Australia has held off a surging Team America to win the 2020 FIM Oceania Historic Road Race Cup at the 27th International Island Classic, with the locals’ 704-point haul securing victory over rivals America by just 13 points (691 points).
For 2020, the Cup’s competition focused on the International Challenge, with the top five performers from each country combining their points in a bid to win the crown.
Albury’s Alex Phillis was the star performer – claiming two wins, a second and a third across the four six lap races – to lead the Australian effort and be awarded the best individual performer on the grid aboard his Suzuki 1260. Also securing the Ken Wootton trophy with his 157-point haul (2-1-1-3).
Just behind was Melbourne polesitter Jed Metcher who produced four podium places (3-2-2-2) on his Yamaha FJ to amass 155 points, racing at the front of the pack throughout the meet to make a major contribution to the Australian victory.
It was far from an easy victory, with the Americans taking it to the Aussies in every race. Their major nemesis was Californian ace Josh Hayes – a multi AMA champion – who at 43, still possesses the speed and competitive grit that has seen him amass 83 career wins across many classes over a brilliant motorcycling career.
Hayes had his work cut out from him for the literal start – thanks to engine issues in qualifying relegating him to grid position 7 for each race and a testing third row start.
It was only his second visit to Phillip Island, but he came out fighting early to win the first race and capped off the weekend with victory in the fourth battle. In race two and three, he campaigned at the front and returned a 5th and a 3rd to be the top performing American and finish with an individual tally of 154 points.
While the Australians took the win at their home circuit, congratulations also went to the Dave Crussell captained Americans. Some had never experienced the demanding 4.445km circuit and were learning its high-speed demands and fast-flowing corners as the weekend went on.
Backing Hayes aboard the Mojo Yamahas were the impressive efforts of Californian road tester Michael Gilbert (7-6-7-4), Ohio racer Larry Pegram (4-3-6-14), Canadian champion Jordan Szoke (11-8-10-5) and Alabama’s Taylor Knapp (8-9-9-8). They consistently raced in the top ten and filled positions fifth to eight in the individual tally.
TEAM AUSTRALIA TOP 5
|Alex Phillis||1980 Suzuki 1260 XR69||157|
|Jed Metcher||1984 Yamaha FJ1200||155|
|Steve Martin||1982 Suzuki Katana||144|
|Beau Beaton||1982 Irving Vincent P5||127|
|Shawn Giles||1982 Suzuki Katana||121|
TEAM AMERICA TOP 5
|Joshua Hayes||1983 Mojo Yamaha CMRF5||154|
|Michael Gilbert||1983 Yamaha CMRFJ||140|
|Larry Pegram||1983 Yamaha CMRFJ1250||137|
|Jordan Szoke||1983 Mojo Yamaha CMR FJ||130|
|Taylor Knapp||1983 Mojo Yamaha CMR FJ||130|