International Challenge Race Four

Island Classic 2018

By Trevor Hedge

The heat was oppressive as competitors lined up for the fourth and final six-lap decider of the 2018 Island Classic International Challenge at Phillip Island today.

Heading into the final bout Australia held a slender seven-point lead over Team UK thus it was still all to play for when the lights went out at 1545 on Sunday afternoon and the talented field of riders blasted off the line.

2018 Island Classic International Challenge Race Four - Image by Cameron White
2018 Island Classic International Challenge Race Four – Image by Cameron White

A line that, according to officials, was baking in a track temperature that was nudging towards 65-degrees celsius. The ambient temperature in the shade was registering 38-degrees. There’ll be plenty of sunburn suffered amongst the many thousands of spectators that braved the harsh sun today to bear witness to a great weekend of action.

Exiting the Island though would prove problematic not only for racegoers, but also holidaymakers on the Island. The road surface had melted and lifted on the road towards San Remo.

Such was the temperature down at The Island, that the road surface had melted and lifted
Such was the temperature down at The Island, that the road surface had melted and lifted

Those problems, and a massive amount of Public Holiday long weekend traffic, had vehicles travelling at walking pace for the entire afternoon. There were reports on social media that it had taken people taking almost two hours to get from Cowes to the other side of the San Remo bridge.

A bit of a cloud had been hanging over the race three results as riders readied for race four. Troy Corser had been forced to start the penultimate race, race three, from pit-lane, and had been reported as not continuing to the very end of the pitlane before joining the circuit, but instead, knocked some cones over in his rush to get up to speed. As a result Corser was pushed two rows further back on the grid for race four.

Glen Richards down - Image by TBG
Glen Richards down – Image by TBG

No sooner had the final bout got underway had two riders gone out of the race. Glen Richards down on lap one and Cam Donald out with a mechanical failure.

Corser was fired up from the moment the lights went out as he blasted straight up to fifth place early on lap one, while up front it was again Dave Johnson, as Jeremy McWilliams and Peter Hickman gave chase.

International Challenge Race Four
International Challenge Race Four – Image by TBG

As they crossed the stripe to start lap three both Johnson and McWilliams carded 1m37.6s lap times, as the pair started to pull away from third placed Hickman and a determined Troy Corser, who was now up to fourth place after squeezing past Dan Linfoot.

McWilliams then closed right up onto the tailpipe of Johnson and started to show the South Australian a wheel here and there, piling the pressure on and trying to force Johnson in to some sort of mistake.

David Johnson and Jeremy McWilliams - Image by Cameron White
David Johnson and Jeremy McWilliams – Image by Cameron White

The pace then got hotter… That leading duo both down to 1m37.2s next time around, despite the ridiculously hot 65-degree track temperature.  With so little between Team Australia and Team UK in the points, the battle for the race win could also decide the battle for outright International Challenge honours.

McWilliams leads into turn four on the final lap - Image by TBG
McWilliams leads into turn four on the final lap – Image by TBG

McWilliams pulled out of the slipstream into turn one on the final lap and pulled away from Johnson a little through turn three, and then built on that buffer through the back section of the track to sprint away from Johnson and take the race win.

Jeremy McWilliams wins International Challenge Race Four - Image by Cameron White
Jeremy McWilliams wins International Challenge Race Four – Image by Cameron White

Peter Hickman was a relatively lone third place while Dan Linfoot just managed to pip Corser and take fourth position, another result that was telling in the final International Challenge points tally.

And when the Computime abacus spat out those numbers, it was Team Australia the victors.

David Johnson won outright overall honours with the most points across the four races to claim the Ken Wootton Perpetual Trophy - Image by TBG
David Johnson won outright overall honours with the most points across the four races to claim the Ken Wootton Perpetual Trophy – Image by TBG

While Jeremy McWilliams won that final bout, Johnson’s second position was good enough for him to claim individual overall honours and the Ken Wootton Perpetual Trophy.

Despite plenty of problems and a lack of horsepower this weekend Troy Corser claimed third outright on equal points with Paul Byrne. A frustrating but also rewarding weekend for Corser who still looks as trim and taut as he did when he claimed the first of his two World Superbike Championships over 20 years ago.

Paul Byrne #52 - David Johnson #3 - Troy Corser #11 - Image by TBG
Paul Byrne #52 – David Johnson #3 – Troy Corser #11 – Image by TBG

Island Classic 2018

International Challenge Race Four Results

  1. McWilliams UK
  2. Johnson AUS +2.578
  3. Hickman UK +5.842
  4. Linfoot UK +8.086
  5. Corser AUS +8.121
  6. Byrne AUS +8.556
  7. Giles AUS +15.999
  8. Rutter UK +18.287
  9. Martin AUS +18.885
  10. Ditchburn UK +26.496
  11. Johnson UK +28.774
  12. Colin Edwards USA +30.628
  13. Beau Beaton AUS

2018 International Challenge Team Points

  1. Australia 685
  2. UK 654
  3. USA 465
  4. NZ 319

2018 Ken Wootton Perpetual Trophy

  1. David Johnson 158
  2. Jeremy McWilliams 157
  3. Troy Corser 139
  4. Paul Byrne 139
  5. Dan Linfoot 138
  6. Peter Hickman 133
  7. Beau Beaton 126
  8. Colin Edwards 124
  9. Steve Martin 123
  10. Shawn Giles 122
2018 Island Classic International Challenge Entry List

PHILLIP ISLAND – January 26-28, 2018

FIELD FOR MV AGUSTA INTERNATIONAL CHALLENGE

Australia Captain: Rex Wolfenden
No First Name Last Name Make & Model Year Cap
11 Troy Corser Honda Harris F1 1982 1150
99 Steve Martin Suzuki Katana 1294 1982 1294
19 Shawn Giles Suzuki Katana 1294 1982 1294
186 Beau Beaton Irving Vincent 1982 1300
86 Cam Donald Irving Vincent 1982 1300
52 Paul Byrne Mcintosh Suzuki 1982 1260
3 David Johnson Suzuki XR69 1982 1100
76 Scott Webster Suzuki Harris 1980 1200
39 Ken Watson Yamaha TZ31 1978 750
New Zealand Captain: Duncan Coutts
No First Name  Last Name Make & Model Year Cap
50 Glen Hindle Suzuki XR69 1982 1170
10 Damien Kavney Suzuki XR69 1982 1260
55 Trevor Taylor Yamaha TZ500H 1981 498
211 Simon Richards Suzuki CMR XR69 1982 1170
31 Kerry Wilton Yamaha TZ350F 1979 410
335 Duncan Coutts Yamaha CMR F1 1984 1251
27 Mat Ineson Suzuki GSX 1982 1135
25 Alistair Wilton Yamaha TZ750 1979 746
United Kingdom Captain: Keith Higgs/Roger Winfield
No First Name Last Name Make & Model Year Cap
99 Jeremy Mcwilliams Yamaha Harris F1 1984 1297
62 Peter Hickman Yamaha Harris F1 1984 1260
75 Glen Richards Yamaha Harris F1 1984 1250
13 Lee Johnston Yamaha Harris F1 1984 1250
4 Daniel Linfoot Honda Harris F1 1982 1150
14 Michael Rutter Yamaha Harris F1 1984 1297
77 Derek Brown Suzuki Harris F1 1980 1260
31 Craig Ditchburn Yamaha TZ750 1978 750
331 Micheal Neeves Suzuki Harris 1980 1100
United States Captain: Dave Crussell
No First Name Last Name Make & Model Year Cap
178 Bruce Lind Yamaha TZ750 1975 750
17 Dave Crussell Yamaha TZ750 1978 748
29 Barrett Long Yamaha TZ750 1979 750
195 Martin Morrison Suzuki RGB500 1982 500
45 Ed Haazer Kawasaki Z1000 1979 1200
62 Robert Ruwoldt Kawasaki Harris F1 1980 1200
5 Colin Edwards Suzuki XR69 1983 1200
43 Jason Pridmore Yamaha FJ-1200 1980 1200
98 Jake Zemke CMB FJ1300 —- —-
Island Classic 2018

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