ONE YEAR after crashing out at Griffith’s V8 Superboats meet and former world champion Daryl Hutton has had the last laugh at Lake Wyangan, taking the honours in the top-line unlimited class on Easter Saturday.
Ironically it was Hutton’s two opponents in the top three – Ted Sydgidus and Dean Finch – that failed to finish their final laps, both falling victim to the challenging crosswash that has seen the course develop a reputation as a minefield for drivers.
Hutton was trapped in his upside-down boat last Easter after running into similar difficulty but this time around, the heft of his machine may have helped him negotiate the tough corners at Lake Wyangan better than the rest.
His best lap time was 39.05 in the qualifiers and he produced a similar effort in the final stages of Saturday night, giving Sydgidus and Finch - who crashed on the same corner - no choice but to throw caution to the wind, an approach that became their undoing.
“Come finals, Daryl’s boat seemed to handle it the best - I don’t know if it was due to the bigger engine he’s running, which gives him a bit more weight in the hull,” said Australian Formula Jet Sprint Association vice-president Slade Stanley.
“That might help it settle into the crosswash a bit better.
“It was like he was on rails.
“He wasn’t without his dramas - he actually went up into the fence in his first run out, and had a lot of starter motor issues throughout the day.
“But he managed to get on top of them and come away with the win.”
Finch was the man to beat earlier in the day but was unable to better Hutton’s effort when it mattered.
But he and Sydgidus weren’t the only high-profile casualties on Saturday - round one winner Brooke Dixon also came unstuck and crashed out in the top 12, spinning around four times before her boat went up on the bank.
Fortunately, there were no serious injuries on the day.
As revealed by The Area News last week, the Lake Wyangan course was altered after competitiors pushed for a safer, more driver-friendly track.
Stanley said some of the changes were for better, but some were for worse.
“The big issue with Griffith is all the crosswash because of the tyres around the track,” Stanley said.
“It doesn’t let the water break on the bank and roll back in gently - it swooshes around like a washing machine.
“You come round and if you hit the crosswash it just pops you out of the track.
“Dean Finch’s boat Loose Cannon, the furthest they pushed the throttle down was 50 per cent - so that shows you how much more power and speed is available if the track can become a little more smoother and driver-friendly.
“If we can eliminate some of that crosswash we’ll really see the boats open up.
“But the Griffith Boat Club’s been more than helpful and they’ll work towards making it safer in future and ultimately faster.”
But Stanley was full of praise for the event itself, which was condensed into one day as opposed to an entire weekend, as it has been in the past.
“It was better on the whole - you only ever got the crowd for one day anyway,” he said.
“The crowd gets to see all the action this way and they don’t miss any earlier spills in the qualifiers.
“It’s always a good time, we all enjoy camping out at the lake and catching up for a few beers.
“It was a good night with a lot of carnage, as usual - there’ll be a few people licking their wounds and a few celebrating.”
The next round of the 2014 Hi-Tec Oils Australian V8 Superboat Championships is on June 14-15 at Tweed Heads, NSW.
2014 Hi-Tec Oils Australian V8 Superboat Championships - Round 2
Lake Wyangan, Griffith
1: Darryl Hutton (39.39)
2-3: Ted Sydgidus, Dean Finch (DNF)
1: Damien O’Leary (41.87)
2: Shane Loughnan (42.73)
3: Kevin Laugensen (47.49)
1: Scott Roberts (45.21)
2: Jeremy Kincaid (46.08)
3: Brett Thornton (46.11)