Australian riders Beau Beaton and Brendan Roberts are looking forward to taking on “junior burger” status in the Australian team for the 2014 Australian Motorcycle News International Island Classic at Phillip Island this Australia Day weekend (January 24-26).
The 20-something pair link up with Australian team riders like Cam Donald (still in his 30s), Steve Martin, Shawn Giles (both on the good side of 45), and ‘real’ veterans like Rob Phillis and Malcolm Campbell (both on the wrong side of 55) to take on New Zealand, the United Kingdom and America in the prestigious teams’ event.
“When I was growing up I idolised riders like Campbell, Phillis and Martin, and to be racing with them at Phillip Island every year is a real privilege,” said Beaton who hails from Coffs Harbour. “And there’s a real bond between the riders, young or old, especially as we have a common goal – to make sure we keep on beating the UK.
“I reckon we’ll be too strong again this year, although it’s certainly going to be tougher with the revised scoring system.”
Beaton will again be riding the Irving Vincent Black Lightning in the 2014 Tahbilk International Challenge, which gives away 40km/h to the fastest bikes down Gardner Straight – typically UK gun Jeremy McWilliams’ Suzuki the biggest missile – but is also one of the sweetest handling bikes on the grid.
Beaton will also ride the Irving Vincent at the famed Goodwood Festival in England later this year.
Meanwhile, Adelaide’s Brendan Roberts shouldn’t have any major issues with outright horsepower, as he’ll be riding a 1294cc Suzuki Katana from the same stable as Martin and defending individual champion Giles in his first International Challenge hitout.
“I will be riding it for the first time the Thursday before the event, so there’s a little trepidation,” said Roberts whose last major scalp was the 2008 FIM 1000 Superstock championship crown. “But I am confident we’ll only have a few bugs to iron out, and I’m sure some of the ‘greybeards’ around me can offer advice.”
Roberts is now a part-time road racer, having banged himself up pretty bad at Monza in Italy when he was world superbike racing in 2009.
“That knocked me about a bit and it took the body a while to recover. I’m good now, and just enjoying this historic caper, with the Island Classic the big one.”
The UK team for the International Challenge includes McWilliams, Isle of Man hero John McGuinness who arrives in Australia tonight in preparation for the weekend’s showdown, Ryan Farquhar and Gary Johnson.
Ten rider squads will also be competing for New Zealand, under the leadership of Roger Gunn, and the US, captained by David Crussell, in a four nation battle for historic racing supremacy.
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 www.islandclassic.com.au; by calling the toll free number 1300 728 007; or at the gate from January 24-26.