The weather gods weren’t in a good mood for day two of round 3 for the XLR8 Home Loans Australian F1 Superboat Series, with heavy skies and intermittent drizzle greeting pilots and crew on Sunday morning.
The day opened up with practice for the F1’s, with a full field hitting the water. The two blue Watersports Marine entries with Anthony McEnnally piloting #5 and Dean Trickey from Victoria inside #7 were close together with 37 and 38 second laps. Shane Vella’s yellow Lindenvel #61 craft carried over its speed from Toukley, with an astonishing 34.05.
Damien McKenzie was fast with a 35.61 piloting the McKenzie Racing #15 and Craig Truslove’s #11 put down a 35.86 as his quickest time. Jon Tsaccounis in the second XLR8 Home Loans boat, #12, shaded Rhys Coles in his #14 Byron Bay Premium Ale craft by a second with 36 and 37 seconds flat.
The qualifying session got underway with Shane Vella getting the first hit out. Even with a momentary nose up on the back straight, Vella put down an impressive 32.62. McKenzie came out for the second run and made a 34.24 time. Some untidy water on the course slowed Truslove coming out third, giving him a time of 34.56, good enough to indicate he will be very competitive.
The second XLR8 Home Loans entry with Jon Tsaccounis came out and screamed into second place with a 34.06. Fingers were crossed for Rhys Coles with engine and electrical issues plaguing the #14 Byron Bay Premium Ale craft; these looked blown away as was Tsaccounis with the 2006 champion belting out a 33.98 for his run.
Victorian Trickey found his Sunday practice worthwhile with a decent 36.93 whilst Watersports Marine team mate Anthony McEnnally grabbed a 34.98 in his #5 craft.
It was Action Aplenty with Vella turning it on in race 1. An astounding run from Vella saw him lap a number of other racers including Rhys Coles in the #14 Byron Bay Premium Ale craft. Rhys was running second until gremlins struck again and ended up 6th.
The #11 XLR8 boat of Craig Truslove was handed second place as a result but after a one lap penalty for hitting the turn buoy fell down the ladder to fourth. This however was subsequently overturned as it was found that Coles’ steering had failed and Truslove had veered to avoid collision. Damien McKenzie then took over as third place getter with Watersports Marine pilot Anthony McEnally in the #5 craft taking home fourth.
Jon Tsaccounis did what he could to stay in the hunt but was relegated to fifth with Dean Trickey coming home in 7th.
#61 is the number on the side of the Lindenvel boat and it was a number the rest of the field saw only at the start. A scintillating driving from Vella made it two from two. Damien McKenzie had space either side and claimed second. Issues again befell the #14 Byron Bay Premium Ale with Rhys Coles sliding back through the field but still managed to get fourth as Truslove had a spin on lap one and had to come to the start dock to reset his cowling, eventually making sixth. McEnally took advantage of the #14 problems to bring home third whilst Dean Trickey was handed fifth due to the XLR8 Home Loans #11 pit stop.
The yella Vella fella made it three from three with one of the most dominant performances seen yet. An enthralling battle was also happening between Truslove and McKenzie in the closing stages with McKenzie slowing, allowing Truslove to close up.
However McKenzie just snuck home by a boat length for third, shading Truslove into fourth. A great and patient drive from McEnally saw him home for second whilst a fading Jon Tsaccounis came home in fifth ahead of Dean Trickey. Rhys Coles’ weekend went from average to less than with a penalty applied, bringing the Byron Bay entry in seventh.
Managing Director Kirk Tsaccounis commented, 'Newcastle has not been kind to us again this year with the weather being miserable but the racing was some what fierce and enjoyed by all.
‘Shane Vella has proved that he is back with a faultless drive over the weekend, qualifying on pole and winning the three out of 3 heats. We would like to thank our sponsors that supported the event'.
In the F2000 division, another impressive performance from Grant Trask who won three out of three races.