V8 Superboats track altered amid safety concerns


DRIVER demands have forced organisers to put safety first and make alterations to the difficult Lake Wyangan track for Saturday's V8 Superboats meet.

Considered one of the toughest courses in the Hi-Tec Oils Australian V8 Superboats Championship, the water will now be a little more accommodating for drivers after concerns were raised over one particular section of the track near the pits.

But there will still be plenty of carnage on Saturday with the rest of the Lake Wyangan circuit - which saw two of the sport's biggest names spectacularly crash out of last year's event - left untouched for the competition's second round, the Owen Toyota/World of Tyres Jet Sprint Easter Classic.

Australian Formula Jet Sprint Association vice president Slate Stanley was one of the high-profile casualties last year, along with another ex-world champion Daryl Hutton, and told The Area News all is in readiness for another weekend of high-octane action.

"I can still see a few people coming unstuck," he said.

"The only part that has been changes was where nobody had an accident last year - but if they did, it could have been serious.

"It's that corner near the pits - they've brought it back away from the wall there and if you'd run into trouble there in previous years, you'd plough straight into the wall.

"It leaves very little room for runoff so it would be a very sudden, hard impact - which wouldn't make for a great outcome.

"That's a lot safer but none of the other parts of the track have been changed."

Hutton, who finished third overall in the first round of the championship in Temora back in March, gets his crack at redemption on Saturday and will be keen to take the lead off young gun Brooke Dixon, who is currently top of the standings.

However, Stanley won't be involved this year, and neither will Phonsy Mullen or Greg Mercier, who will both be racing in New Zealand.

Over 25 boats have entered at this early stage across the competition's three divisions - the beginner 350 class, the intermediate Group A or 400 class, and the top-tier unlimited class.

Stanley said while drivers will have to keep their wits about them on Lake Wyangan, most will end up throwing caution to the wind in pursuit of glory.

"At the end of the day when it comes down to the top few, everyone's just going for it to get the quickest time possible - so a lot of that thinking goes out the window," he said.

The Griffith Boat Club is putting on the event in conjuction with the AFJSA and president Scott Collis said the committee has put in a lot of hard work following last year's event, which was the first held in Griffith for a number of years.

"It's one of those sports that even if people don't spend all day there, they tend to drop in to get their dose of carnage," he said.

"They're just amazed by how quick they can go in a small area and how tight the boats can turn on the bend.

"That's what blows people away more than anything else.

"There usually are bingles - that's what most people come to see.

"We just need a good turnout of specators to come and watch."

Gates open from midday on Saturday with racing to start at 3pm and finishing up at night.

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