After a lengthy mid-season break, Australia’s best V8 Superboat jet sprint drivers will be back in action this weekend at Round Mountain Raceway at Cabarita Beach on the north coast of New South Wales, a demanding venue popular with both drivers and fans. A season-high 30 teams are entered for the two-race fourth round of the season.
Once again, three-time Unlimited Superboat champion Phonsy Mullan has proven unstoppable this season. But there have been a number of drivers this year who have pushed the four-time national champion to dig deeper, and there is expected to be an even greater depth of competition for the dominant Victorian this weekend. All the leading teams, with the exception of former world champion Slade Stanley—who was once more forced to delay his debut with a new boat after another technical setback—are expected to compete.
Heading into the Cabarita Beach event, Phonsy Mullan remains the favorite in the Unlimited class. Photos courtesy/copyright Russell Puckeridge/Pureart Creative Images.
The event will see the return of one of the most feared Unlimited Superboats in the world, with Victoria’s Tremayne Jukes taking delivery recently of the famed Loose Cannon, a boat built and developed by former Australian champion Dean Finch.
With a fearless reputation when it comes to man-handling a 1,000-plus horsepower Unlimited boat around a circuit, Jukes is expected to be the wildcard in the Unlimited field this weekend, and despite announcing his plans to take a cautious approach to the weekend, he openly admits that once the flag falls plans are often forgotten.
Just 12-months ago the Cabarita event provided one of the most historic moments in V8 Superboats history after Adelaide’s Tony Giustozzi had a big moment on the run back up the home straight, coming to an end upside down in front of the big local crowd. It wasn’t the biggest V8 Superboats crash we’d ever seen, nor the biggest for the Excalibur team, but Giustozzi’s maniacal laughing as the boat came to a stop made him an overnight Internet sensation with almost 25-million views. Footage was also played one two national news broadcasts to the delight of hundreds of thousands of viewers.
While Giuztozzi and team-mate Mick Carroll will be keen not to repeat the incident this weekend, both have shown to be fearless competitors and both are capable of making the Unlimited podium in their naturally-aspirated 510-cubic-inch Chevrolet V8 powered Sprintec.
Throw in West Australian star Jamie Welch in his similarly powered machine and two-time Australian champion Daryl Hutton and you’d expect plenty of fireworks, but that’s without considering the dual boats from former 400-Class champions Ted and Darek Sygidus.
The two Sygidus brothers are expected to share their monstrous 680ci V8 powered Frnkenzstain, while former round winner Rob Coley will campaign the team’s “junior: boat with its 510-cubic-inch naturally-aspirated powerplant. The competitive New Zealander always one to thrill the crowd.
Although the Unlimited class always attracts plenty of attention, the Group A [400 Class] class, too, will have the crowd on its feet, especially with the return of a past champion. Former 350 Class champ Daniel James will return to the fold with a fresh new JRE-built 410-cubic-inch powerplant, but the popular Victorian will have his work cut out, with fellow former 350 Class champions—Queensland locals—Brooke Lucas and Brett Thornton expected to be the pace-setters this weekend.
Local knowledge always contributes to the result at Cabarita, and with a number of Tweed Coast Jet Sprint Club local events run at Round Monutain Raceway in recent months, there are a number of Queensland boats expected to feature at the top of the timesheets.
The next race (and final round) for the 2016 Australian Superboat Championships is Sept. 3-4, Tweed Coast, New South Wales.