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Australia’s Phonsy Mullan Claims Maiden World Title

Australia’s Phonsy Mullan Claims Maiden World Title

After an epic battle between two champions that came all the way down to the final run of the Penrite UIM World Series, Phonsy Mullan finally claimed the one title he had been working so hard to achieve, a world championship crown, the Australian weathering the storm from 7-time world title holder Peter Caughey to become world#1.

Just as things had played out at Keith in South Australia just a week prior, Mullan and Caughey were the standouts in Cabarita although this time around they had some challengers, one of which was Australia’s 2-time world champion Slade Stanley, the former Group A star ultimately setting the fastest qualifying time.

Going into the final three though, it was once more Mullan, Caughey and fellow New Zealander Nick Berryman who would fight it out for the title. Berryman was quick, but couldn’t match the two multiple champions, Mullan laying down his fastest run of the day to force Caughey to deliver his best. Sadly for the 11-time NZ champion, his steering wheel came unlocked midway through his run steering him up and over an island and into retirement, the 30-year veteran of the sport admitting afterwards that, that would be his final lap of competition in what had been an incredible career.

UNLIMITED SUPERBOATS – QUALIFYING

The word coming into the Tweed Coast Jet Sprint facility ahead of the second round of the Penrite UIM World Series was the perceived advantage the Australians would have given their intimate knowledge of the Cabarita track. Whilst that theory was ultimately provided by the international teams, it was pretty clear that like any form of sport at the top level, the best can quickly adapt, and that’s exactly what they did. The biggest surprise on day one at Cabarita though wasn’t the pace of 7-time Australian champion Phonsy Mullan or 7-time world champion Peter Caughey, but rather the performance of 2-time world Group A champion Slade Stanley, the Wagga-based builder delivering a 56.200 in Q2 to end the day as fastest qualifier.

By Sunday morning things were starting to get interesting. Phonsy Mullan did what he’d done so many times in the last few seasons of the Australian championship by lowering the mark at the front of the field. He wasn’t able to break Slade Stanley’s stunning Q3 best of 54.607, but nor did he need to, knowing his greatest threat for a world title were New Zealanders Peter Caughey and Nick Berryman.

Caughey meanwhile was battling to perfect the rotation, both he and Berryman kicking off the day with ‘wrong-ways’ allowing Mullan to set a 56.419, but by Q4 things looked markedly different, Mullan facing a rare DNF after an electrical failure stopped him dead whilst on another strong run, but it was Caughey – faced with the possibility of failing to qualify – who stunned the field, setting a 54.687 to be just eight one thousandths slower than Stanley.

By the final qualifier a number of Australians were starting to make their intentions felt, amongst them co-AUS#1 Scott Krause who finally nailed the rotation to be almost a second faster than season rival and co-title holder Phonsy Mullan and Glenn ‘Spider’ Roberts who had been a sensation at Cabarita just a couple of months back to narrowly lose the round win to Mullan.

UNLIMITED SUPERBOATS – FINALS

The focus was on the front of the field with Phonsy Mullan having set the pace for just the second time on the weekend, but typically he did it when it was needed, his 55.843 though just two tenths of a second faster than long-time rival Daryl Hutton with ‘Excalibur’s’ Mick Carroll continuing to impress with the third fastest time for an Australian 1-2-3.

Mullan was his consistent best in the second final, his 56.042 a couple of tenths slower than his Top 16 time, but half a second clear of Scott Krause, but it was Peter Caughey who stopped the clocks with the best time of the day – his 54.523 a second and a half faster than the field who knew they’d need to find something pretty special in the final two runs.

And so there were three. Should Caughey claim the fastest time in the final, he would take his eighth world crown. Should Mullan win and Caughey place second, there would be a tie and a shootout for the title, should either falter, it would be game over, although the worst either could finish would be third. They both however needed to be mindful of Nick Berryman.

Berryman was first out with Caughey electing to run last. An impressive weekend best of 56.565 put his rivals on notice. Mullan returned serve with a 54.809, a full second faster than his Top 6 time and his fastest of the weekend.

A subdued Mullan had given it his all and was standing by his trailer when the reality of the incident hit home. He was the new World champion.

After a tough year emotionally with as many challenges away from the circuit as on it, Mullan’s dream of a world title had come true, the determined Victorian, unlike many of his rivals, builds almost every single part of the ‘RAMJET’ package finally claiming the coveted world#1 against the best in the sport, the emotion of which was not lost on any of the tight-knit crew.

 

By Tweed Coast Jet Sprint Club

 

 

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