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 TroyCorserHonda Harris F119821150
99 SteveMartinSuzuki Katana 129419821294
19 ShawnGilesSuzuki Katana 129419821294
186 BeauBeatonIrving Vincent19821300
86 CamDonaldIrving Vincent19821300
52 PaulByrneMcintosh Suzuki19821260
3 DavidJohnsonSuzuki XR6919821100
76 ScottWebsterSuzuki Harris19801200
39 KenWatsonYamaha TZ311978750
New Zealand Captain: Duncan Coutts
No First Name  Last Name Make & Model Year Cap
50 GlenHindleSuzuki XR6919821170
10 DamienKavneySuzuki XR6919821260
55 TrevorTaylorYamaha TZ500H1981498
211 SimonRichardsSuzuki CMR XR6919821170
31 KerryWiltonYamaha TZ350F1979410
335 DuncanCouttsYamaha CMR F119841251
27 MatInesonSuzuki GSX19821135
25 AlistairWiltonYamaha TZ7501979746
United Kingdom Captain: Keith Higgs/Roger Winfield
No First Name Last Name Make & Model Year Cap
99 JeremyMcwilliamsYamaha Harris F119841297
62 PeterHickmanYamaha Harris F119841260
75 GlenRichardsYamaha Harris F119841250
13 LeeJohnstonYamaha Harris F119841250
4 DanielLinfootHonda Harris F119821150
14 MichaelRutterYamaha Harris F119841297
77 DerekBrownSuzuki Harris F119801260
31 CraigDitchburnYamaha TZ7501978750
331 MichealNeevesSuzuki Harris19801100
United States Captain: Dave Crussell
No First Name Last Name Make & Model Year Cap
178 BruceLindYamaha TZ7501975750
17 DaveCrussellYamaha TZ7501978748
29 BarrettLongYamaha TZ7501979750
195 MartinMorrisonSuzuki RGB5001982500
45 EdHaazerKawasaki Z100019791200
62 RobertRuwoldtKawasaki Harris F119801200
5 ColinEdwardsSuzuki XR6919831200
43 JasonPridmoreYamaha FJ-120019801200
98JakeZemkeCMB FJ1300—-—-
Island Classic 2018

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