With a huge title fight brewing in both the Unlimited Superboat and the 400 classes, the Penrite Australian V8 Superboats Championship turns to the halfway mark of the season with the running of the third round at Kennards Hire Park in Temora, New South Wales, Australia.
Local driver Scott Krause is hoping to put on a good show for the fans in Temora for the Australian V8 Superboats Championship this weekend. Photos courtesy/copyright Russell Puckeridge/Pureart Creative Images
For local fans, the Temora round, which features unique day/night format, will be a chance to support and cheer on local hero Scott Krause, the KAOS pilot coming into the event as the points leader in the Unlimited Superboat class having taken back-to-back wins this season against the might of six-time Australian champion Phonsy Mullan. You can watch the race live in the video display above or catch up on the action at www.facebook.com/V8Superboats.
Mullan has been plagued by a series of technical issues across the opening two events, but even despite the slow start to the season, Krause has been the revelation of the year, matching Mullan for pace at every challenge, and if the man responsible for putting Krause’s new package together—Wagga’s former world champion Slade Stanley—is any indication, Krause still has plenty left in reserve.
Whilst the title fight in the Unlimited class has everyone talking, the battle in the CTVS 400 class is no less intense. In fact, it is shaping up to be the battle of the year as reigning champion Ben Hathaway has a number of title challengers, including new points leader Paul Kelly, who won the last race in Keith. Joined by former champions Mark Garlick and Brett Thornton, brothers Justin and Mitch Roylance, and emerging star Jody Ely, there are as many as seven teams in contention for the title.
Krause will be looking to make his home round a third-straight victory and extend his championship points advantage over reigning title holder Mullan, who is juggling two packages at present and development limitations—mostly time-related—are creating consistency challenges, something which the renowned engine builder has been able to avoid in past seasons. Coming into Temora, Mullan hasn’t decided whether to campaign his “new” naturally-aspirated 527-cubic-inch LS-powered package or his 2017 title-winning hull with his new twin-turbo LS unit, both of which he has campaigned this year, and both of which are capable of challenging Krause.
Former national champions Ted and Darek Sygidus, with their mighty 680ci big-block powered Frankensztain, are looking to get their 2018 program on track ahead of the season-ending World Series. Despite the setback at Keith, they are convinced the new New Zealand podium finishing package is capable of taking the fight to the points leaders.
Daryl Hutton is another one looking to step things up ahead of the Worlds. The two-time Australian champion finally found some pace from in his troublesome Stinger hull after another dramatic relocation of weight, the Keith event providing some light in what has been a lengthy and dark tunnel of development across more than two seasons.
Whilst Krause and Mullan are expected to trade blows at the top of the timesheets, there will be no shortage of challengers with the Sygidus brothers and Hutton expected to make their presence felt. Like the Sygidus boys, Paul Gaston suffered a setback at Keith and was an early retirement. With a package that was capable of the outright win at Temora last year, Gaston could be one to watch.
Keep an eye on Glenn “Spider” Roberts too in Blown Budget, the Victorian showing at Griffith that he is also a contender and he will certainly be amongst the drivers pushing for a place on the podium. New V8 Superboats recruit Michael Cunningham will make his Temora debut in the AusPro Logistics machine that served former champion Phil Dixon so well and could surprise a few with a package renowned for its handling and ability to negotiate the Temora circuit as well or better than many of its rivals, some of which have twice the horsepower.
Sadly the new Natwel package of Jamie and Cheryl Welch is again a non-starter at Temora, although the team is confident of an appearance in the second half of the season. The Mr. Excitement teammates Tony Giustozzi and Mick Carroll—arguably the most famous team in Superboats—are sitting out Temora due to a date clash, whilst Devo Racing’s Daniel deVoigt is missing the event because he and AFJSA Secretary Kaleena are celebrating the birth of their son, Drew.
CTVS 400 CLASS
After threatening to take the top spot during the season opener at Griffith, Paul Kelly carried through at Keith to claim his second ever 400-class victory, in the process taking the points lead.
He comes into Temora having failed to previously make the podium, while rivals Ben Hathaway and Mark Garlick have been regular podium finishers at Kennards Hire Park, which will certainly mix things up, especially as another former winner at Temora—2016 champion Brett Thornton—will be sitting out the third round.
Paul Kelly holds the CTVS 400 class lead heading into the third round of the Australian jet sprint series.
With Justin Roylance finally getting his 2018 campaign underway with a fantastic podium finish at Keith in the Spitwater Team Outlaw entry, and brother Mitch having won the opening round of the 2016 season at Temora ahead of a string of podium finishes at his ‘local’ circuit, there is no shortage of challengers for the top step, and no standout favorite.
Throw in multiple Australian champion Mark Garlick (Grumpy), who currently sits comfortably third in points, and Keith pace-setter Jody Ely (Rampage) and you have the potential for one of the best—and closest—400-Class fields in the history of the sport.
With Shane Loughnan (Vicious), former national champion Andrew Medlicott (Gone Nutz Again), Brad Marsden (Allcott Transformer), the returning David Moodie (Jackhammer) and the Pink Boots Racing pairing of Greg Harriman and Hugh Gilchrist also in the field, there will be no shortage of podium contenders to keep the crowd on their feet.
With the new LS Class slowly gaining momentum, reigning champion and Keith Unlimited Superboat guest driver (he finished incredibly on the podium in the elite class) Ivan Safranek leads the charge at Temora with new recruit Kyle Elphinstone looking to push the West Australian throughout the event.
The third round of the 2018 Penrite Australian V8 Superboat Championships will be contested Saturday afternoon at Kennards Hire Park in Temora, with qualifying rounds underway starting at 4 p.m., which for those you in the United States is 2 a.m. (EST) and 11 p.m. (PST). Along with the live stream, you can catch a range of interviews and videos via www.facebook.com/V8Superboats, where results and updates also will be posted.
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