International Challenge Race Three

Island Classic 2018

By Trevor Hedge

With Jeremy McWilliams and David Johnson sharing the wins across Saturday’s two Island Classic International Challenge bouts, and little separating Team UK and Team Australia on the points table, Sunday was shaping up as a cracker at Phillip Island today.

Temperatures were rising rapidly, with pit lane gauges indicating 30-degrees celsius by 0900 this morning, towards a forecast possible 40-degree maximum later this afternoon, putting the already fragile machines even closer to breaking point.  They are pushed way beyond anything anybody could ever have imagined possible from their origins, without excess heat, thus the conditions were to take a toll on not only the riders but also their highly strung machinery.

With Jeremy McWilliams and David Johnson holding a win a-piece Sunday was shaping up to be a cracker
With Jeremy McWilliams and David Johnson holding a win a-piece Sunday was shaping up to be a cracker

Of course, the matter of what machines in the field actually resemble anything that came out of a manufacturer’s factory, or were even raced back in the era the machines are claimed to have come from, is a never ending subject of conjecture. The sooner some stable rules for Historic Motorcycle competition are adopted globally the better.

Anyway, enough of the politics, let’s get back to the racing…

Despite the massive schedule over the weekend everything had been running incredibly smoothly, with no real hold-ups and no major oil spills.  That changed this morning with major oil down during the warm-up lap for the Formula 1300 race, which saw a GSX-R drop its lifeblood all the way from Siberia, through the Hayshed and right up to Lukey Heights. After a lengthy delay that Formula 1300 race was eventually canned due to time constraints after another red flag.

The legend Agostini on track - Image by TBG
The legend Agostini on track – Image by TBG

Giacomo Agostini held the lead up to the third of the four six-lap International Challenge bout which finally got underway at 1236 with the mercury rising further and an indicated track temperature of 54-degrees Celsius.

Riders blast off the line for the start of the 2018 Island Classic International Challenge Race Three, not amongst them Troy Corser, who was forced to start from pitlane. Image by Cameron White
Riders blast off the line for the start of the 2018 Island Classic International Challenge Race Three, not amongst them Troy Corser, who was forced to start from pitlane. Image by Cameron White

There was some upset people and conjecture before the race had even started though as some riders, including Troy Corser, did not make it out of pit-lane before officials closed the exit, despite many riders that had made it out still not even out of Southern Loop. Corser was clearly very frustrated at that turn of events, and was forced to start the race from pitlane after the rest of the field had already fired their way down the straight and the last of which were entering turn one.

David Johnson was the early leader as Colin Edwards pushed his way through to second place ahead of Peter Hickman and Jeremy McWilliams.

David Johnson scored the holeshot and was already this far ahead of Colin Edwards by Siberia on lap one - Image by TBG
David Johnson scored the holeshot and was already this far ahead of Colin Edwards by Siberia on lap one – Image by TBG

McWilliams moved past Hickman at turn four, ran wide, but gathered it up to hold on to that third placed position as they headed towards Siberia.

Up front though David Johnson had pulled the pin, the South Australian two-seconds ahead of Edwards, who had a very small buffer over McWilliams, Hickman, Dan Linfoot, Glen Richards and Paul Byrne.

By the end of the second lap Troy Corser was already up to 13th place and battling with Shawn Giles and Steve Martin.

Troy Corser - Image by TBG Photography
Troy Corser – Image by TBG Photography

Team UK riders McWilliams, Hickman and Linfoot blew past the Texas Tornado early on lap two, as Jason Pridmore also joined that party, quickly getting the better of countryman Edwards.

David Johnson looked untouchable up front, by half race distance Davo had four-seconds on McWilliams, who in turn now had a second over Dan Linfoot, who was now under a determined attack from Jason Pridmore, the American wants that podium in this one.

Alas, it was not to be, some sort of mechanical gremlins struck Pridmore late in the race that saw him shuffled back down the field on the final lap.

No such problems for David Johnson, who blasted to a clear four-second victory over McWilliams while it was Paul Byrne who finished strongly to claim the final step on the rostrum.

David Johnson crosses the line to claim a four-second victory in the third International Challenge race at the 2018 Island Classic - Image by Cameron White
David Johnson crosses the line to claim a four-second victory in the third International Challenge race at the 2018 Island Classic – Image by Cameron White

Fastest lap of the race also to Johnson with a 1m37.264 on his first flying lap.

Glen Richards claimed fourth ahead of Dan Linfoot while Beau Beaton brought the Irving Vincent home in sixth ahead of Peter Hickman.

Troy Corser gesticulated wildly at the officials as he crossed the line in a brilliant eighth place. After starting perhaps as far back as 30-seconds or more from many of the riders he managed to pass before the end of the six-lap distance, this was a fantastic performance from the two-time World Superbike Champion, who does not seem to have lost much of the drive and determination that took him to those crowns. In that fight from the back of the pack the 46-year-old set the second fastest lap of the race.

The fast paced race schedule at this massive event means that riders get about 30-seconds from pitlane being opened to make it out on to the track. If pitted at the far end of pitlane, it takes almost that long to make it down to the exit of pitlane, if not running the gauntlet at breackneck speed well outside of the pitlane speed limits. This was an issue that has been brought up during the weekend by other riders, including race winner, both today and yesterday, David Johnson.

However, when Corser did join the race, he has 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. There was some questions asked, and a meeting called, the result of which saw Corser relegated two rows on the grid for the final encounter.

Road Race legend Michael Rutter claimed ninth place while Colin Edwards rounded out the top ten for Team USA.

Jason Pridmore - Image by TBG Photography
Jason Pridmore – Image by TBG Photography

Jason Pridmore has been a shining light for Team USA throughout the weekend, showing enough pace to score fastest lap of the race yesterday, but his Yamaha cried enough late in that one, spewing oil all over both himself and our on-board camera.

There was some talk of trying to change engine but with only a couple of hours before the fourth and final bout, we suspect the decision might be made to abandon that effort. Still, the affable American will not have lost too much love for Phillip Island, which he declared ‘the best racetrack in the world’ when speaking with us earlier in the weekend. We hope he comes back for more! This weekend was his first sprint race start since 2010, despite that he still showed awesome speed here this weekend.

Island Classic 2018

International Challenge Race Three Results

  1. Johnson – AUS
  2. McWilliams – UK +4.030
  3. Byrne – AUS +7.309
  4. Richards – UK +8.854
  5. Linfoot – UK +9.267
  6. Beaton – AUS +10.046
  7. Hickman – UK +10.725
  8. Corser – AUS +10.929
  9. Rutter – UK +11.492
  10. Edwards – USA +11.997
  11. Giles – AUS +13.824
  12. Zemke – USA +13.860
  13. Martin – AUS +17.051
  14. Ditchburn – UK +25.006
  15. Johnston – UK +25.080
  16. Webster – AUS +34.892
  17. Long – USA +39.904
  18. Hindle – NZ +49.532

International Challenge Team Points

  1. Australia 515
  2. UK 508
  3. USA 389
  4. NZ 255
David Johnson dominates race three
David Johnson dominates race three
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—-—-
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