Island Classic International Challenge Qualifying – By Trevor Hedge
As always the pitbays of the vast majority of Island Classic competitors resembled a field workshop with parts strewn everywhere and mechanics working feverishly making running repairs throughout the day.
Some, including Steve Martin and Cameron Donald didn’t even make it out in second qualifying as their teams could not repair their machines quick enough to get them out for the second session.
Luckily both Team Australia riders had put in very fast times in the morning session before their mishaps, Cam’s 1m38.717 from Q1 good enough for second on the grid after combined qualifying.
Brendan Roberts (1m38.722) and Steve Martin (1m38.759) also relied on their Q1 times to fill out positions three and four respectively ahead of Jed Metcher, who also fell in the first session but was back on track in Q2 to set his fastest time of the day and the fifth best time of the field, a 1m38.823 to the 24-year old on the Katana.
During yesterday’s practice sessions both Glen Richards and Ryan Farquhar suffered engine failures and with other charges including the likes of Jeremy McWiliams, John McGuinness and Conor Cummins also running under the Team Winfield banner the highly fancied UK squad now have no more spare engines.
Jeremy McWilliams has a new bike again this year running a 1297cc engine making almost 170hp, more than 10hp more than Team UK have eked out of one their beautiful bespoke machines before. The cost for Roger to build you an engine like Jeremy’s or Ryan’s? “Around $30,000 I should imagine if I was to build one to sell,” Roger told us.
Jeremy McWilliams used those new found horses to good effect in a very windy final qualifying session to undercut the rest of the field by a full second, the marker a 1m37.644 to the Northern Irishman.
Glen Richards was the next best Team UK rider was seventh quickest ahead of Paul Young, Ryan Farquhar and Conor Cummins rounded out the top ten ahead of John McGuinness. The 21-times IOM TT winner unfortunately had his engine expire in second qualifying and with Team Winfield having no more spares at this point in time McGuinness may be forced to sit on the sidelines tomorrow unless a bike can be procured for him to ride tomorrow. Team Australia has also taken a hit with Robbie Phillis cracking a piston his XR69 Suzuki which rules him out of the remainder of the meeting.
Scroll down the page further for full combined qualifying results from the two 20-minute Island Classic International Challenge Qualifying sessions held today at Phillip Island.
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