Team America for 2020 International Challenge announced


Team America have thrown down the gauntlet to defending champion Australia ahead of the 2020 International Island Classic, which will run at the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit this coming Australia Day long weekend (January 24-26).

Island Classic RCimage Larry Pegram
Larry Pegram – Image by Russell Colvin

America’s 12-rider squad for the International Challenge teams’ event not only boasts three riders who finished in the top six of the individual standings in 2019 – Josh Hayes, Larry Pegram and Michael Gilbert – but it’s now also added seven-time Canadian superbike champion Jordan Szoke and former AMA front-runner Taylor Knapp to its ever-strengthening roster.

Island Classic RCimage Josh Hayes Race
Josh Hayes #4 – Image Russ Colvin

Team America also boasts the first woman to take part in the International Challenge – Melissa Paris, who made her professional debut in the 2009 and has world supersport, world endurance, AMA and Spanish CEV experience on her vast CV.

Melissa is the wife of Josh Hayes and said on her inclusion in the US squad, “After hearing what a great time Josh had last January I’m so pumped to go this year!”

Husband Hayes is expected to be a powerhouse for Team America, and the four-time AMA superbike champion – and second on the all-time race winner’s list behind Aussie Mat Mladin – will have fond memories of winning the fourth and final International Challenge race in 2019 on his Yamaha FJ1250.

Josh Hayes

“In the first race of 2019 I was quite taken back by the level of competition on these classic era bikes. Even got my feelings hurt a few times!” said Hayes of his 2019 Island Classic debut. But when I was able to win the 4th and final Challenge race, and returned to our pit to find the captains of all the other teams there to celebrate alongside us, I knew this was a special event, more about 2 wheel passion than business, and something that I wanted to continue to be a part of. In 2019 I was able to test the Mojo Yamaha a handful of times.

Island Classic RCimage Josh Hayes Profile
Josh Hayes – Image Russ Colvin

“Also, I rode in MotoAmerica’s Supersport races at seven events; racing for my wife’s MP13 Racing Yamaha, with her also as my crew chief. The 2020 Island Classic is going to be a family event for me this year with my wife, Melissa, and my 2yr old son, Hawk, joining me. Even better is that Melissa will be riding a Mojo Yamaha TZ-750 in the International Classic races. With her experience of riding all types of motorcycles, and all over the world, I think she will be a strong asset for the American team. For her and Hawk to get to experience Australia again with me also, is just icing on the cake.”

Island Classic RCimage Josh Hayes Metcher
Josh Hayes #4 – Image Russ Colvin

The final race victory of 2019 catapulted Hayes to third in the individual standings on a countback ahead of Aussie Shawn Giles, while Pegram and Gilbert were fifth and sixth.

Dave Crussell will once again captain the American squad, and also on his roster are Jorge Gurero, Joe Pethoud, Brian Filo, Bruce Lind and Robert Ruwoldt.

2017 Island Classic - Dave Crussell
2017 Island Classic – Dave Crussell

The bike of choice for the majority of the team will again be the Yamaha based CMR FJ 1250, while the Americans also have three potent Yamaha TZ750 at their disposal.

America finished second in the 2019 International Challenge behind Australia and ahead of New Zealand, but the addition of Szoke, Knapp and Paris could cause some real headaches for Australia which is shooting for its 13th win in 16 starts.

Jordan Szoke IMGBrianCouture
Jordan Szoke – Image by Brian Couture

The Australian team for the International Challenge features David Johnson, Shawn Giles, Jed Metcher, Craig Ditchburn, Aaron Morris, Scott Webster, Cameron Donald, Steve Martin, Beau Beaton, John Allen and Alex Phillis.

Meanwhile, the United Kingdom returns to the Interactional Challenge arena in 2020 with a new-look team, which will be announced next week.


Grab your 2020 Island Classic tickets today

The Island Classic, is now in its 27th year, is the largest historic motorcycle racing event in the Southern Hemisphere. The weekend honours a century of motorcycling in three action-packed days, with the International Challenge just one element of an event that celebrates the splendour of historic racing across all levels.

Island Classic RCimage Larry Pegram Metcher Pack
2019 Island Classic – Image by Russell Colvin

As well the International Challenge, the Island Classic includes 52 other races for machines across the six historic racing categories: Veteran (up to 1919), Vintage (1920-1945), Classic (1946-1962), Post Classic (1963-1972), Forgotten Era (1973-1982) and New Era (1983-1990).

Individual accolades will also include the Phil Irving Perpetual Trophy, awarded to the rider who accrues the most points outside the International Challenge races, for the highest scorer in the non-International Challenge events.

IIC Phillip Island Rob Mott Sunday Start Aaron Morris Steve Martin
2019 Island Classic – Image by Rob Mott

Qualifying will begin on Friday for all classes, followed by a full program of racing on Saturday and Sunday. For more information and tickets, visit www.islandclassic.com.au (link). Pre-purchase and save on general admission and camping tickets, with children under 15 free.

IIC Phillip Island RbMotoLens Classic Q Glenn HINDLE

Island Classic Images | Gallery A

2020 Island Classic Images Gallery A by Rob Mott
IIC Phillip Island RbMotoLens r IC Q Jed Metcher

Jed Metcher leads all Aussie top five in qualifying | Island Classic

2020 Island Classic Qualifying Images by Rob Mott The never ending battle between man and the vagaries of historic machinery played out in earnest under clear...
Josh Hayes Melissa

Fast husband and wife duo spearhead Team America | Island Classic

2020 Island Classic Hayes, Paris and a young Hawk Team Australia may have its stable of superstars competing in the 2020 International Island Classic at Phillip...
Island Classic Header x

Australia v America v the UK | 2020 Island Classic this weekend

2020 Island Classic For an Australia Day long weekend getaway with a historic high-horsepower twist and a spot of seaside camping thrown in, head to...
Jordan Szoke Kawasakip

Canadian Superbike legend Jordan Szoke up for Island Classic

18-time Canadian Road Race Champ for Island Classic Multi-time Canadian superbike champion Jordan Szoke is embracing the big chill ahead of his maiden appearance at...
Island Classic RCimage Steve Martin Pack

Australia vs America for 2020 Oceania Historic Road Race Cup

2020 International Island Classic Preview Australia will take on America in the 2020 FIM Oceania Historic Road Race Cup over the Australia Day long weekend...
Hasse Gustafson will race The Blue Lunatic at Phillip Island

Team UK line-up confirmed for 2020 Island Classic

2020 Island Classic Team UK 2020 UK team captain, Tony Hart, has confirmed his squad for this January’s International Challenge at Phillip Island’s Island Classic historic...
Island Classic preview Img R Colvin Australia International Challenge win

Team Australia revealed for 2020 International Island Classic

2020 International Island Classic Preview Team Australia have announced an impressive line-up of riders for the International Challenge at next year's 2020 International Island Classic, which will...
Chas Hern on the T Rex FJ1200 Yamah leads eventual championship winner Aaron Morris also on a FJ1200 and Stephen Kairl off the front straight in the Period 6 Unlimited field

Historic Road Race Nationals heads to Mount Gambier in 2020

2020 Australian Historic Road Racing Motorcycling Australia have announced that the Mount Gambier Motor Cycle Club Inc. will be hosting the 2020 Australian Historic Road...
Aaiden Coote st Place Period Formula

Australian Historic Road Race Champions crowned at Collie

2019 Australian Historic Road Racing Championship Collie Motorplex - By John Innes Western Australian Photographer and Journalist John Innes gives us the race report from the...