Phillip Is­land Clas­sic

In­ter­na­tional Is­land Clas­sic

Old Bike Australasia - - CONTENTS - Re­port Jim Scaysbrook Pho­tos Rus­sell Colvin and Jim Scaysbrook

25-27 Jan­uary, 2019 – Phillip Is­land GP Cir­cuit, Vic.

Although the Great Bri­tain team was miss­ing, the 2019 run­ning of the In­ter­na­tional Clas­sic at Phillip Is­land was a crack­ing event, with some out­stand­ing per­for­mances and su­perb rac­ing across most classes. The head­line event drew teams from de­fend­ing hold­ers Aus­tralia, USA and New Zealand. 4-times AMA Su­per­bike Cham­pion Josh Hayes led the US team, and im­proved with ev­ery lap, fi­nally snatch­ing a win in the fourth and fi­nal en­counter. In qual­i­fy­ing, it was 26-year old Aaron Mor­ris, from New­cas­tle, who claimed pole po­si­tion on a Suzuki Katana, and he main­tained the form to take out race one on Satur­day from Jed Metcher and Hayes. How­ever this open­ing en­counter was red-flagged and restarted af­ter a huge ac­ci­dent at Turn 11 when US team star Ja­son Prid­more high-sided from his Yamaha, which was then struck by Beau Beaton on the Irv­ing Vin­cent. Prid­more re­ceived mul­ti­ple leg and shoul­der in­juries while Beaton, who was thrown heav­ily into the gravel trap, had lower back in­juries. Both were air-lifted to Al­fred Hospi­tal in Mel­bourne. In Race Two it was Mor­ris again af­ter hunt­ing down Hayes, and it be­came an al­lAus­tralian podium with Steve Martin and Paul Byrne fill­ing the plac­ings. It looked like Mor­ris would be un­touch­able in Sun­day’s en­coun­ters, but his Suzuki was be­set with gear­box is­sues, as was David John­son’s Har­ris/Suzuki XR69. Mor­ris’ mis­for­tune saw Martin grab the win ahead of fel­low sea­soned cam­paigner Shawn Giles and a limp­ing Mor­ris. The fi­nal en­counter saw Hayes hit his straps, fin­ish four sec­onds clear of Martin, with Alex Phillis, rid­ing for the NZ team in third. The re­sult gave Aus­tralia the over­all win with 676 points, from USA (634) and NZ (460). Top point scorer Steve Martin took out the an­nual Ken Woot­ton Per­pet­ual Tro­phy from Mor­ris, with Hayes and Giles tied for third.

Of course, there is more to this meet­ing than the In­ter­na­tional Chal­lenge, and there were plenty of out­stand­ing per­for­mances in other classes. Un­for­tu­nately, the Side­cars were not on the pro­gram due to in­suf­fi­cient en­tries. In the 500 Clas­sic class, Amer­i­can Tim Joyce, mul­ti­ple AHRMA 500 cham­pion on com­pa­triot Mau­rice Candy’s highly-de­vel­oped Manx Nor­ton, took on ‘seven­ties star

Aus­tralian team mem­bers cel­e­brate win­ning the 2019 In­ter­na­tional Chal­lenge.

Aaron Mor­ris starred in the open­ing two In­ter­na­tional en­coun­ters, only to have the gear­box of his Katana break.

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