Triple X Dominates Group A; three titles in four years! Tyreright Australian Superboat Championships Hi-Tec Oils Park, Temora, NSW - 29-30 October, 2011
words| Sean Henshelwood 321Ignition Magazine
By the time the final race of International Group A for the 2011 Tyreright Australian Superboat Championships came around, you could have been forgiven for feeling a touch nostalgic, with the very same title contenders from 2010 lining up for a title fight, one more time.
In reality there was a difference, as despite Brooke Dixon facing off against Triple X team-mates Ted and Darek Sygidus, for 2011 she was out of title contention, but for the Sygidus brothers it was game on.
The season had played out much as the team would have liked, although during the June round of the championship the whole Triple X team struggled on the twisty Cabarita layout, all three failing to make an impression on the podium. They regrouped after the mid-season break though, Ted and Darek placing 1-2 at Cabarita second time around, despite both coming out of the water (Darek in a big way, as can be seen on YouTube*).
By the time the final round had come around - and the pointscore had been adjusted to allow teams to ‘drop’ their worst round - the championship was all equal on top, with Ted and Darek square on 187 points apiece, Ted holding two round wins (Temora Rnd#1 and Cabarita RND#4) to Darek’s one (Temora Rnd#2). Having shared the same boat all season - the 2008 and 2010 title winning machine - the announcement that the brothers would contend the final round in two different boats was met with amazement from their opponents..
“I proved last year I could win the title, so this year, with Dezi and I on equal points heading into the final, I wanted to show that I was more than just a driver, and that I could build a winning boat as well,” Ted admitted pre-race - ‘Frankenstein X’ was born..
“We had a spare Mackraft in the shed that we wanted to build into Ted’s new Unlimited boat for next season,” Darek admitted, “and it was his decision. We have spare engines and enough parts to ‘cobble’ a boat together, so Ted felt he’d go for it. We finished it just a few days before, but Ted feels comfortable in it, so he elected to go it alone.”
“I’ve made some big changes to the hull, it’s nothing like the Mackraft we started with Ted added. “The front is lower and wider, and visibility is awesome, it turns on a dime. We called it ‘Frankenstein’ because it’s unpainted, and has all the spares thrown in it. I reckon though if we had all the good bits in it from the ‘Triple X’ boat, we’d be more than a second a lap faster.
“We’ll see what happens.”
With a short, testing layout set down as the track direction for the final round, accuracy and precision was always going to play a big part in the final result. So too experience, although that said, both Darek and Phonsy Mullan were out of the water in opening practice - fortunately without serious damage - but both were soon into a rhythm.
By the close of the five qualifying rounds it was Darek who held the advantage, with two round wins and a second, to be five points up on Ted heading into the finals. If Ted was to win, he would need to get through all three finals and win the top three. For Darek to lose the title, he had to make an error in any of the finals, or finish third to Ted’s win in the top three.. the tension was mounting.
“Nah, this is nothing,” Darek admitted nervously. “We deal with million dollar steel projects with SGA Engineering where one minor error could cost you everything - that’s pressure, this is pleasure..” The look in his eyes though said something completely different..
Brooke Dixon was again proving to be the ‘spoiler’, the reigning AUS#3 won the final two rounds of qualifying, then the top 12 final. Fortunately, another of the spoilers - Jake Garlick - eliminated himself from the top 12, leaving it to last year’s finalists to break through to the top three. Brooke was first out, setting a blistering 33.314, two tenths faster than anyone had been all weekend. Darek was next, his 33.741 was slower than his best, but it was quick, and Ted would need to dig deep if he was going to retain the coveted #1 plate. It was a solid lap, but the new boat proved to be his undoing, as without sufficient testing, it was always going to be a tall order. In the end he fell just six tenths short, and settled for third on the day.
“Ah well,” he grinned afterwards. “I didn’t win that one, but a Sygidus did, and that’s Triple X’s third Group A title in four years, it doesn’t get any better than that,” he beamed.
A clearly emotional Darek acknowledged that he would never have done it without his big brother. “Ted has been the benchmark for the last two seasons, and as a team-mate he’s helped me rise to the level where I was able to compete with him. We weren’t good enough to beat Brooke today, but we did enough to take 1-2 in the championship for the second year in a row.. I’d like to thank Dave [Gill] and Kelsie [Gill, Ted’s navigator] too, they’ve been an integral part of the team since we started, so it’s nice their family can share in this as well. Roll on 2012..”
And whilst the Sygidus boys celebrated back-to-back wins for them, the man who started the team’s domination of Group A - Phonsy Mullan - stood on the bank quietly smiling, in part because he’d set the benchmark and brought his two mates through to championship victory, but in part because he fully expects that there will be three Triple X drivers in the Unlimited class in 2012.. Don’t expect an announcement any time soon, but the wheels are in motion..!
And speaking of Unlimited Superboats, Phonsy was again in the championship mix, and much happier with his modified mount after some additional ‘tweaks’ by Sprintec’s world championships winning constructor Peter Caughey prior to Phonsy’s maiden win at Melton just a month prior..
“It’s good,” he admitted matter-of-factly. “We haven’t changed much, but have some more tweaks to make with the jet unit. The engine is basically on the money, in fact we’re having trouble getting much more than 60% throttle out of it. I’ve had a few exciting rides over the weekend, including hitting the first corner at 127km/h and almost failing to make the apex.
“It’s still a wild ride, but we’re getting a handle on it.” By the close of qualifying Phonsy had bagged three seconds (two to Dean Finch, one to Daryl Hutton), a third and a fourth to be classified second (31.914), seven tenths off Finch’s best time, but still not entirely happy with the package.
“Well keep working on it,” he grinned. “It’s not over yet, we might be able to force Finchy and Hutto into an error, and at this level, that’s all it takes.”
By the close of the top 12 Phonsy had dropped back to third, having lost three tenths on the awkward cross-wash mid lap, Hutton leap-frogging him in the process.
“Visibility is tough, we’ve got the boat in the water a fair way, so we’ll trim it up a bit for the top six and see if we can’t improve it..” he admitted.
At the close of the top six though, he was again caught by a lack of visibility, after pushing hard to make the top three - sadly it wasn’t to be.
“It was worse, I can’t believe it, it was like someone was tipping a 20-litre bucket of water over your head on every corner, I’m surprised I even complete the lap..
“It’s pretty disappointing really. We got close to Finchy yesterday, and I knew we could improve today - I reckon there was a 30 in it, but when you’ve got not vision, you can’t drive, so it was all over..”
That’s it now for the Australian season, with Phonsy the sole member of the Triple X team to head to the 2012 UIM World Championships in New Zealand in mid February, together with a brand new hull currently under construction at Peter Caughey’s Sprintec workshop in New Zealand ready to accept a duplicate twin-turbo GM Motorsport built LSX in the coming weeks.
“I’d like to do the New Zealand series and tune the package ready for the worlds,” Phonsy confirmed, “and if all goes to plan, we’ll bring the boat back after that and contest what races don’t clash with the 2012 V8 Utes Series.”
Triple X Racing are proudly supported by; GM Motorsport, SGA Engineering, Rip-SHIFT, RAM-JET, Gill Engineering, CBS Group, All Stars Luxury Limousine Service and Leggett Cranes.
About V8 Superboats & Triple xXx Racing
There is little question that V8 Superboats is one of the most exciting forms of motorsport in the world. These 12 foot aluminium hulls accelerate to 100 km/h in just two seconds and corner with G-forces similar to an F-18 fighter jet - all on water; they’re a sight to behold..
A New Zealand invention, Superboats (also known as Jetsprints) have been around since the mid 1980s, and whilst predominantly a sport that is waged most fervently between ANZAC cousins, it is also gaining popularity in the USA and the UK; at present though the world championships are dominated by both Australia and New Zealand.
Triple XXX Racing's Phonsy Mullan and brothers Ted and Darek Sygidus are three of the most committed and exciting drivers in the world, they are rarely off the podium, but when they are on the water, the crowd is always on their feet.
During 2009-2010 the sport of Jetsprinting has taken a huge leap forward with the introduction of free-to-air television (SBS SD/HD) and Pay-TV (FOX Sports). The impact of television on a sport that is campaigned predominantly throughout rural sectors of Australia, has been immediate, and as a consequence, Superboats is already attracting corporate support, the likes of European tyre manufacturer Continental Tyres.
For Triple XXX Racing it is an exciting period of growth, not just for the sport, but the team itself, with all three drivers now capable of winning races. Phonsy has already claimed the 2008 Group A title, whilst Ted claimed his first win of the season this year on his way to third in the same series.
Darek has to date been the mainstay of the team, backing up his older brother and ensuring the equipment is kept pristine for Ted's title challenge, but he too has shown his potential, the 2009 Rookie of the Year title proving just how capable he is.
The Triple XXX Racing team would like to welcome you aboard to take advantage of the profile the sport is establishing, and to become involved in the significant networking and marketing opportunities the sport provides with both existing and potential new clients.
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