edmonds admitted. “From what I understand, it’s spent a fair amount of time trying to kill each of it’s previous owners, so I think there might be a fair amount of lion-taming to contend with before I can actually start investigating the limits of the engine..”
Whilst the new look ‘Yippee-Ki-Yay’ will see Edmonds through to the end of the current season, he couldn’t confirm what he’d be driving in season 2022.
“The twin-turbo project is close to being completed, so we’ll be doing some testing on the water with that, and obviously we have some good data from Cabarita last time out with the LSA. We’ll just go away, have a look at what we have in the shed then work out what could be best for the season ahead, although at least now – like some of our Unlimited rivals – if we strike any setbacks, we have no shortage of bits to keep racing!!”