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PRESS RELEASE/Penrite Australian V8 Superboat Championships – Photo: supplied

The 2019 Penrite V8 Superboat Championship has been electric since the season first began at Keith back in late March with all three classes keeping the fans on their feet, the battle for supremacy in the Unlimited class as good as anywhere in the world, and with a reigning world champion battling a two-time world title holder for outright honours, things are only going to get better!

This weekend the series returns to the north coast of New South Wales and the popular Tweed Coast Jet Sprint Club where much of the field will be hoping to escape a southern winter, and whilst the weather will be unpredictable, the racing will be hot, in fact the intensity in both the Unlimited and 400-Class title fights is perhaps hotter than ever.

Coming into Cabarita the fans are already pumped for the next chapter of the engaging battle between 2018 world champion and six-time Unlimited champion Phonsy Mullan, and former world title holder Slade Stanley who dominated the most recent round at home in Temora.

From his return to the championship full-time at Keith, Stanley has been the standout, forcing Mullan very much behind the eight ball, Stanley’s Temora performance one of the best across recent history, yet despite the impressive pace of both, neither is leading the championship – that honour has fallen to Keith victor Mick Carroll who for season 2019 is the sole owner and entrant in the mighty ‘Excalibur’ machine.

Whilst Stanley and Mullan have squabbled over the #1 spot in each and every round, Carroll has been consistent and meticulous and it is he who carries the coveted red plate into Cabarita, although that could change this weekend, especially with Mullan’s recent successes at the Tweed Coast venue.

In 400-Class the battle for the top spot has been very one-sided, despite the intensity with which the battle has been waged, local hero Paul Kelly having taken the win at both Keith and Temora to hold a strong leading heading to Cabarita, a circuit at which he is often the pace-setter. 

As past seasons of the Penrite V8 Superboats have shown though, you can never guarantee a result, and with rivals the likes of two-time 2018 winner Jody Ely, former champions Mark Garlick, Ben Hathaway and Brett Thornton, and rising star Justin Roylance in the mix, Kelly will have no easy path to a three-peat this weekend.

After presenting a record field last time out at Temora, the LS-Class has grown again, a sure sign that the future of the sport is on the up. Nine boats will be at Cabarita, all looking to gain more valuable laps and learn from points leader Kyle Elphinstone who continues to pave the way for the ‘new’ category, but like Kelly in 400-Class, he will need to bring his ‘A-game’ with no shortage of challengers looking to take the top step of the podium.


You couldn’t deny that recently crowned world champion and seven-time Australian champion Phonsy Mullan starts the Cabarita weekend as favourite. The technical layout of the Tweed Coast facility rewards consistency, setup and speed – three things Mullan has in abundance, but if there’s one thing season 2019 has so far shown us, it’s that you can never rely on tradition..

Coming into Cabarita, Mullan holds an impressive record, having won the last three times V8 Superboats have competed at the series’ northern most venue, the last time he was defeated was late 2017 by Tremayne Jukes, and even then there was just a tenth of a second between Mullan and Jukes.

This weekend though Mullan will again have serious competition, and it could be a four-way fight for the top spot..

Former world and Australian champion Slade Stanley returned to the sport for the season ending UIM World Series last year, showing flashes of the brilliance that marked him as one of the best drivers in the world. Sadly luck wasn’t on his side (despite being the fastest qualifier early during the Cabarita round), something which sadly transitioned across to the opening round of the 2019 season where he suffered a throttle pedal failure whilst on target to win the Keith event.

From Keith, Stanley went to his ‘home’ circuit at Temora and destroyed all comers – the mighty blue naturally-aspirated JRE 480ci ‘Harzardous’ machine seemingly on rails, Stanley delivering one of his best ever performances to put the Unlimited field on notice that he was back, and he was back for the Unlimited title.

Coming into Cabarita, the top three in Unlimited are separated by just four points, with Keith winner Mick Carroll holding the coveted red plate on 66-points, with Mullan back at 63 and Stanley on 62 setting up what promises to be an epic weekend.

Mullan will likely come into the round with an option of two powerplants – his new GM Motorsport developed 583ci naturally aspirated V8, or the twin-turbo LS he used to great effect during the World Series – as ever, those cards will be played very close to Mullans’ chest with every possibility he will bring two boats to the event.

Of their rivals, two will likely figure in the outright result – two-time Australian Unlimited champion Daryl Hutton, and New Zealand star Rob Coley. 

Hutton finally has his Farr Faster twin-turbo 400ci powerplant up and running and the ‘Phoenix Lubricants’ boat well on song. He and new navigator Teresa Parish fell just short last time out at Temora whilst running within mere tenths of Mullan’s times, and Hutton always rises to a challenge – now that he’s close to challenging for the top step of the podium again, you could expect some magic from the blue machine this weekend.

Rob Coley returns with his twin-turbo Nissan powered ‘Poison Ivy’ looking to make amends for a lacklustre run in Australia over the last 12-months. Expected at every turn to show his customary speed and mix it with the leaders, the New Zealander has been plagued by one issue after another, starting from the middle of 2018, so he is surely due a result, and there’s no reason why that won’t be this weekend.

Former Australian Group A champion Ted Sygidus looks likely to join the popular kiwi, and the two of them could mix up the established order..

Mick Carroll is another well capable of retaining the red plate this weekend, the South Australian the sole entry this year in the ‘Excalibur’ machine as team boss and driver, and as a past winner at Cabarita he has the experience, and has already shown he has the speed and consistency to mix it at the front should any of the leaders falter, watch out for the #93 entry to pick up the pieces.

Glenn ‘Spider’ Roberts always finds something a little extra at Cabarita, and just 12 months ago he took the fight to Phonsy Mullan in his big-block ‘Blown Budget’, the Victorian having recently tweaked his impressive powerplant and with the chance of a podium on offer again this weekend, the pink and black machine could be a chance.

Throw in local star Daniel de Voigt and series veteran Paul Burgess and you have plenty to keep an eye on, as for Starr Kopa, he will be back behind the wheel of ‘WIKID’, with team-mate Matt Foote going back to navi duties alongside Paul Burgess for the Cabarita weekend.

As for Michael Cunningham, the speedway star has been the big improver over the last 12 months in the ‘True Blue’ machine that took the Dixon family to so much success in past years, and whilst you could have rated him as a podium chance this weekend, the Victorian has admitted that business commitments could keep him from making the track, although be promised he’d be back in the saddle soon and pushing the established stars.

400-CLASS (International Group A)

As one of a number of experienced locals, Paul Kelly comes into his ‘home’ round as favourite, although he will have no shortage of challengers including former champions Mark Garlick (2018 champion), Ben Hathaway (2017 champion) and Brett Thornton (2016 champion), whilst regular front-runners Jody Ely and Justin Roylance will be all looking to break Kelly’s 2019 winning streak.

A threat to claim the 2018 Australian title, Kelly fell short at the final hurdle with a number of small issues across the season putting him too far outside the equation to keep title rival Mark Garlick at bay during the final round – driver errors too saw him berating himself afterwards that he could well have claimed the title if he’d played a cooler hand..

Step forward to 2019, and PK is a more complete driver than 2018, something he has shown twice this year to hold – in Superboat terms – a commanding points lead heading into Cabarita.

To four-time Australian champion Mark Garlick’s defense though, the ‘Grumpy’ team has started the new year with a new hull, and Garlo has been working hard to dial the boat in to make it competitive – Cabarita always seeing the Queenslander step up another level.

So too Ben Hathaway who is back behind the wheel of the ‘Warren & Brown Tools Racing’ entry after losing his primary powerplant at the start of the World Series, forcing him into the Matt Malthouse-owned machine, but back in his own boat, Hathaway has uncovered the speed that saw him crowned 2017 Group A champion, and he’s keen to put the field on notice that he wants that coveted #1 title back.

Of the rest, Jody Ely and Justin Roylance will be ones to keep an eye on. Ely was a two-time winner last year and he was quick again at Temora to claim a podium finish. He currently sits second in points, splitting Kelly and Hathaway and he will be a challenger again this weekend, although fellow ‘Jetspeed’ [hull] pilot Justin Roylance could be the dark-horse at Cabarita..

Taking delivery of the NZ-built, JRE-tuned hull immediately ahead of the Temora round, Roylance stunned the Group A field by top qualifying at Temora, an error in navigation in the finals keeping him from maintaining that momentum, something he is looking to put right this weekend.

Add in former champion Brett Thornton, Pink Boots Racing duo Greg Harriman and Hugh Gilchrist and you have a very competitive field, but it doesn’t stop there.

Darrin Kesper returns after his big off at Cabarita during the World Series – again with Kayla Foote alongside – whilst local legends Peter Monger and Phil Weinthal will share driving duties in Weinthal’s ‘Black Dog’ and Brendan Doyle will return in ‘The Girlfriend’ to round out an impressive 12-boat 400-Class field.


Arguably the best news of the weekend outside of the return of the outright battles in both Unlimited Superboat and 400-Class, is the record entry in the emerging LS-Class.

Temora provided a record seven entries, but we go beyond that this weekend with nine boats entered, with a number of first-time crews, something which bodes well for the future of the Penrite Oil supported sport.

Kyle Elphinstone returns to Cabarita as points leader after a solid run at Keith and a record-breaking run at Temora against some serious competition. He knows that it’s only a matter of time though before his new rivals latch onto his success, so he will be keen to put the ‘Blackout Racing’ machine as far out of reach as he can.

Andrew Medlicott will again lead the charge in Justin Roylances former JRE-tuned Mackraft, having come closest to Elphinstone’s pace last time out at Temora, whilst the returning Graham Reynolds will be joined by son Kyle in ‘Red Rum’. David Bray is back in ‘Bear Neccesities’, with Lawrence Howlett (Drop Bear) and Robert Westerink (The Contractor), whilst Dwayne Mezzadri (Unleashed) and Paul Hill (Slicer) make their LS-Class debuts, giving the fans plenty to cheer about as the next generation of Superboat stars stamps their mark on this incredible sport. 

The third round of the 2019 Penrite Australian V8 Superboat Championships will be contested at the Tweed Coast Jetsprint Club across two days, with opening qualifying at 12:30pm on Saturday, ahead of the second day of competition starting at 9:15am on Sunday, June 16. 

Tickets are available at the gate.


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