-- -- 2013 AMCN INTERNATIONAL ISLAND CLASSIC - HISTORIC BIKE FEST
-- AUSTRALIA CHASING FIFTH INTERNATIONAL CHALLENGE VICTORY
If you’re a devoted historic bike fan, then all roads will lead to the freshly resurfaced Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit on the Australian Day weekend (January 25-27) for the 20th anniversary Australian Motorcycle News International Island Classic.
This event has become the jewel in the crown of historic racing in the southern hemisphere, and next weekend, over 400 bikes and 370 riders will compete across 44 races on the Saturday and Sunday. Fifteen thousand spectators are expected to soak up the atmosphere over the three days, as well as getting to know a little better, the biggest name that road racing has ever seen – 15-time world GP champion Giacomo Agostini.
The 70-year-old Italian will be a special guest at the event, cutting demonstrations laps on Saturday and Sunday on a replica MV Agusta, signing autographs and headlining the Saturday night Anniversary Dinner for 650 guests.
TALENT GALORE FOR INTERNATIONAL CHALLENGE
‘Ago’ will certainly create plenty of on-track interest on his replica MV Agusta, but once again the main act will be the Tahbilk International Challenge, which in 2013 welcomes dedicated teams from New Zealand and America to take on established heavyweights Australia and the United Kingdom.
The four teams will square off over four, six lap races, with the field packed with top-notch talent including former 500GP and 250GP star, Briton Jeremy McWilliams, and local flyers such as Steve Martin, Shawn Giles, Rob Phillis and Malcolm Campbell – all former Australian superbike champions who have been bitten by the historic racing bug.
But historic racing is not just an outlet for ‘evergreens’, with modern day hard chargers such as Irishman Ryan Farquhar and Aussie pair Beau Beaton & Cameron Donald returning once again for a weekend of historic racing action.
MCWILLIAMS RETURNS TO DEFEND HIS INDIVIDUAL TITLE
McWilliams, who started the 2000 and 2002 MotoGP races at Phillip Island from pole position, has been the leading individual point-scorer in the last two International Challenges, just pipping Donald in 2011 and then benefitting from 2012 pacesetters Martin and Giles, when they ran into trouble in last year’s final race. Martin’s consolation was a new lap record – 1:38.666, set in race one.
But McWilliams continues to be fast and consistent and he’ll fancy his chances of a third win on the trot on his Suzuki Harris XR69.
TEAM EVENT: AUSTRALIA WANTS TO UPHOLD UNDEFEATED STATUS
McWilliams’ heroics aside, the team crown was again Australia’s in 2012, with an extraordinary depth of talent again proving to be the trump card in its massive victory over the UK and the 2012 World 13. Australia is yet to be defeated in the International Challenge.
Martin enjoys the team element of the International Challenge, added to his very pure motive for competing: he just loves 1980s Superbikes.
“I guess the first bikes I ever saw racing were these 80 model Superbikes, and I still remember the first time I ever saw a (Suzuki) Katana I pretty much wet myself,” said Martin.
“To be able to race these bikes is one reason but also to be able to be part of a team racing to battle against the Kiwis, Poms and the rest of the world, well it’s something to be proud of.”
Joining Martin (Suzuki Katana) in the Australian team for the International Challenge will be Campbell on the Suzuki XR69, former world Superbike No. 3 Phillis (Katana), Donald (XR69), Beaton (Irving Vincent) and Giles (Katana).
The international challengers are headed by McWilliams, Farquhar (both Harris F1) and Barry Ditchburn (Yamaha TZ750), who will all ride for the UK.
New Zealand, led by veterans Roger Gunn and Kevin Grey, will again keep their Commonwealth cousins honest, while 14 Americans are on their way Down Under including Kawasaki Z1-riding pair Ed Hazaar and James McKay.
PHIL IRVING MEMORIAL TROPHY
Another major prize up for grabs at the Island Classic is the Phil Irving Memorial Trophy for the highest individual point-scorer across the weekend. South Australian Levy Day will be going for back-to-back trophies after scoring maximum scorecards across two classes – 500cc Classic and 350cc Classic – in 2012.
ABOUT THE ISLAND CLASSIC
The Australian Motorcycle News International Island Classic is the biggest historic race in the southern hemisphere featuring bikes dating back to pre-WWI, right through to Vintage (1920-1945), Classic (1946-1962), Post Classic (1963-1972), Forgotten Era (1973-1982) and New Era (1983-1990) division. Sidecars will also compete,
TICKETS AND CAMPING
Tickets for the AMCN International Island Classic are available at www.islandclassic.com.au or at the gate. Adult three day passes are $70, Sunday only $45 and children under 15 are free Friday and just $5 on Saturday and Sunday; or splash out with a VIP Club Classic package on pit roof for $125 Sunday.
Being the Australia Day long weekend, make it a family getaway. Trackside camping is super reasonable with four nights of camping for $70. Add a three day event entry ticket for a family of four and you get a long weekend getaway for less than $250. The campground is open from Thursday to Sunday inclusive, and spots must be pre-booked on www.islandclassic.com.au or by calling the circuit on 03 5952 2710.
Phillip Island GP Circuit hotline telephone 03 5952 2710 or www.islandclassic.com.au
-- 2012 Island Classic Coverage
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