Ryan Farquhar has been announced as a replacement for Steve Brogan in the UK team for the 2014 Australian Motorcycle News International Island Classic at Phillip Island on the Australia Day weekend (January 24-26).
With Brogan unavailable because of family commitments, 37-year-old Farquhar was quick to answer the SOS in what will be the Northern Irishman’s fourth successive appearance in the Tahbilk International Challenge, the Island Classic’s big ticket event.
And he’s been an impressive campaigner around the 4.45km Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit, finishing fourth and seventh overall in 2011 and 2012 before last year’s event was a write-off due to mechanical problems.
“It’s a great event,” said Farquhar confirming his attendance. “It has to be one of the best classic short circuit races in the world. I enjoy Phillip Island as it has a bit of everything and the scenery is fantastic.
“There’s no doubt 2014 has the strongest British team ever and the change in rules will even things up. If the bikes are as good as I hope, I think we are in with a strong chance of giving the Aussies a good run for their money.”
If anything, the late addition of Farquhar – who will ride a Suzuki Harris F1 machine — has added even more muscle to the UK team. The visiting squad seeks to annex the International Challenge trophy off Australia, with the locals unbeaten since the event’s inception in 2005.
Teams from America and New Zealand will also compete for the International Challenge, with the winner declared on points accumulated by the top five riders from each country across the four races.
As well as Farquhar, the UK team includes Phillip Island specialist and two-time International Challenge individual winner Jeremy McWilliams, Isle of Man juggernaut John McGuinness, Gary Johnson and Mick Godfrey.
McGuinness will be making his first Island Classic appearance, where he will renew a strong rivalry with Aussie Cameron Donald. The duo has been leading lights at the Isle of Man for most of the last decade, as well as teammates in Honda’s world endurance team over recent seasons.
The Australian team also includes Steve Martin, last year’s individual winner Shawn Giles, Rob Phillis, Malcolm Campbell, Beau Beaton, Brendan Roberts and Michael Dibb.
The New Zealand squad will be captained by Kevin Grey, and the US outfit by David Crussell.
The Island Classic is the southern hemisphere’s largest historic motorcycle racing event. As well as the Tahbilk International Challenge, the Classic also hosts events for solo and sidecar machinery from early last century to 1990.
MEET ISLE OF MAN LEGEND JOHN MCGUINNESS AT THE ISLAND CLASSIC WELCOME DINNER
He seems to have a passion for islands! His love affair and incredible success at the Isle of Man is legendary, and English rider, John McGuinness, is about to put himself to the test at Australia’s island motorcycle mecca, Phillip Island.
McGuinness will travel to Australia as the new star recruit in the UK Team for the Tahbilk International Challenge at the Island Classic, and will be guest of honour at the Welcome Dinner on Saturday evening, January 25.
The dinner for 650 guests will be held at the circuit with Will Hagon as MC, and esteemed motorcycle journalist Alan Cathcart interviewing McGuinness on his Isle of Man exploits over the past two decades.
Dinner tickets are $125 per head with beer, wine and soft drinks included. To be held in the Motorcycle Expo, celebrations kick off at 6.30pm with drinks and canapés on arrival and a two course buffet dinner and interviews on the stage from 7 – 10.30pm. Book tickets now on circuit hotline 03 5952 2710.
McGuinness is a motorcycling legend, and any Isle of Man fan knows his incredible scorecard at the world’s toughest road race – a remarkable 20 Isle of Man TT victories, and 41 podiums picked up along the way.
KIDS 15 and UNDER FREE AT ISLAND CLASSIC!
Kids 15 and under are free, for gate entry AND for camping, making the Island Classic the most inexpensive Australian Day long weekend family getaway going!
A family of four* can escape to Phillip Island for four nights camping trackside and three days of historic motorcycle action for a super affordable $280**, booked in advance.
A mates only weekend? At $70 for a three day adult ticket and camping at $70** for an adult for four nights, it’s a bargain weekend away.
Coming just for race day Sunday? It’s just $45 at the gate. And bring your tribe, as kids 15 and under are free.
The campground opens from 4pm on Thursday, January 23 until Monday morning January 27, but you must pre book your spot by downloading a booking form at www.islandclassic.com.au or call the circuit hotline on 1300 728 007.
ABOUT THE ISLAND CLASSIC
With over 300 riders, with their well-loved machines, we are set for a massive weekend of Historic action. Solo classes will feature for bikes dating back to pre-WWI, right through to Vintage (1920-1945), Classic (1946-1962), Post Classic (1963-1972), Forgotten Era (1973-1982) and the fledgling New Era (1983-1990) division. Sidecars will also compete
* Family (2 adults and 2 children, aged 15 and under)
**Please note, camping must be booked in advance.