Jeremy McWilliams rates 2015 as Team UK’s best chance for Island Classic International Challenge success

His prediction comes with some caveats, but Jeremy McWilliams finally believes his UK team has got the speed and experience to wrest the coveted International Challenge from Australia when the 2015 Australian Motorcycle News Island Classic historic motorcycle festival is held at Phillip Island this Australia Day long weekend (January 23-25).

McWilliams, the UK’s standout campaigner will run a 1984 Yamaha Harris F1 1297 in 2015, and has already claimed individual honours three times in the Tahbilk Winery-backed International Challenge.

Now the last frontier is winning the coveted teams’ trophy which has been the exclusive domain of Australia since its inception in 2005. New Zealand and the USA also field teams in the International Challenge.

“The Aussies never give us an inch and we don’t expect it to be any different this year,” said McWilliams on the eve of flying out to Australia. “But I think 2015 is our best chance to take the team win if all the bikes stick it out — they take a hammering over the weekend. Roger Winfield (who supplies machinery to most of the top riders) deserves a team win for the time, expense and effort him and his team put in to this event.”

McWilliams says the addition of silky duo Glen Richards and Conor Cummins will put even more pressure on the Australians, while he expects John McGuinness to be far better placed after his first International Challenge gallop in 2014. However, there’s a sub plot to part of this: Richards is an expatriate Aussie who has been based in the UK for nearly 20 years, and won the British supersport title in 2008.

“There’ll be a bit of moaning that Glen’s with us but he is an adopted Brit,” said McWilliams. “No doubt he’ll be quick but these ’90s era bikes do take a bit of getting used to!

“As for John, he admitted he was riding his plums off last year — he didn’t think the pace would just be as fast as it is. Now he knows what to expect he is up for it and looking forward to swapping paintwork!

“I’ve heard that the Aussies have been testing flat out but it doesn’t worry us: it’s the race that counts.”

Ryan Farquhar is the other real fighter in the current UK squad of 13 riders, which will be trimmed to 10 – the maximum number — by the time the first of four International Challenge races are held on Saturday afternoon. All four races will be held over six laps.

Meanwhile, Australia’s team will feature the talents of Steve Martin, lap record holder Shawn Giles, Rob Phillis, Cameron Donald, Brendan Roberts and Jed Metcher, while the American outfit is headed by Rob Mesa, James McKay and David Crussell. New Zealand can count on Damien Kavney, Glenn Hindle, Roger Gunn and Terry Morris doing most of its scoring.

“I’m just happy beating any of the opposition as there are some very rapid riders,” said McWilliams. “I’ve never had a win at the International Challenge without having to fight for it.

“I’ve been lucky to be in the right place on the last lap, but race four in 2014 was really tough and I gave it everything. Rarely does anyone get a gap or lead from start to finish.

“I always loved the Island circuit; it was my favourite track during my GP career and still is but the Island Classic event is really competitive — it’s like racing at the top of a national championship.

McWilliams tied with Giles in the 2014 individual standings, and both were awarded the Ken Wootton Perpetual Trophy for their front-running deeds.

In the International Challenge, the top five point scorers from each team will go towards the final tally. The rules allow for machines manufactured between 1973 and 1984 to compete, and for capacities ranging from 350-1300cc. All engines must be air-cooled.

The 2015 AMCN-backed Island Classic will begin with qualifying Friday; with racing from 9:00am to 5:00pm on both Saturday and Sunday. The field is the largest ever seen at the iconic historic motorcycle racing festival, with over 525 bikes to hit the grand prix circuit over the three days across 56 races.

Tickets are on sale with a discounted pre-purchase price at $70* for a three-day ticket or $45* for Sunday only. Children 15 and under are free. Pit roof, fully-catered suite hospitality passes are also available from $135.

Long weekend, last minute accommodation is sorted.   The circuit is opening their on-track campground for an affordable long weekend option – just $70* for up to four nights; or $55 for Saturday/Sunday sleeping trackside.  Bring your tent!

Jeremy McWillians on the Harris F1 - 2014 Island Classic
Jeremy McWillians on the Harris F1 – 2014 Island Classic
Jeremy McWillians leads the field over Lukey Heights - 2014 Island Classic
Jeremy McWillians leads the field over Lukey Heights – 2014 Island Classic
Jeremy McWillians and Shawn Giles shared individual honours - 2014 Island Classic
Jeremy McWillians and Shawn Giles shared individual honours – 2014 Island Classic

2015 Island Classic Schedule

Friday 23rd January 2015

Start 0900

Q1

Pre-War, 125 Post Classic & Forgotten Era,  250 Classic & Post Classic 14 min

Q1

350 Classic & 500 Forgotten Era 14 min

Q1

Unlimited Forgotten Era – Odds 14 min

Q1

Unlimited Forgotten Era  – Evens 14 min

Q1

Unlimited Classic 14 min

Q1

Unlimited Post Classic 14 min

Q1

Pablo’s Motorcycle Tyres New Era Formula 750 14 min

Q1

350 Forgotten Era 14 min

Q1

Pablo’s Motorcycle Tyres New Era Formula 1300 & Invitational P6 Open 14 min

Q1

500 Classic & 350 Post Classic 14 min

Q1

Tahbilk International Challenge 20 min

Q1

250 New Era &  250 New Era Production 14 min

Q1

250 Forgotten Era & 125 New Era 14 min

Q1

500 Post Classic & 500 New Era 14 min

Q2

Pre-War, 125 Post Classic & Forgotten Era,  250 Classic & Post Classic 14 min

Q2

350 Classic & 500 Forgotten Era 14 min

Q2

Unlimited Forgotten Era – Odds 14 min

Q2

Unlimited Forgotten Era  – Evens 14 min

Q2

Unlimited Classic 14 min

Q2

Unlimited Post Classic 14 min

Q2

Pablo’s Motorcycle Tyres New Era Formula 750 14 min

Q2

350 Forgotten Era 14 min

Q2

Pablo’s Motorcycle Tyres New Era Formula 1300 & Invitational P6 Open 14 min

Q2

500 Classic & 350 Post Classic 14 min

Q2

Tahbilk International Challenge 20 min

Q2

250 New Era &  250 New Era Production 14 min

Q2

250 Forgotten Era & 125 New Era 14 min

Q2

500 Post Classic & 500 New Era 14 min

Finish 1700

 

Saturday 24th January 2015
    Start 0900
E1* Pre-War, 125 Post Classic & Forgotten Era,  250 Classic & Post Classic 4 Laps
E2* 350 Classic & 500 Forgotten Era 4 Laps
E3* Unlimited Forgotten Era – Premier 4 Laps
E4* Unlimited Forgotten Era  – Minor 4 Laps
E5* Unlimited Classic 4 Laps
E6* Unlimited Post Classic 4 Laps
E7* Pablo’s Motorcycle Tyres New Era Formula 750 4 Laps
D1 Demonstration Laps 2 Laps
E8* Pablo’s Motorcycle Tyres New Era Formula 1300 & Invitational P6 Open 4 Laps
E9* 250 New Era &  250 New Era Production 4 Laps
E10* Tahbilk International Challenge 6 Laps
E11* 500 Classic & 350 Post Classic 4 Laps
E12* 350 Forgotten Era 4 Laps
E13* 250 Forgotten Era & 125 New Era 4 Laps
E14* 500 Post Classic & 500 New Era 4 Laps
E15* Pre-War, 125 Post Classic & Forgotten Era,  250 Classic & Post Classic 4 Laps
E16* 350 Classic & 500 Forgotten Era 4 Laps
E17* Unlimited Forgotten Era – Premier 4 Laps
E18* Unlimited Forgotten Era  – Minor 4 Laps
D2 Demonstration Laps 2 Laps
E19* Unlimited Classic 4 Laps
E20* Unlimited Post Classic 4 Laps
E21* Tahbilk International Challenge 6 Laps
E22* Pablo’s Motorcycle Tyres New Era Formula 750 4 Laps
E23* 250 New Era &  250 New Era Production 4 Laps
E24* Pablo’s Motorcycle Tyres New Era Formula 1300 & Invitational P6 Open 4 Laps
E25* 500 Classic & 350 Post Classic 4 Laps
E26* 350 Forgotten Era 4 Laps
E27* 250 Forgotten Era & 125 New Era 4 Laps
E28* 500 Post Classic & 500 New Era 4 Laps
Finish 1700
Sunday 25th January 2015
Start 0900
E29* Pre-War, 125 Post Classic & Forgotten Era,  250 Classic & Post Classic 4 Laps
E30* 350 Classic & 500 Forgotten Era 4 Laps
E31* Unlimited Forgotten Era – Premier 4 Laps
E32* Unlimited Forgotten Era  – Minor 4 Laps
E33* Unlimited Classic 4 Laps
E34* Unlimited Post Classic 4 Laps
E35* Pablo’s Motorcycle Tyres New Era Formula 750 4 Laps
D3 Demonstration Laps 2 Laps
E36* Pablo’s Motorcycle Tyres New Era Formula 1300 & Invitational P6 Open 4 Laps
E37* 250 New Era &  250 New Era Production 4 Laps
E38* Tahbilk International Challenge 6 Laps
E39* 500 Classic & 350 Post Classic 4 Laps
E40* 350 Forgotten Era 4 Laps
E41* 250 Forgotten Era & 125 New Era 4 Laps
E42* 500 Post Classic & 500 New Era 4 Laps
E43* Pre-War, 125 Post Classic & Forgotten Era,  250 Classic & Post Classic 4 Laps
E44* 350 Classic & 500 Forgotten Era 4 Laps
E45* Unlimited Forgotten Era – Premier 4 Laps
E46* Unlimited Forgotten Era  – Minor 4 Laps
D4 Demonstration Laps 2 Laps
E47* Unlimited Classic 4 Laps
E48* Unlimited Post Classic 4 Laps
E49* Tahbilk International Challenge 6 Laps
E50* Pablo’s Motorcycle Tyres New Era Formula 750 4 Laps
E51* 250 New Era &  250 New Era Production 4 Laps
E52* Pablo’s Motorcycle Tyres New Era Formula 1300 & Invitational P6 Open 4 Laps
E53* 500 Classic & 350 Post Classic 4 Laps
E54* 350 Forgotten Era 4 Laps
E55* 250 Forgotten Era & 125 New Era 4 Laps
E56* 500 Post Classic & 500 New Era 4 Laps
Finish 1700
* Points awarded toward the Phil Irving Perpetual trophy
Australia

No

Name

Make & Model

Year

Cap

19

Shawn Giles Suzuki Katana

1982-

1294

23

Laurie Fyffe Suzuki Harris

1980-

1166

24

Brendan Roberts Suzuki Katana

1982-

1294

32

Robbie Phillis Suzuki XR69

1982-

1240

36

John Pace Suzuki Katana

1982-

1100

52

Ryan Taylor Yamaha TZ750D

1978-

750

76

Scott Webster Moto-Martin Suzuki

1982-

1200

86

Cameron Donald Suzuki XR69

1981-

1260

91

Jed Metcher Suzuki Katana

1980-

1300

96

Paul Young Honda Harris F1

1982-

1100

99

Steve Martin Suzuki Katana

1982-

1294

124

Peter Mizzi Honda CB1100R

1982-

1100

Captain  Rex Wolfenden
New Zealand

No

Name

Make & Model

Year

Cap

10

Damien Kavney Suzuki XR69

1982-

1260

41

Terry Morris Nico Bakker TZ

1980-

350

50

Glenn Hindle Suzuki XR69

1982-

1170

76

Todd Sutherland Yamaha TZ350

1980-

350

94

Grant Dalton Suzuki XR69

1980-

1100

107

Roger Gunn Suzuki Katana

1980-

1300

111

Duncan Coutts Suzuki GSX1100

1982-

1100

133

Andrew McLaren McIntosh TZ350

1979-

350

133

Wayne Gow Moto Guzzi LeMans

1982-

1000

203

Vince Burrell Moto Guzzi Le Mans

1980-

1000

444

Mike Meskell Suzuki Katana

1980-

1260

949

Brad Phelan Yamaha RD

1976-

400

Captain  Kevin Grey and Stu Avant
United Kingdom

No

Name

Make & Model

Year

Cap

10

Conor Cummins Honda Harris F1

1982-

1150

17

Ryan Farquhar Yamaha Harris F1

1984-

1250

26

Keith Higgs Harris Magnum

1978-

1260

31

Craig Ditchburn Yamaha TZ750

1978-

750

33

Richard Peers-Jones Yamaha TZH

1980-

347

33

Jim Agombar Yamaha TZ

1979-

750

35

Clive Warner Yamaha TZ

1979-

750

75

Glen Richards Suzuki Harris F1

1982-

1277

77

Derek Brown Harris Kawasaki XR69

1982-

1170

77

John McGuinness Honda Harris F1

1982-

1150

99

Jeremy McWilliams Yamaha Harris F1

1984-

1297

121

Mike Edwards Suzuki Harris F1

1982-

1230

162

Rick Kwok Kawasaki P&M TTF1

1978-

1230

Captain  Keith Higgs
United States

No

Name

Make & Model

Year

Cap

7

Wade Boyd Kawasaki KZ1000 Classic

1980-

1000

16

Danial ‘Joe’ Weir Suzuki GS Katana

1982-

1260

45

Edwin Haazer Kawasaki Z1000 MKII

1979-

1200

66

Rob Mesa Yamaha TZ

1978-

750

117

David Crussell Yamaha TZ

1978-

748

135

Ralph Hudson Suzuki GSX1100

1982-

1177

136

Brian Filo Yamaha P & M

1978-

1260

888

James McKay Suzuki GSX 1260

1982-

1260

999

Anthony Bann Suzuki GS1000

1978-

1280

999

Jason Smith Suzuki GS1100

1982-

1100

Captain  David Crussell

Island Classic 2015 - Book your tickets now!

Island Classic 2015 – Book your tickets now!