Jed Metcher says “I’m ready for Classic” – Aiden Wagner on target for WSS wildcard outing
Laurie Fyffe has engine dramas with Harris – Michael Dibb rides the FJ – Russell Colvin
With just two weeks until the twenty-second running of the AMCN International Island Classic, Victoria’s Jed Metcher has had his final shakedown on the Scott Owen Racing Developments Katana at a the Phillip Island Ride day yesterday. Metcher was accompanied by his Race Center crew Chief Darren Sciberras and team for the shakedown test as Race Center will run in partnership with Scott Owen Racing Developments for the prestigious event which is Australia’s largest historic motorcycle race meeting, and the third largest motorcycling event on the Australian calendar behind the MotoGP and World Superbikes.
The team’s preparations for the event have been a little interrupted with an unplanned factory move for Owen, however things are now starting to come together. Time on the bike has been very limited but even with only seventeen laps on the beautiful Katana, Metcher is already feeling comfortable and managed to squeeze out times estimated to be 1min40.0 lap around the 4.445km iconic seaside circuit.
The 2011 FIM European 600 Superstock champion walked away ready for his first hit out at the Island Classic.
“This test was a really important one, as next time we hit the track on this Katana, it will be for real,” said Metcher. “I’m quite happy with the setup improvements that have been made since last time I rode the bike at Broadford in November.
“Having Darren Sciberras and the Race Center team with me really helps get the setup dialled in quickly as we know each other so well.
“Scotty has been working really hard developing a more powerful engine on the workbench which should be ready for the event and a big help.”
Yesterday’s shakedown was also the first time that Metcher has ridden without three plates and nine screws in his left foot after getting them taken out just two weeks ago. “I felt ok out there. It’s only sore when I get off the bike, but on the bike I am able to put as much pressure on it as needed. To be able to ride at such a fantastic circuit, which is so smooth and flowing, just makes it that little bit easier to cope with an injury.
“I have a few more weeks until the Island Classic, so I’ll keep training as hard as I can and I’m sure I will be 100 per cent ready to fight come the last weekend of January.”
Metcher also gave his thoughts about what it will mean to race at this iconic event, by saying; “I am really, really looking forward to the Island Classic. I have heard so much about the event and I even watched the Island Classic DVD a few weeks ago which has made me even more excited after seeing that there were over 450 bikes at one race event. To have the event at one of the best race tracks in the world just makes it an amazing spectacle! I would urge any motorcycle fan, young or old to get down to Phillip Island and check out the event out!”
Scott Owen told MCNews.com.au, “A lot of work and hours were put in to get ready for today’s test day. Overall I’m happy with the test results. However we have a few things to tweak before the Island Classic! We had some brake issues, also the ignition pick up lost the magnet which caused the bike to stop at turn one. It took a while to find the problem and rectify, but to go out in the last session and do a 1min40 flat, I’m very happy with that seeing it was done on old tyres and our base engine!”
Owen is currently building a new spec engine which should produce another 20HP.
“I have to thank Jed for jumping on board to ride this Katana. He is such a genuine and talented rider, and an all-round great guy. The feedback that Jed is giving us is helping us to have the bike running at its best! I Have to say a huge thanks to Race fuels Pvt Ltd down in Southbank, Castrol and Byrners Suzuki in Seaford who have jumped on board with project which has made this project doable.”
Other riders who were also present at the island having a final run around before the Island Classic was Laurie Fyffe and Michael Dibb.
For Fyffe, his test on the 1980 Suzuki Harris was over very quickly after suffering a mechanical drama on the Monday which resulted him hitting the deck. While his Harris was sidelined, he was able to get some track time in on Matt Fyffe’s Suzuki GSXR-600, as his son was also having his first go on an Aprilia RSV4 over the two days.
For Dibb, it was a positive day yesterday as he took the reigns on Rex Wolfenden’s Yamaha FJ1200. With Paul Young set to race the famous red Honda Harris, which has seen Dibb race for the past few years, Dibb will now line up on the FJ1200 in the P6 class. Dibb lapped the Phillip Island circuit in the mid 40’s and later said, “I am continually amazed at Rex’s motorcycle mastery! His ability take a bike chop it all up, change wheels, geometry and everything and then for the bike to perform so strong first time out of the box is just phenomenal. Sure we have cut a few laps at Broadford before but that was its first go at the island and it was just awesome. The bike was so ‘grunty’ yet stable and confidence inspiring. Bring on P6 at the classic!”
Meanwhile the reigning ASC Supersport champion Aiden Wagner was also on hand putting in countless laps as he and the Oz Wildcard Racing team prepare for the World Supersport wildcard in February. Wagner told MCNews.com.au that the last two days were very successful as they were testing little bits and pieces for the WSS bikes.
“It’s hard to push for a lap time on ride days, however we managed to do a 1min35.7 early on the first day of testing as the track was a lot less full of traffic,” said Wagner. “It was not too bad for a ride day but, we really are looking forward to some open track test days coming up soon to push for some better times.”
Wagner was also still running on production Pirelli tyres and has expressed his ‘excitement’ about running on the proper World Supersport Pirelli tyre so the team can and get the bike dialled in on those sets of boots.
“A huge thanks must go to Oz Wildcard Racing team for all the hard efforts and to all my sponsors who make it possible for me to get seat time,” added the likeable twenty year old. “I’m really enjoying riding the WSS bike and can’t wait to get amongst the world riders in weeks to come!”
Wagner is aiming for a top ten finish at Phillip Island in February.