Island Classic 2017 – International Challenge Race Three
By Trevor Hedge
Another beautiful morning greeted the large crowds at Phillip Island this morning as the huge schedule of events kept them entertained ahead of the third International Challenge race which got underway at 1105
Jeremy McWilliams had made a clean sweep of the weekend thus far, and the Northern Irishman had a new specification Bridgestone to run this morning, and was gunning for a new lap record.
As the lights went out Shawn Giles and Peter Hickman scorched off the line ahead of McWilliams as Chas Hern, Jed Metcher, Paul Byrne, Alex Phillis and Glen Richards gave chase.
Hern pushed McWilliams back to fourth place in the latter stages of the opening lap while Giles continued to stretch away from the field a little as they started lap two.
Just when it looked as though Giles might escape, his pursuers started closing him down through Southern Loop and Stoner Corner as McWilliams made his way past Hern and Hickman to claim second place.
McWilliams tailed Giles through turn 12 before popping out of the slipstream, the benefit of his more enveloped fairing clearly evident, allowing him to take the lead from the Suzuki man as they commenced lap three. Halfway through that third lap Hickman pushed Giles further back to third, up front McWilliams had pulled the pin and was pulling away.
A 1m36.388 to McWilliams on that lap three, lowering the lap record by half-a-second on what was his only second flying lap of the day.
Glen Richards was in a strong fifth position before running in too deep at turn four and losing more than a dozen positions in the process.
Jed Metcher, Alex Phillis and Paul Byrne were engaged in a heady battle for fourth place.
Shawn Giles tried valiantly on the final lap to take the challenge back to Hickman for that second place but it was Hickman that maintained that advantage to make it a Team UK 1-2 at the chequered flag, McWilliams taking the win by two-seconds from his countryman.
Alex Phillis won that battle for fourth place by a nose ahead of Metcher and Byrne, only three-hundredths of a second separating that trio at the line.
Derek Sheils claimed more handy points for Team Ireland with seventh place just ahead of Steve Martin.
Chas Hern battled with John McGuinness over ninth place but it was the 23-time TT winner that had the edge on the line to claim ninth with Hern rounding out the top ten.
Island Classic 2017 – International Challenge Race Three Results
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