Glenn ‘Spider’ Roberts races his way to the podium

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Podium finish: Glen Roberts and Navigator Tiarna McGifford secured third place in round one of the V8 Superboats. Photos: Rolf Stanisch

A late engine rebuild, a lengthy road trip and a podium finish — Glen ‘Spider’ Roberts’ weekend at Cabarita Beach had it all.

Held across July 23 and 24 on the north coast of New South Wales, the first round of the Australian V8 Superboats Championship provided plenty of thrills and spills for the Waaia talent.

Set to complete in the ‘Unlimited’ category in his 1000-horsepower ‘Blown Budget’ Superboat, Roberts made the 1500km trek to the event full of optimism.

However, an engine failure in the qualification rounds put his spell at the tournament in jeopardy.

The failure forced Roberts to join forces with some of his biggest rivals, Daryl Hutton and Scott Krause, with the trio able to rebuild the boat for competition.

“We were up until midnight Saturday night getting it back together and warmed it up Sunday morning,” Roberts said.

“Then I had the fourth qualifier on Sunday, I missed out on the first three qualifying runs on Saturday so in the fourth qualifier I put a time on the board and was about four or five seconds slower than what the fastest time of the day was.”

After posting a time in the fourth qualifying session things were looking up, however a failure in the ignition box in the fifth session forced him back to the pits.

While trying to fix the issue in the pits another boat crashed, giving ‘Blown Budget’ one last chance at glory with limited time remaining.

Dynamic duo: Roberts and McGifford alongside boat ‘Blown Budget’.

“We quickly jumped in, my navigator was up the hill because we didn’t know what was happening, so she got called over by the commentators and the crowd was cheering her as she ran down the hill,” he said.

After progressing through the qualifiers and the top-12 shoot-out, Roberts and navigator Tia McGifford ended the weekend on a high, with the misfortune of other boats helping Roberts claim third place.

“Once you’ve done the qualifying runs you qualify to get into the shoot-out,” he said.

“Here it becomes sudden death, so whatever you’ve done in the qualifiers doesn’t count any more, so you go out, it gets you into the top 12 and then you go from top 12 to top six.

“Even if you were the fastest of the day and you DNF or crash out in the top 12 you’re pretty much out, it goes from here to top six to top three.”

With a number of competitors bowing out, the 42-year-old secured a podium finish for the weekend and his sights are now firmly on round two of competition.

Set to be held at the Tweed Valley Jet Sprint Club in NSW on August 27 and 28, Roberts will tear down his engine to prepare for the event, where he hopes for smoother sailing.