Stu­pen­dous Is­land Clas­sic

Old Bike Australasia - - RACE REPORTS ISLAND CLASSIC - Re­port Jim Scays­brook Pho­tos Sue Scays­brook, IRPR and Phil Pur­due

The 21st run­ning of the AMCN In­ter­na­tional Is­land Clas­sic must go down as one of the great­est-ever meet­ings in His­toric rac­ing. A mas­sive crowd, eclips­ing even that for the World Su­per­bikes at the same venue, wit­nessed two days of elec­tri­fy­ing rac­ing across vir­tu­ally ev­ery cat­e­gory, of which there were many. 340 rid­ers with 490 dif­fer­ent mo­tor­cy­cles pro­vided a colourful and var­ied en­try, with healthy grids in vir­tu­ally all classes with the ex­cep­tion of the ail­ing Pre War cat­e­gory. Star at­trac­tion was 20-times TT win­ner John McGui­ness rid­ing a Har­ris Honda owned by Cairns busi­ness­man Ian Hop­kins, and al­though he gave it his all, it wasn’t enough to stay in touch with the lead­ers. “I un­der­es­ti­mated how fast the rac­ing is around here, do­ing 37s on bikes that are 30 years old,” he said. “I have been wel­comed by ev­ery­one, the at­mos­phere has been su­perb, and it just has been an amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ence all round. I cer­tainly hope to re­turn in 2015.”

The head­line act was of course the Tah­bilk In­ter­na­tional Chal­lenge, which brought to­gether 12-rider squads from Aus­tralia, New Zealand, USA and Great Bri­tain, but de­spite the pre-race hype that pre­dicted a UK vic­tory for the first time in the event’s his­tory, the depth of talent in the home squad proved the de­cid­ing fac­tor. From the mo­ment the first of the four Chal­lenge races got un­der way, there was drama, with vet­eran Rob­bie Phillis crash­ing spec­tac­u­larly at the Hayshed on the open­ing lap, de­stroy­ing the brand new Suzuki XR69 owned by Rodger Arnold and bring­ing out the red flags. Af­ter a mon­u­men­tal bat­tle, the race went to Ir­ish­man Jeremy McWil­liams from hard-charg­ing TT-win­ner Cam Don­ald, who will sit out the over­seas

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