The final round of the 2022 Australian V8 Superboats Championsip presented by Penrite will be contested at ‘Spitwater Arena’ in Keith, South Australia, coming to a conclusion at the very event that helped establish the circuit which has become the new world standard in the sport of Jetboating as part of the popular Keith Diesel & Dirt Derby, an event which will also come to it’s conclusion this weekend after a decade of success.
Fortunately for the sport, the end of the Diesel & Dirt Derby (for the moment at least), will not signal the end of the sport’s association with ‘Spitwater Arena’, the draft 2023/24 calendar proposing two more events at Keith over the coming 12 months, and despite closing out the current season – where two titles have already been decided – this weekend we’re going to see a season-high 40 entries across all four classes.
LS-Class not surprisingly leads the way with an impressive 18 entries, led by newly crowned Champion Bastian Mullan, the teenager locking away back-to-back titles last time out at Griffith, but whilst he doesn’t need to win this round, he will want to continue his unbeaten run of wins and use his experience to help his younger brother Nate seal a place alongside him on the Championship podium.
For their title rival Kyle Elphinstone, he will be missing from the field at Keith having submarined the ‘Blackout Racing’ machine in dramatic fashion during the final at Griffith, engine damage sidelining the 2019 Champion’s primary ride, but he will be in the field, whilst for Nate Mullan, he needs another strong run to close out his season and lock out the final step of the podium, but he’ll need to keep one eye on hometown hero Matt Malthouse and on Tyler O’Day.
400-Class is where the action will be this weekend, with title rivals Brendan Doyle and Jody Ely locked in a terrific battle for their maiden Championship victory, the two great mates entering the round effectively even on points (using the one dropped round points system), so whichever of the two finishes higher during the elimination finals, they will be Champion!
And whilst Unlimited Superboat has already fallen to the reigning champion, Daryl Hutton will be looking to break Phonsy Mullan’s winning streak, the expat Kiwi joined again by boat-owner Chris Edmonds who himself will be looking for a solid result as he looks to graduate onto the final step of the Championship podium.
With the 2022 title battle concluded last time out at Griffith, Phonsy Mullan returns to Keith as a nine-time Australian Champion, whilst Daryl Hutton too has locked in P2 for the current season, but that won’t stop the two of them reigniting their outright battle, Hutton keen to break Mullan’s winning streak which started 12 months ago at ‘Spitwater Arena’.
In the six-week break since Griffith, the ‘Hazardous’ boat has undergone some maintenance work and in the process lost a few pounds, the iconic ex-Slade Stanley machine having lost a cylinder last time out at Griffith prompting a quick rebuild by ‘JRE Race Engines’, in the process they feel they’ve found a little extra performance to take the fight to Mullan.
Whilst the outright battle for round victory will attract plenty of attention, the Championship battle is still well and truly alive with the fight over the final place on the podium a hotly contested affair.
Currently, V8 Superboats veteran Glenn Roberts holds P3 after a super consistent season, but he comes into Keith in the cross-hairs of Scott Krause and Chris Edmonds.
Roberts’ mission is simple – beat both his rivals across the weekend, something he has shown he’s more than capable of achieving – but the numbers show it’s a little more complicated!
Chris Edmonds has emerged over recent rounds as a podium contender, but he’d need to win with Roberts finishing fourth or worse in order to claim the position so it could be a big ask, Edmonds needing to make up more than 12 points on his rival, whilst for Scott Krause, he too is a strong contender provided he finishes ahead of Roberts in the elimination finals!
They won’t be the only show in town either, with the return of two former stars of the Championship – Tremayne Jukes and Tyler Finch.
Jukes has turned a number of laps this season in various boats, but has finally returned to the seat of his beloved ‘MANIAC’, the twin-turbo 475ci small-block Chev powered ‘Stingray’ he used to push Phonsy Mullan all the way to the 2017 Championship, the multiple Unlimited race winner having defeated Mullan for the round win during Keith’s first ever event the same year.
There’s been a lot of water under the bridge since the heady days of Jukes winning outright, so he’s quick to point out that the team have some work to do if they’re going to shake the tree, but as one of the most popular and exciting drivers in the sport, he’ll certainly make his presence felt, as will the boat’s former owner Tyler Finch (well, Dean Finch owned the boat, but you get the gist).
Finch will be back too, but unlike Jukes he hasn’t been behind the wheel since November last year, but as a podium finisher at ‘Spitwater Arena’ 12-months ago, he – like Jukes – will be in a position to shake up the established order.
Another returning driver who is intent on shaking up the outright order is New Zealander Rob Coley, the ‘Poison Ivy’ pilot keen to make amends for Daryl Hutton’s recent Unlimited victory in New Zealand and Phonsy Mullan’s status as World Champion to return the favour and go after another win on Australian soil, although it has been a long time between drinks for the Kiwi.
Coley isn’t the only one though that’s capable of causing a podium upset, fellow ‘Sprintec’ driver Sam Everingham proved last time out at Griffith that with a good boat and a lot of intent, that you can never be discounted, and that led him to second on arguably the toughest circuit of them all, he will definitely be one to keep an eye on this weekend, as will West Australian Darrin Jones.
Jones and navigator Shane Hammer hail from Australia’s West where they are regular features in the West Coast Jet Sprint Club Championship, the duo notorious though for a massive crash they suffered during an event in mid-February that was televised nationally. Fortunately despite a dramatic double roll-over the turbo-Toyota powered ‘Mackraft’ suffered little ill-effect and was sent east for their first sojourn in the Penrite Series.
400-CLASS (International Group A)
With the LS-Class and Unlimited titles already locked away for the current season, all eyes will be on the battle for the 400-Class title between great mates and fierce rivals Brendan Doyle and Jody Ely.
Ely started the season as favourite after early setbacks for reigning title-holder Justin Roylance, setbacks which ultimately sidelined the ‘Outlaw’ driver leaving Ely free to walk away to back-to-back victories to kick off the season.
By Keith in March though Brendan Doyle made his intentions felt, putting the new Australian-made ‘PULSE’ hull on the top step of the podium for his first ever V8 Superboats victory, surprising all in the field. Proving he was no one-trick pony, Doyle then went on to win two more victories to arrive at his hoodoo circuit with an opportunity to put the Championship out of Ely’s reach.
Ely though was well aware of the points situation and it was he that charged to his third win of the year at Griffith putting the two rivals neck-and-neck in the Championship hunt, leaving the outright result of the Keith round to settle the 2022 Championship!
Danny Knappick will return to Keith with his maiden Championship podium in sight in just his second year in the sport, the ‘KMC Performance’ boss will have plenty on his plate at Keith though, with 2019 LS-Class Champion Kyle Elphinstone joining him for the round to impart some of his experience with a ‘Sprintec’ hull in an effort to help Knappick fast-track the performance of the new ‘Tuff’n’Up’ machine.
After claiming his maiden podium at Temora during round four back in November, Hugh Gilchrist has had a less than ideal relationship with his new ‘MATTRIX’ machine, the boat sidelined early at Griffith with ignition failure, but with help from new team-mate Tremayne Jukes, he’s hoping to be able to take a big step forward at Keith and shake the top six.
Another looking to return to the podium will be Darrin Kesper, who like Gilchrist achieved the feat during round four, although both will be faced with returning former 350-Class Champion Andrew Medlicott in ‘Gone Nutz’ and another graduate from the LS-Class, Goondiwindi’s Noel Verning.
Like Elphinstone, Verning suffered a big off at Griffith, in the process sinking the ‘Quiet Time’ machine in the channel, ingesting a significant amount of water into the engine. With his LS-Class powerplant sidelined he turned to one of two backup packages he has invested in this season, the ex-Brett Thornton 400-Class ‘Stingray’. With some modifications still to be made to his 400-Class machine, Verning opted to swap the engine into his original hull (also a former Thornton boat) for his debut in the category this weekend, one race ahead of his intended progression into the tightly regulated UIM-sanctioned category.
With Doyle coming back to the venue at which he first discovered the sport, and won his first ever final, you could argue that he starts favourite, but experience counts, and with the chance of making it three ‘GM Motorsport’ supported teams on the top step of the senior podiums, you could guarantee that Phonsy Mullan and his team will be doing everything they can to assist Ely in earning that coveted #1 title.
With the Championship already wrapped up, with position one and two locked into the history books, the focus turns very much to the battle for the bottom step of the podium, with Nate Mullan, Tyler O’Day and reigning AUS#3 Matt Malthouse locked in a great battle for the silverware.
Currently the younger of the Mullan brothers holds the position with a relatively comfortable nine point margin, but once the dropped-round scenario comes into play, things get a little more interesting, although the advantage swings very much in Mullan’s favour.
Having missed the Griffith round, Matt Malthouse has nothing to lose – either logistically or figuratively – the Keith local and former round winner on his home track will be looking for a strong close to the season after a lacklustre result in round five thanks to an electrical issue, but he effectively needs to win with Mullan finishing fifth or worse if he wants to flip the order.
For O’Day – who has been one of the sensations of the season to date with his ‘win-it-or-bin-it’ approach – his job will be another step harder, he’d need to win the final and hope that Mullan finishes no better than ninth, should he fail to win, then for every position further back he falls, Mullan would need to drop back another two or three. But, as we’ve seen in the past, nothing is ever a certainty in V8 Superboats!
Of the remainder of the field there is no shortage of stories..
The pace of Jim Beaman and Luke Walters last time out was impressive, the pair battling Nate Mullan and Tyler O’Day for a position in the final before all three fell foul of the challenging Griffith circuit, O’Day keeping the boat in the water (but only just), whilst his rivals both finished in the barriers, both teams incurring some maintenance work ahead of the final.
For ‘Mr Excitement’ Mike Hessell, his days of entertaining the many fans who attend V8 Superboats rounds could be at an end, the expat Kiwi taking delivery of his ‘new’ ex-Justin Roylance Championship winning ‘Jetspeed’ just in time for the season finale, a boat with a great pedigree (ignoring it’s big exit last October at Keith), Hessell might finally have the tools he needs to take the fight to his life-long rival Luke Walters..
Throw in a resurgent Lawrie Howlett, who will be looking for a chance to return to his early season form at Cabarita, the returning Ron O’Day, Rob Johnston, Lance Edmonds and Paul Hill, and you have any number of drivers capable of making the final six, but they’re not alone.
The ’Disturbed Racing Team’ returns with not one but three entrants and two boats, the three boat team only missing boat owner Darren Pollard’s ‘Disturbed’ but whilst the boat is sidelined, Pollard will make a welcome return to the wheel as B-driver alongside Jade Atchison, whilst another former team driver will debut his own boat, James Machan finally unveiling ‘Toxicity’ in full Disturbed team colours.
Mitch Malthouse also makes a welcome return, the second of the ‘Nood Nutz’ drivers looking to make an impression at home, whilst fellow B-driver Karen Howlett is looking forward to making her debut at Keith after electing to swap sides with husband Lawrie mid-season, the pair sharing the driving and navigating duties for the third time this season.
And after completing his Keith debut last October with the widest smile in the paddock, Rodney Norton returns to ‘Spitwater Arena’ with Pam Moran again alongside for what will be great preparation for the coming 2023/2024 season.
Like 400-Class the 2022 Junior Development title has come down to the final round with reigning Champion Koby Bourke and title rival Connor Smith locked into a great battle for the Championship, a battle which will be settled come Saturday afternoon.
On form Bourke will be difficult to beat, but head-to-head across the last two rounds Smith has emerged victorious. The points show Smith comfortably ahead thanks to the absence of Bourke during the October round at ‘Spitwater Arena’, but taking into account the dropped-round rule the pair are locked on exactly the same score – in shades of the 400-Class battle.
Bottom line is that the Champion will be the highest finishing driver of the pair in the final, but whilst they will be focussed on battling each other, they’ll have to keep one eye on the third member of the team, Eliza Roylance who has the distinction of winning her very first event in the category.. At Keith, last October!
As always, the Keith round will be a daytime event, running from 8:10am Saturday morning (practice) through till around 5:20pm. For those that can’t be at Spitwater Arena, the action will be streamed LIVE on YouTube (the link will be posted on www.facebook.com/V8Superboats) and Facebook from 11:30am, whilst a post-produced highlights package will be released on 7mate, and then 7+ immediately following (search V8 Superboats on 7+ at any stage for replays of the earlier rounds of the 2022 season). Tickets are available at the gate or via; https://bit.ly/3XRx8Lg
Rnd#7 [FINAL] 2022 Australian V8 Superboats Championship presented by Penrite
Spitwater Arena, Keith, South Australia
25 March, 2023
1. Phonsy Mullan/Leigh Stewart (RAMJET)
15. Tremayne Jukes (MANIAC)
28A. Daryl Hutton/Mick Parry (Hazardous)
28B. Chris Edmonds/Jamie Maroney (Hazardous)
32. Tyler Finch/Jarrod Ballard (Loose Cannon)
37. Scott Krause/Rachel Parsons (KAOS)
41. Sam Everingham/Archie Watts (Excalibur)
111. Rob Coley/Scott Munro [NZ] (Poison Ivy)
214. Simon Doyle/Xander Doyle (The Girlfriend)
244. Darrin Jones/Shane Hammer (Yoda)
888. Glenn Roberts/Tiarna McGifford (Blown Budget)
400-CLASS (GROUP A)
2. Jody Ely/Brooke Tanner (Rampage)
4. Brendan Doyle/Rory Doyle (PULSE)
6. Andrew Medlicott/Jason Anderson (Gone Nutz)
43. Darrin Kesper/Jake O’Day (Let’s Boogie)
45A. Danny Knappick/Darren Tickell (Tuff’N’Up)
45B. Kyle Elphinstone/Jacob Bellamy (Tuff’N’Up)
269. Noel Verning/Nathan Garrett (Quiet Time)
863. Hugh Gilchrist/Narelle Pellow-Djukic (Mattrix)
1A. Bastian Mullan/Tahleah James (RIPSHIFT)
1B. Nate Mullan/Jayden Vella (RIPSHIFT)
14A. Lawrie Howlett/Karen Howlett (Drop Bear)
14B. Karen Howlett/Lawrie Howlett (Drop Bear)
29A. Ron O’Day/Paris O’Day (Agro-Vation)
29B. Tyler O’Day/Xavier Jackson (Agro-Vation)
46. Jim Beaman/Erin Collins (JB Racing)
69A. Matt Malthouse/Leighton Collins (Nood Nutz Racing)
69B. Mitch Malthouse/Harrison Collins (Nood Nutz Racing)
114. Rob Johnston/Grant Dodd (Almost There)
212. Lance Edmonds/Peter Sendy (Solid Gold)
267. Rodney Norton/Pam Moran (Hot Shot)
300. Luke Walters/Juzzi Calvert (The Spartan)
370. Mike Hessell/Laura Stevens (Borrowed Time)
512. Paul Hill/ Alex Singleton (Slicer)
777A. Jade Atchison/Erin Kearney (Twisted)
777B. Darren Pollard/Steve Muhvich (Twisted)
7777. James Machan/Emma Barry (Toxicity)
97A. Koby Bourke (Lil Psycho)
97B. Connor Smith (Lil Psycho)
97C. Eliza Roylance (Lil Pyscho)
RND#7 – Saturday, 25 March; (ACDT)
8:10am – practice laps commence
9:30am – Qualifying #1 (80-minutes)
10:50am – Qualifying #2 (80-minutes)
12:10pm – Qualifying #3 (80-minutes)
1:30pm – Qualifying #4 (80-minutes)
3:15pm – Jnr. Dev FINAL + Top 12 Finals (LS-Class/400-Class/Unlimited)
4:25pm – Top 6 Final (LS-Class/400-Class/Unlimited)
5:05pm – FINALS (LS-Class/400-Class/Unlimited)
5:20pm – Racing Concludes
History; V8 Superboats and Keith
Rnd#3 2022 Australian V8 Superboats Championship presented by Penrite
08 October, 2022
TOP 3 FINAL
1. 23. Phonsy Mullan/Leigh Stuart (RAMJET) – 48.374
2. 28. Daryl Hutton/Mick Parry (Hazardous) – 50.525
3. 888. Glenn Roberts/Daniel Kelly (Blown Budget) – 1:14.533
400-Class (Group A)
1. 4. Brendan Doyle/Rory Doyle (PULSE) – 53.552
2. 33. Jody Ely/Jessica Webb (Rampage) – 54.680
3. 45. Danny Knappick/Darren Tickell (Tuff’n Up) – 59.397
1. 1A. Bastian Mullan/Tahleah James (RIPSHIFT) – 52.779
2. 26. Daniel Salter/Mitchell Hade (The Hustler) – 54.600
3 219. Kyle Elphinstone/Jacob Bellamy (Blackout Racing) – 1:40.835
1. 97C. Eliza Roylance (Lil Pyscho) – 1:51.508
2. 97B. Connor Smith (Lil Pyscho) – ww
* different circuit rotation to other classes
2021 Australian V8 Superboats Championship – Rnd#5 [FINAL]
26 March, 2022
1. 23. Phonsy Mullan/Leigh Stuart (RAMJET) – 42.790
2. 28. Daryl Hutton/Mick Parry (Phoenix Lubricants) – 44.541
3. 32. Tyler Finch/Jarrod Ballard (Loose Cannon) – 45.810
400-Class (Group A)
1. 67. Justin Roylance/Tracey Little (Outlaw67) – 45.925
2. 4. Tremayne Jukes/Kimberley Holmes (PULSE) – 46.434
3. 95. Mark Garlick/Hugh Gilchrist (Grumpy On Edge) – 48.914
1. 24. Bastian Mullan/Ellen Arnold (RIPSHIFT) – 46.179
2. 26. Daniel Salter/Mitchell Hade (The Hustler) – 46.193
3. 219. Kyle Elphinstone/Jacob Bellamy (Blackout Racing) – 47.707
1. 97. Koby Bourke (Lil Pyscho) – 42.900*
* different circuit rotation to other classes
2021 Australian V8 Superboats Championship – Rnd#1
27 March, 2021
1. 08. Slade Stanley/Vanessa Stanley (Hazardous) – 45.207
2. 23. Phonsy Mullan/Leigh Stuart (RAMJET) – 47.019
3. 37. Scott Krause/Rachel Parsons (KAOS) – 48.995
400-Class (Group A)
1. 67. Justin Roylance/Michelle Hodge (Outlaw67) – 50.488
2. 33. Jody Ely/Greg Blaz (Rampage) – 50.987
1. 69A. Matt Malthouse/Leighton Collins (NoodNutz Racing) – 52.602
2. 22B. Nate Mullan/Coda Kolak (Ripshift) – DNF
3. 22A. Bastian Mullan/Josh Borg (Ripshift) – DNF
2019 Australian V8 Superboats Championship – Rnd#1
23 March, 2019
1. Mick Carroll (Excalibur) – 48.707
2. Scott Krause (True Blue) – 49.671
3. Phonsy Mullan (RAMJET) – DNF
400-Class (Group A)
1. Paul Kelly (4Zero Racing) – 50.664
2. Jody Ely (Rampage) – 51.347
3. Daniel Salter (The Hustler) – 52.055
1. Kyle Elphinstone (Blackout Racing) – DNF
2018 UIM World Series – Rnd#1
27-28 October, 2018
1. Peter Caughey (Sprintec) – 49.247
2. Phonsy Mullan (RAMJET) – 50.707
3. Nick Berryman (NZ Riverjet) – 51.099
400-Class (Group A)
1. Ollie Silverton (PSP Racing) – 52.212
2. Ross Travers (Radioactive) – 54.147
3. Justin Roylance (Outlaw67) – 54.982
2018 Australian V8 Superboats Championship
24 March, 2018
1. Scott Krause (KAOS) – 49.667
2. Rachel Swarts (All Torque) – 53.308
3. Ivan Safranek (Katana) – ww
400-Class (Group A)
1. Paul Kelly (4Zero Racing) – 52.760
2. Mark Garlick (Grumpy) – 53.478
3. Justin Roylance (Outlaw67) – 54.113
2017 Australian V8 Superboats Championship
25 March, 2017
1. Tremayne Jukes (Maniac) – 48.327
2. Phonsy Mullan (RAMJET) – 48.912
3. Ted Sygidus (Frankenzstain) – 51.049
400-Class (Group A)
1. Ben Hathaway (Weapon) – 53.026
2. Mark Garlick (Grumpy) – 54.414
3. Brett Thornton (2Obsessed) – 55.657
2022 Australian V8 Superboats Championships presented by Penrite – Series Points
Unlimited Superboat (after round six of seven)
1. Phonsy Mullan (RAMJET) – 216-points, 2. Daryl Hutton (Phoenix Lubricants) – 183, 3. Glenn Roberts (Blown Budget) – 160, 4. Chris Edmonds (Non-Hazardous) – 148, 5. Scott Krause (KAOS) – 135, 6. Rob Coley (Poison Ivy) – 109, 7. Simon Doyle (The Girlfriend) – 68, 8. Sam Everingham (Excalibur) – 61, 9. Tremayne Jukes (The Girlfriend) – 54, 10. Tyler Finch (Loose Cannon) – 30
400-Class (Group A) (after round six of seven)
1. Brendan Doyle (PULSE) – 204-points, 2. Jody Ely (Rampage) – 200, 3. Danny Knappick (Tuff’n Up) – 172, 4. Darrin Kesper (Let’s Boogie) – 128, 5. Hugh Gilchrist (Mattrix) – 83, 6. Justin Roylance (Outlaw67) – 81, 7. Daniel Warburton (Team Attitude) – 76, 8. Greg Harriman (Apache) – 56, 9. Paul Kelly (4Zero) – 52, 10. Tremayne Jukes (Apache) – 28, 11. Brett Thornton (Still Obsessed) – 24
LS-Class (after round six of seven)
1. Bastian Mullan (Ripshift) – 216-points, 2. Kyle Elphinstone (Blackout Racing) – 189, 3. Nate Mullan (Ripshift) – 161, 4. Tyler O’Day (Agro-Vation) – 152, 5. Matt Malthouse (NoodNutz Racing) – 138, 6. Lawrie Howlett (Drop Bear) – 134, 7. Paul Hill (Slicer) – 120, 8. Mike Hessell (Borrowed Time) – 106, 9. Jim Beaman (JB Racing) – 92, 10. Noel Verning (Quiet Time) – 90, 11. Ron O’Day (Agro-Vation) – 58, 12. Luke Walters (The Spartan) – 52, 13. Rob Johnston (Almost There) – 50, 14. Jade Atchison (Twisted) – 46, 15. Lance Edmonds (Solid Gold) – 40, 16. Matt Riley (Toe Cutter) – 18, 17. Darren Pollard (Disturbed) – 16, 17. Mitch Malthouse (NoodNutz Racing) – 16, 17. Karen Howlett (Drop Bear) – 16, 20. James Machan (Twisted) – 2
Junior Development (after round six of seven)
1. Connor Smith (Lil Psycho) – 204-points, 2. Koby Bourke (Lil Psycho) – 171, 3. Eliza Roylance (Lil Pyscho) – 99
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
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For more information on the Australian V8 Superboat Championships, please visit https://www.v8superboats.com.au