Team USA organizer and multi-time AHRMA National Champion, Dave Crussell, has assembled a team of current and past championship-winning racers from across America to compete at this weekend’s AMCN International Island Classic at the Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit.
The year 2014 marks the second year in which the Americans have fielded a team in the Tahbilk International Challenge – a four nation battle between the USA, the UK, Australia and New Zealand to determine historic motorcycle racing supremacy.
By virtue of his stellar performance as top points scorer for the USA in the International Challenge in 2013, former AMA Pro racer and multi-time CMRA National Champion, Ottis “Otter” Lance, will be this year’s Team Captain, and will be riding a Jim Beam/ Motul sponsored Lone Star Motorsports 1982 Suzuki Katana 1260 Superbike on Michelins.
Another top points scorer from 2013, and once again taking part in the event, is former AMA Pro and multi-time WERA National Champion, Deano Swims. Electing to leave his winning CB1100F at home, this time Swims will return to race aboard a Sunset Racing 1982 Suzuki Katana 1200, sponsored by NZ racer, Roger Gunn. Lance has insisted that Swims be his co-captain.
Swims said: “The previous meeting was a learning experience for Team USA and we learned a lot. This time we are better prepared to be more competitive with the other teams that already have a 20-year head start on us. Even though this event features historic machines, these guys are serious! The camaraderie at this meeting is so awesome that it reminds me of how much fun racing was back in the old days. Our goal as a team is to continue to improve our results, gain attention back in the States, and persuade some of the great AMA Champions of the past to come out of retirement for some old-school fun!”
In 2014, the team will be focusing on the International Challenge in the P5 Forgotten Era Superbike Category (1972-82).
Dave Crussell will be aboard one of his 1978 CMR TZ750’s. Crussell will also field four other riders on his machines. Brian Filo, current AHRMA racer and one of the top points scorers in 2014, will ride a full-on 1978 P&M Kawasaki Z1. Current and past AFM Superbike Champions, Shawn Reilly and Rob Mesa will be aboard a 1978 Spondon TZ750 and another 1978 CMR TZ750.
James McKay, or as his closest mates call him “Jimi Mac,” will be riding the last of the Crussell machines, a 1978 Kawasaki Z1R in this year’s International Challenge event. Jimi Mac finished 3rd overall in the 2013 event and was the top American in the P6 class on his 1990 Suzuki GSXR-1100. He has also just returned from competing in the Manx GP and finished 2nd in his class at the Pikes Peak event.
Joe Weir, 2012-13 AHRMA Vintage Superbike Heavy Weight Champion will ride his 1982 Suzuki Katana 1260, and AHRMA racer Joe Pethoud of Vicious Racing will ride a 1982 Honda CB985F. Weir and Pethoud both race out of the Tenmoto Racing stables located in Portland, Oregon. Mike Studzinski will be back again in 2014 riding a 1978 Yamaha TZ750 owned and tuned by former AMA Pro F1 racer, Kurt Lentz.
The US will compete against the UK, Australia and NZ in the four six lap Tahbilk International Challenge races, designed for Period 5 bikes (Forgotten Era 1973-1982) with capacities from 350cc to 1300cc.
The UK team for the International Challenge includes Isle of Man legend, John McGuinness, former GP racer Jeremy McWilliams, Northern Ireland’s road racing ace, Ryan Farquhar and Gary Johnson.
Australia has a stellar line up including Steve Martin and Shawn Giles; Isle of Man winner Cam Donald; veterans Robbie Phillis and Mal Campbell; and young guns 2008 FIM Superstock 1000 champ, Brendan Roberts and Beau Beaton.
A new point scoring system will put the Australian team under added pressure. From 2014 the winning country will be crowned according to the finishing positions accumulated by its top five riders across four races. Previously, points – or a lack thereof – were awarded to all ten riders in the team.
Since its inception in 2005, the Aussies have dominated the International Challenge, with nine straight victories. The new system is destined to even up the playing field and discount the home ground advantage of a locally available pool of incredible two wheel talent.
The Island Classic is the southern hemisphere’s largest historic motorcycle racing event. As well as the Tahbilk International Challenge, the Classic also hosts events for solo and sidecar machinery from early last century to 1990.
Tickets are available at the gate with racing from Friday January 24 – Sunday January 26. Gate opens at 8am. For further information… www.islandclassic.com.au
Children 15 and under are free. Camping on track available.
3 Day Adult $70
Sunday Adult $45
Saturday Adult $30
Friday Adult $15
Concessions available…and remember kids 15 and under FREE on all THREE days!.