For the sixth round this season, the Penrite V8 Superboat Championships delivered some incredible racing, with a number of contenders getting to within reach of the points leaders, but ultimately, by the time the finals were concluded, we were delivered a pretty clear indication of who would be crowned the 2019 champions.
As he had done all year, 400-Class points leader Paul Kelly claimed the top step of the podium, in the process claiming his sixth consecutive victory to be unbeatable in the title race heading into Cabarita’s final, the Queenslander though at one stage convinced he would suffer his first loss of the season after Justin Roylance topped the time sheets in the second final.
Likewise Slade Stanley continued his winning ways in the Unlimited Class, taking his fifth consecutive win to all but put the title out of reach, ending a winning streak that has lasted six years for 2018 World Champion Phonsy Mullan.
And despite a setback in the opening final, it looks all but certain that Kyle Elphinstone will be crowned 2019 LS-Class champion despite a second consecutive victory to Andrew Medlicott in the final.
As he had done at every prior round Slade Stanley set a blistering pace from the opening qualifier, although for the fans of the sport the good news was that reigning champion Phonsy Mullan had closed the gap to less than two seconds with both Scott Krause and Daryl Hutton hot on his heels promising a closer fight than we’d seen all season..
Stanley’s 39.058 set the trend for the round with the local driver maintaining that pace all the way through to the final, the closest anyone would get during the qualifiers was a 40.505 for Hutton, but by that stage Stanley had extended his advantage to a best in the five rounds of 38.304 – there was hope, although his rivals knew they weren’t there yet..
Local hero and co-Australian Champion Scott Krause was back in action showing few signs of the drama that saw him invert the boat at Griffith, although he discovered during an aborted run in round three that one of the blades had torn off inside the jet unit, whilst another was barely hanging on. With his only set of blades compromised, Krause appealed to his rivals, Glenn ‘Spider’ Roberts coming to his aid with a spare set which were no match to Krause’s jet unit, but allowed him to carry on, his pace defying the poor fit!
Krause recovered quickly to set the second fastest time in the fourth qualifier and third overall, whilst Phonsy Mullan was only able to make minor improvements before his own issues saw bent butterflies in the intakes, forcing a makeshift repair which ultimately cost the ‘RAMJET’ team some valuable laps on the water.
Daniel deVoigt continued his impressive pace to be fifth fastest ahead of Glenn Roberts who was struggling to find the performance he needed to apply pressure to the leaders and protect his championship position, whilst Starr Kopa was back in the thunderous supercharged ‘Wikid’ looking for more experience, his pace consistent once he’d perfected the rotation.
Despite failing to apply too much pressure to the leaders across the season to date, Brett Thornton showed the 400-Class field that the former champion could never be ruled out of the equation by topping the first two qualifiers, whilst Justin Roylance continued to push his claim on a future title by settling in close behind.
By the third qualifier though points leader Paul Kelly dialled himself in to find more than half a second, then another six tenths the following lap to lower the bar to a 42.698 and ultimately the fastest time of qualifying.
By the close of the five sessions Roylance was P2 but a full seven tenths of a second slower than Kelly, and just a tenth of a second clear of Thornton with Kelly’s title rival Ben Hathaway fourth a full second back from the ‘4Zero Racing’ machine – virtual light years in 400-Class terms..
Fifth fastest overall was reigning champion Mark Garlick who despite creeping ever closer was further back than he would have liked, whilst Jody Ely was working to dial himself back in, his best of a 44.305 coming on his final run at a circuit that he’d ‘owned’ just 12 months ago.
Greg Harriman was next best in the ongoing battle with team-mate Hugh Gilchrist, Gilchrist just seven tenths back, but comfortably clear of Darrin Kesper, Ron O’Day and the returning Mark Connolly.
With his maiden title looming, it was no surprise that Kyle Elphinstone would emerge fastest qualifier in the LS-Class, but he didn’t have things all his own way, Griffith round winner Andrew Medlicott setting the pace in the opening qualifier, whilst rising star Dwayne Mezzadri claimed the top time in Q4, but by the close of the five sessions it was Elphinstone on top with a best of 46.824 from Medlicott and Mezzadri.
Kyle Reynolds was again threatening to upstage the top three with the fourth fastest time but he was mere hundredths faster than Robert Westerink, whilst father Graham (Reynolds) was shadowing Lawrence Howlett for a position in the second final.
FINAL – TOP 12
Stanley suffered his only real setback of the weekend with the blustery wind conditions seeing him thrown slightly off line as he came back through cross-wash at the top of the circuit, the sudden drop in revs forcing the huge local crowd to immediately hold their collective breaths as he managed to skirt the bank and continue on the run, crossing the line more than 1.3-seconds slower than his best..
That might have proved an opportunity on any other day, but his rivals faced a similar scenario, Krause, Mullan and Hutton all within three tenths of a second, but all in the low 41s, Krause the closest despite unmatched blades in his jet unit, although the local driver was still 1.6-seconds down on Stanley’s time.
Daniel deVoigt claimed another win over Glenn Roberts to set the fifth fastest time in his twin-turbo LS machine, whilst Starr Kopa was the first boat eliminated despite another solid and consistent run.
Whilst the Unlimited field faced the wind, the 400-Class teams suffered from a storm of a different kind, Tropical Cyclone Kelly…. With the win in sight, Kelly pushed in the opening final to take even more time out of his best of the day, setting the mark at a 42.585.
You could see from the body language of his rivals that the time was a stretch too far for some, but for others it was a challenge, and a challenge they were willing to face head-on..
Brett Thornton was the first to fly the flag for the troops, the former champion just 45 one hundredths slower than Kelly with his best time of the night, whilst behind him Ben Hathaway and Justin Roylance kept tweaking their setup in an effort to breach Kelly’s advantage which was out now to more than a second.
Jody Ely was just under a second further back and 15 one hundredths quicker than Mark Garlick, giving them both a berth in the second final, whilst for Greg Harriman his strong return saw him out with a DNF, whilst for team-mate Hugh Gilchrist a navigational error scuppered his chance of a run in the top six. The two ‘Pink Boots Racing’ drivers joined by Ron O’Day, Darrin Kesper and Mark Connolly back on their trailers to watch the finals.
Whilst the Unlimited and 400-Class boats saw much of the same during their opening finals, the LS-Class provided the biggest upset of the day with a setback for Kyle Elphinstone seeing him fail to complete his lap, ending his night on the spot.
That opened the door for former 350-Class champion Andrew Medlicott who turned in another impressive lap to take the top spot, Dwayne Mezzadri shadowing him again just a quarter of a second slower, whilst Graham Reynolds stole son Kyle’s thunder in the battle of the two ‘Red Rum’ entries, Graham setting the third fastest time ahead of Kyle, with Robert Westerink and Lawrence Howlett joining them in the Top 6.
FINAL – TOP 6
As he had done in the opening final, Stanley was again delayed slightly in the second final by the swirling wind, but he managed to work his way back into the 38s, whilst behind him no-one else could break the 40-second barrier..
Phonsy Mullan was finally back into the 40s despite admitting that his current configuration was no match for Stanley’s outright pace, but he was doing everything he could to weather the storm from the twin-turbo machines of Krause and Hutton.
Krause ultimately went second fastest with a best of 40.356, whilst Hutton’s 41.214 fell six tenths short of Mullan’s best to force him out for the night, joining Daniel deVoigt who found a full second in the second final to card his best of the day – 42.955 – in the process moving to fifth in the championship. He’d needed to up the pace too with Glenn Roberts setting his fastest time of the day to improve a staggering 1.7-seconds in his final run.
With Kelly looking to be free and clear in 400-Class, Justin Roylance gave him arguably the biggest fright of the season, the Spitwater/Auto One liveried ‘Outlaw67’ machine turning in a staggering lap in the second final to shave more than a second off his previous best to come within eight one hundredths of a second of Kelly’s opening final time, but with Kelly turning just a 42.822, Roylance was classified P1 for the final..
With little separating their rivals in the battle for a place in the final three, Ben Hathaway dug deep to improve again, and he’d needed to, Brett Thornton though suffered a setback part way through the run to drop six tenths of a second, Hathaway progressing to the final by a mere three one hundredths of a second, Jody Ely just two tenths shy – it was that close!
Sadly that left Thornton, Ely and Mark Garlick out of the final, with Kelly scratching his head about how to combat the sudden surge from Justin Roylance.
With LS-Class points leader Kyle Elphinstone sitting on the bank, the chance for a new face to stand on the top step of the podium saw a great battle emerge between his rivals.
Having placed second far too often in recent rounds, Dwayne Mezzadri saw an opportunity to make his mark on the championship, going P1 with his quickest run of the night; 47.616. That caught Andrew Medlicott by surprise, the Griffith winner dropping two tenths on his Top 12 time, but he conceded he’d need a minor miracle to better Mezzadri’s lap.
That left the final position in the top three and again the Reynolds pairing were in the mix, but sadly for Graham, a navigational setback saw him complete the lap almost seven seconds slower than his Top 12 time, allowing an opportunity for Kyle to take the red boat into the final three – and he didn’t need a second invitation, his 48.706 the fastest run for the boat all night with a time just half a second shy of Medlicott.
FINAL – TOP 3
With his rivals pushing to within two seconds of his best, Slade Stanley wanted to close out the night with his fastest run of the night, again forcing the fans to draw breath, the blue ‘Hazardous08’ machine charging to a staggering 38.294 to put the top step of the podium out of question.
Scott Krause though tried, circulating with a best of 39.968 to be only the second boat to turn a sub-40-second lap, the Temora local all smiles despite the underpowered props he’d borrowed from Glenn Roberts. Phonsy Mullan too saw an improvement, the reigning World Champion carding his best of the night to fall just a tenth of a second shy of Krause in the process admitting that he had nothing to take to Stanley who he felt was the current world standard in the sport.
For Justin Roylance, he knew he needed to carry his Top 12 pace into the final and perhaps find some improvement, but the improvement came the way of ‘Hollywood’ – Paul Kelly turning in a staggering best of 42.266 to claim his sixth consecutive win and the 2019 400-Class title, with Roylance forced to settle for second ahead of Ben Hathaway.
There wasn’t a single driver or team in the pit area that didn’t offer their congratulations to the ‘4Zero’ team, Kelly himself shedding a tear or two as the moment he’d been working so hard to deliver dawned on him.
With a potential victory on the cards for Dwayne Mezzadri in the LS-Class, the ‘Unleashed’ driver charged around to an impressive 47.040, more than half a second faster than his previous best, but whilst it looked like he might card his first win of the year, Andrew Medlicott found his miracle, going well over a second faster than he had all night to shave 15 one hundredths off Mezzadri’s time to take his second win of the year.
Sadly for Kyle Reynolds his opportunity came to an end – upside down on the bank – part way around the circuit whilst on another impressive run, his lessons this year helping to build a more complete championship assault in 2020.
The Penrite Australian V8 Superboats Championships now heads back to the Tweed Coast on the north coast of New South Wales for the final round of the 2019 season with a two-day event across 16-17 November, an event that could see the best runs of the season now that the championships are all but decided.
Round 6 2019 Penrite V8 Superboat Championships Kennards Hire Park, Lake Centenary, Temora, NSW
FINAL RESULTS TOP 3 FINAL
1. 08. Slade Stanley/Vanessa Stanley (Hazardous) – 38.294
2. 01. Scott Krause/Rachel Parsons (KAOS) – 39.968
3. 1. Phonsy Mullan/Madeline Chorley (RAMJET) – 40.068
400-Class (Group A)
1. 40. Paul Kelly/Naomi Gow (4Zero Racing) – 42.266
2. 67. Justin Roylance/Michelle Hodge (Outlaw67) – 43.099
3. 2. Ben Hathaway/Lisa Oppes (Warren & Brown Tools Racing) – 43.123
1. 62. Andrew Medlicott/Phil Shead (Gone Nutz Again) – 46.888
2. 380. Dwayne Mezzadri/Mathew Wall (Unleashed) – 47.040
3. 17B. Kyle Reynolds/Brendon Young (Red Rum) – DNF
TOP 6 FINAL
1. 08. Slade Stanley/Vanessa Stanley (Hazardous) – 38.730
2. 01. Scott Krause/Rachel Parsons (KAOS) – 40.356
3. 1. Phonsy Mullan/Madeline Chorley (RAMJET) – 40.594
4. 28. Daryl Hutton/Mick Parry (Phoenix Lubricants) – 41.214
5. 86. Daniel deVoigt/Vicki Burrell (Devo Racing) – 42.955
6. 888. Glenn Roberts/Tiarna McGifford (Blown Budget) – 44.113
400-Class (Group A)
1. 67. Justin Roylance/Michelle Hodge (Outlaw67) – 42.661
2. 40. Paul Kelly/Naomi Gow (4Zero Racing) – 42.822
3. 2. Ben Hathaway/Lisa Oppes (Warren & Brown Tools Racing) – 43.633
4. 53. Brett Thornton/Lyn Thornton (2Obsessed) – 43.669
5. 33. Jody Ely/Greg Blaz (Rampage) – 43.889
6. 1. Mark Garlick/Kerry Garlick (Grumpy On Edge) – 44.464
1. 380. Dwayne Mezzadri/Mathew Wall (Unleashed) – 47.616
2. 62. Andrew Medlicott/Phil Shead (Gone Nutz Again) – 48.131
3. 17B. Kyle Reynolds/Brendon Young (Red Rum) – 48.706
4. 64. Robert Westerink/Ben Gillespie (The Contractor) – 51.803
5. 14. Lawrence Howlett/Karen Howlett (Drop Bear) – 53.068
6. 17A. Graham Reynolds/Chloe Reynolds (Red Rum) – 57.106
2019 Penrite Australian V8 Superboat Championships – Series Points (after round six of seven)
1. Slade Stanley (Hazardous) – 206-points, 2. Phonsy Mullan (RAMJET) – 179, 3. Glenn Roberts (Blown Budget) – 157, 4. Daryl Hutton (Phoenix Lubricants) – 153, 5. Daniel deVoigt (Devo Racing) – 136, 6. Mick Carroll (Excalibur) – 120, 7. Scott Krause (KAOS) – 116, 8. Rob Coley (Poison Ivy) – 107, 9. Michael Cunningham (True Blue) – 70, 10. Starr Kopa (Wikid) – 52, 11. Paul Burgess (Daly Transport) – 40, 12. Matt Foote (Wikid) – 0
400-Class (Group A)
1. Paul Kelly (4Zero Racing) – 216-points, 2. Ben Hathaway (Warren & Brown Tools Racing) – 174, 3. Brett Thornton (2Obsessed) – 166, 4. Justin Roylance (Outlaw67) – 158, 5. Mark Garlick (Grumpy on Edge) – 153, 6. Jody Ely (Rampage) – 147, 7. Greg Harriman (Pink Boots Racing) – 112, 8. Ron O’Day (Agro-vation) – 96, 9. Brendan Doyle (The Girlfriend) – 86, 10. Hugh Gilchrist (Pink Boots Racing) – 82, 11. Darrin Kesper (Let’s Boogie) – 70, 12. Peter Monger (Mongrel) – 60, 13. Phil Weinthal (Black Dog) – 56, 14. Daniel Salter (The Hustler) – 30, 15. Mark Connolly (G Force), 16. Andrew Medlicott (Gone Nutz Again) – 12
1. Kyle Elphinstone (Blackout Racing) – 190-points, 2. Robert Westerink (The Contractor) – 134, 3. Graham Reynolds (Red Rum) – 132, 3. Dwayne Mezzadri (Unleashed) – 132, 5. Andrew Medlicott (Gone Nutz Again) – 125, 6. Lawrence Howlett (Drop Bear) – 122, 7. David Bray (Bear Necessities) – 110, 8. Kyle Reynolds (Red Rum) – 96, 9. Rob Johnston (Almost There) – 48, 10. Paul Hill (Slicer) – 44