Mitchelton Wines International Challenge Race One Report
By Trevor Hedge
After a tumultuous and dramatically shortened Island Classic 2016 International Challenge qualifying session this morning, that saw Ryan Farquhar suffer a catastrophic engine failure in his Yamaha engined Harris, Team UK had to complete an engine change to the 39-year-old’s machine in the couple of hours before the opening International Challenge race got underway around 1245 this afternoon under clearing skies at Phillip Island.
The track was virtually completely dry by the time riders exited pitlane for a reduced race distance of five laps, the shortened distance due to delays in the schedule, a lap less than the originally scheduled six-lap 26.7km race distance.
Ryan Farquhar’s machine had gulped it’s first air of new life at 1215, much to the relief of Team UK. A video of the machine clearing its lungs for the first time can be seen on the MCNews.com.au Instagram account. Images of the engine damage are in our Qualifying Report.
Beau Beaton capitalised on his pole position to lead the field around the 4.445 Phillip Island circuit on the opening lap with a 1m45.1 from a standing start for the Irving Vincent.Jeremy McWilliams was one-second behind Beaton at the end of lap one as Steve Martin, Jed Metcher, Shawn Giles, John McGuinness, Conor Cummins and Paul Byrne gave chase. Paul Young fell on lap one, a rear end lose and lowside due to not enough temperature in the rear slick on the TZ750.
McWilliams reeled Beaton in throughout the early sectors of lap two but Beaton got a great run through the final turns to retain almost a full-second lead as they commenced lap three. That gap was down to half-a-second by turn four on that third lap. Jed Metcher had been the fastest man on the second lap however and had moved up third place by halfway through lap three to start closing in on the leading duo.
McWilliams took the lead early on lap four after recording a 1m38.04 lap three, a new fastest lap of the race.McWilliams then ran very wide at turn four, Beaton needed no further invitation and took the lead back for Team Australia.
McWilliams again took the lead down the chute on the Roger Winfield built machine as they got the last lap board. The fastest man on the circuit on the penultimate lap though was Jed Metcher, a 1m37.78 for the new pacesetter.
As they negotiated the final lap there was nothing between Beaton and McWilliams, while Metcher strived forward to get on terms with that duo as they wound up around turns 11 and 12 before the run to the line.
It was Beaton though that maintained the advantage, the Coffs Harbour based rider went on to take the opening race victory by a few bike lengths over McWilliams, the Northern Irishman had Jed Metcher right on his tail as they crossed the stripe.
Shawn Giles brought the Katana home in fourth place, five-seconds behind the podium getters. Steve Martin was fifth ahead of Glen Richards, John McGuinness, Conor Cummins, Paul Byrne and Ryan Farquhar rounded out the top ten. Farquhar running the spare engine in his machine, a 1260cc powerplant instead of the 1300cc donks of his teammates, and complaining of a lack of grunt.
Cameron Donald is still struggling with a wrist injury sustained in the off-season and a lack of top end speed from the McIntosh Suzuki, the two-time Isle of Man TT winner could only manage 11th place, 26.4-seconds behind the race winner.
Island Classic 2016 – International Challenge Race One Results
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