Island Classic 2016

Mitchelton Wines International Challenge Race Four Report

By Trevor Hedge

Jed Metcher had taken victory for Australia in the third International Challenge race of the weekend but with mechanical gremlins striking most of the other top runners in the squad it was a disastrous race for Team Australia.

With a massive seven Team UK riders in the top ten in that third race, the UK contingent had pulled out a significant lead in the International Challenge points race, the gap out to 97-points in the UK’s favour after race three. Heading in to the final of the four races Team Ireland held down third place, 85-points behind Australia. Team USA was fourth with a 70-point buffer over Team NZ as riders prepared for the final stanza.

In the individual points Metcher trailed McWilliams by a single point, 117 to 116 in the Northern Irishman’s favour. Steve Martin was an impressive third place on 111 points with a six-point buffer over Conor Cummins.

Beau Beaton had taken victory in both race one, and race two on Saturday, but problems struck the Irving Vincent in this morning’s third and penultimate International Challenge race.

Beaton went out in the final stanza to compete on the spare bike but the task facing Team Australia heading into the final battle for the outright war victory was herculean.

Shawn Giles was on his third engine for the weekend, not that he had been blowing engines, it was more of a case of excessive crankcase pressure building up inside the Katana’s engine and the oil not wanting to stay inside the cases.

Cam Donald was really struggling with a wrist injury and did not make the grid for the final race.

Over at Team UK they had been having a good day. The only serious mechanical trouble had been suffered by Glen Richards, thus the South Australian was riding Keith Higgs’ Harris framed Kawasaki in this closing bout.

Team UK started the weekend with a very low RPM limit imposed on the Winfield bikes, 9500rpm for early on in the meeting, 10,000rpm for the opening races then for this last race the machines of McWilliams and McGuinness had their rpm limits raised yet again, an extra degree of ignition advance also dialled into the #99 machine of McWilliams’, along with some tweaks to the riding position to try and help the 51-year-old get further off the bike in the corners, that change in the aim of allowing the Northern Irishman to carry a little less lean angle.

A single point separated McWilliams and Metcher heading into this final bout for individual honours, there was no doubt about how much they wanted those individual honours, and it was all going to come down to this final six-lap, 26.7km race distance…

Island Classic 2016 - International Challenge Race Four Start
Island Classic 2016 – International Challenge Race Four Start

As the lights went out one rider not to proceed was Paul Byrne on the McIntosh Suzuki, a blow to the popular Irishman as he was ranked sixth for individual honours after race three, and was almost certain of a top ten result in the individual trophy. It was also a blow to Team Ireland, but the Eire squad still looked likely to secure third position in the International Challenge ahead of Team USA.

No such problems for Jed Metcher on the T-Rex Honda, the Victorian put in a 1m44s from a standing start then backed it up with a 1m37.5 on the second lap to quickly start pulling away from the field.

The battle for second place was being waged by McWilliams and Beaton, while Steve Martin gave chase.

Island Classic 2016 - International Challenge Race Four - Jed Metcher leads Jeremy McWilliams - Image by Brendan Murphy
Island Classic 2016 – International Challenge Race Four – Jed Metcher leads Jeremy McWilliams – Image by Brendan Murphy

Beau Beaton sneaked past McWilliams as the race broached the halfway mark but it was clear neither of them had an answer for Metcher. The 25-year-old had pulled an escape act, individual honours would be his if he made no mistakes and the T-Rex machine managed to keep its con-rods inside its cases, if McWilliams took second place they would be joint winners of the Ken Wootton Memorial Trophy for individual honours, if Beaton sneaked past the Irishman the outright honours would be Metcher’s alone.

Steve Martin was running a strong fourth place, with a handy lead over fifth placed Conor Cummins, that pair fighting it out for third outright on the individual rankings. Shawn Giles joined that party with two laps to go, pushing Cummins back to sixth, helping his TBR/D&D Suzuki Katana teammate towards that outright points podium.

Metcher got the last lap board with a three-second buffer over McWilliams, and went on to secure the win by 2.6-seconds over the Northern Irishman, while Beaton had to settle for third, five-seconds ahead of Steve Martin.

With that win Metcher tied on points with McWilliams, the two sharing Ken Wootton Memorial Trophy joint individual honours. While Steve Martin will take third in the individual honours.

Island Classic 2016 - International Challenge Race Four - Jed Metcher and Jeremy McWilliams - Image by Brendan Murphy
Island Classic 2016 – International Challenge Race Four – Jed Metcher and Jeremy McWilliams – Image by Brendan Murphy

Outright Team honours though, for the second year in succession, go to Team UK, and by a very handy 99-point margin indeed.  Australia second ahead of an impressive third placed debut for Team Ireland while Team USA took fourth ahead of NZ.

Island Classic 2016 – International Challenge Race Four Results
  1. Jed Metcher
  2. Jeremy McWilliams +2.67
  3. Beau Beaton +3.44
  4. Steve Martin +8.85
  5. Shawn Giles +10.32
  6. Conor Cummins +10.56
  7. Ryan Farquhar +14.53
  8. John McGuinness +14.54
  9. James Hillier +28.10
  10. John Allen +33.24
  11. Pat Mooney +36.35
  12. Craig Ditchburn +36.38
  13. Glen Richards +39.57
  14. Scott Webster +46.21
  15. John Walsh +46.37
Island Classic 2016 – International Challenge Team Points
  1. Team UK 693
  2. Team Australia 594
  3. Team Ireland 421
  4. Team USA 355
  5. Team NZ 289
Island Classic 2016 - Team UK Victorious for the second year in a row - Image by Russ Colvin
Island Classic 2016 – Team UK Victorious for the second year in a row – Image by Russ Colvin
Island Classic 2016 – Ken Wootton Memorial Trophy Individual Points
  1. Jed Metcher 156
  2. Jeremy McWilliams 156
  3. Steve Martin 148
  4. Conor Cummins 140
  5. John McGuinness 133
  6. Ryan Farquhar 132
  7. Glen Richards 132
  8. James Hillier 119
  9. Beau Beaton 118
  10. Craig Ditchburn 115
  11. Paul Byrne 102
  12. Ben Rea 96
  13. John Allen 89
  14. John Walsh 85
  15. Scott Webster 83
Island Classic 2016 - International Challenge Race Four - Jed Metcher and Beau Beaton - Image by Brendan Murphy
Island Classic 2016 – International Challenge Race Four – Jed Metcher and Beau Beaton – Image by Brendan Murphy
CATEGORY WINNERS – 2016 AMCN 23RD INTERNATIONAL ISLAND CLASSIC
  • 125cc FORGOTTEN ERA: Bernie Summers
  • 125cc NEW ERA: Tate Coghill
  • 125cc POST-CLASSIC: Stacey Heaney
  • 250cc CLASSIC: Darrell Bailey
  • 250cc FORGOTTEN ERA: Russell Fairbairn
  • 250cc NEW ERA PRODUCTION: Ryan Young
  • 250cc NEW ERA: Brett Simmonds
  • 250cc POST-CLASSIC: Murray Seabrook
  • 350cc POST-CLASSIC: Glenn Hindle
  • 500cc CLASSIC: Neil May
  • 500cc NEW ERA: Joe Akroyd
  • 500cc POST-CLASSIC: Tom Bramich
  • NEW ERA FORMULA 750cc: Aaron Morris
  • CLASSIC SIDECARS: Garth Francis/Paul Kenny
  • FORGOTTEN ERA SIDECARS: Anthony Vrdoljak/Corey Forde
  • POST-CLASSIC SIDECARS: Ray Smith/Amanda Smith
  • PRE-WAR: Stan Mucha
  • UNLIMITED CLASSIC: Garth Francis
  • UNLIMITED FORGOTTEN ERA – Minor: Robert Young
  • UNLIMITED FORGOTTEN ERA – Premier: Cameron Donald
  • INVITATIONAL P6 OPEN: Peter Ward
  • NEW ERA FORMULA 1300cc: Scott Campbell
  • UNLIMITED POST-CLASSIC: Dean Oughtred