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Latest News By December 19, 2013 February 4th, 2020

Australia names star-studded Island Classic team

Australia names star-studded Island Classic team

NZ, UK and USA squads announced

Local hard charger Steve Martin is confident that Australia will more than meet the threat of a strengthened United Kingdom outfit – and against a backdrop of visitor-friendly rule changes – when the International Challenge teams’ trophy is held at the 2014 Australian Motorcycle News International Island Classic in Phillip Island from January 24-26.

Squads were announced today for the marquee event of the Classic, the Tahbilk International Challenge, featuring teams from Australia, the UK, the USA and New Zealand.

Martin is one of 12 riders in the Australian squad at the now-iconic historic motorcycle meeting, alongside such luminaries as Shawn Giles, Rob Phillis, Cam Donald, Malcolm Campbell and Beau Beaton, who all competed at the 2013 event.

But it wasn’t only the top-tier practitioners who helped Australia continue its unbeaten run in the 2013 Challenge – its extraordinary depth also played a vital role, as it has since the trophy was inaugurated back in 2005.

That ‘loophole’ has now been closed in 2014, with the winning country to be determined according to points accumulated by the top five riders in each country across the four six-lap races.  Previously, points – or a lack thereof – were awarded to all 10 riders in the team.

The rule changes will give the visiting teams, the United Kingdom, the Dave Crussell led US team and New Zealand under the helm of Kevin Grey, a real chance of winning in 2014.  This is especially true for the UK outfit which has been fortified with the inclusion of Isle of Man legend John McGuinness to compete alongside Jeremy McWilliams, the individual winner in two of the last three years, and fellow blue-chip talent Gary Johnson, Mike Edwards and Steve Brogan. McGuinness is a 20-time winner at the Isle of Man, second only to the incomparable Joey Dunlop.

Martin senses a UK storm is brewing, but he still believes the Aussies have too much class.

“The Poms keep on changing the rules until they win, so they’ll have to win eventually,” he said, tongue firmly in cheek. “I’m all for it. Bring them over, they can have the strongest team they want.  We’ve still got a great depth of riders.

“It’s great news to hear that John McGuinness is coming out next year. They may have the big names, but they have still got to put down the lap times. One thing’s for sure: I am not gonna let McGuinness beat me!”

Melbourne’s Cam Donald will race a Suzuki XR69 in the International Challenge and is looking forward to taking on his Isle of Man sparring partner, the UK’s John McGuinness.

“I won’t underestimate John because he’s a great rider and has been doing lots of short circuit racing over the last few years in world endurance events, so racing at Phillip Island isn’t going to be such a surprise for him,” said Donald, who will race a Suzuki XR69 in the International Challenge.

“We’ve had some great battles, but it will be good to take on John in my own backyard for a change.

“John is definitely going to make it a lot harder for Australia to win. McWilliams is also brilliant and Brogan is an exceptional rider as well.”

McGuinness will be making his first appearance at Phillip Island, having been forced to sit out the Australian round of the world supersport title in 2002 with injury when he was a full-time campaigner. Since then his career has blossomed, particular on the heart-in-mouth Isle of Man circuit, where he has 20 TT victories to his name. In one of those – the Senior TT in 2008 – McGuinness was gifted victory after the blindingly fast Donald ran into mechanical problems.

Last year, Australia’s Shawn Giles won the individual component of the 2013 International Challenge, ahead of McWilliams, Donald and another Aussie, Michael Dibb. The icing on the cake for Giles was a new historic lap record of 1:36.920 – tearing strips off Martin’s former mark of 1:38.666, set in 2012.

The searing pace in 2013 was aided and abetted by the recently resurfaced Phillip Island layout, with the historics the first major class to get a taste of the new bump-free 4.45km layout.

The 12-rider Australian squad for the 2014 Tahbilk International Challenge will eventually be trimmed to 10 for the races by Aussie captain Rex Wolfenden. The same number of pilots will also compete for the UK, New Zealand and American teams.

Proposed Australian team
Team Captain Rex Wolfenden
Riders Bike Year Capacity
Shawn Giles Suzuki Katana 1982 1294
Steve Martin Suzuki Katana 1982 1294
Robbie Phillis Suzuki XR69 1982 1230
Malcolm Campbell Honda RS 1980 1220
Beau Beaton Irving Vincent Black Lightning 1978 1300
Cameron Donald Suzuki XR69 1981 1260
Michael Dibb Honda Harris F1 1982 1150
Brendan Roberts Suzuki Katana 1982 1260
Stuart Loly Suzuki GSX 1980 1170
Laurie Fyffe Suzuki GSX1100 1980 1100
Scott Webster Moto-Martin Kawasaki 1980 1200
Peter Mizzi Honda CB1100R 1980 1100

The Tahbilk International Challenge competitors are on track all three days of competition with two races scheduled for Saturday and two races for Sunday.

Tickets are family priced, with children 15 and under, accompanied by an adult FREE.   Adult three-day GA is $70, Adult Sunday only GA is $45.  On circuit camping, purchased in advance is from $55 per adult, with kids 15 and under, accompanied by a paying adult FREE.

Tickets are available by downloading a ticket form at www.islandclassic.com.au; by calling the circuit on 03 5952 2710; or at the gate at the 2014 AMCN International Island Classic from January 24-26.  For more information visit www.islandclassic.com.au

UK, USA and NZ SQUAD LISTING FOR THE TAHBILK INTERNATIONAL CHALLENGE FOLLOW…

Proposed UK Team
Team Captain Keith Higgs / Roger Winfield
Riders Bike Year Capacity
Jeremy McWilliams Suzuki Harris F1 1982 1230
John McGuinness Honda Harris F1 1982 1150
Gary Johnson Suzuki Harris F1 XR69 1982 1230
Steve Brogan Suzuki Harris F1 XR69 1982 1230
Mike Edwards Harris F1 1982 1230
Mick Godfrey Suzuki Harris F1 1982 1170
Barry Ditchburn Yamaha TZ750 1977 750
Craig Ditchburn Yamaha TZ750D 1977 750
Jim Agombar Yamaha TZ 1980 750
Clive Warner Yamaha TZ 1978 750
Rick Kwok P&M Kawasaki TTF1 1978 1230
Derek Brown Harris Magnum 1977 1260
Keith Higgs P&M Kawasaki TTF1 1978 1260
Phil Davenport Yamaha TZF 1979 350
Proposed New Zealand team
Team Captain Kevin Grey
Riders Bike Year Capacity
Kevin Grey Suzuki McIntoch 1982 1135
Roger Gunn Suzuki Katana 1982 1300
Russell Keen Suzuki GSX 1981 1100
Trevor Taylor Yamaha TZF 1979 368
John Reid Yamaha XJ550 1981 570
Glen Hindle Suzuki GSX1100 1980 1170
Glen Crutchley P & M Kawasaki 1979 1200
Rob Ruwoldt Harris Kawasaki 1980 1200
Albert Tehennepe Kawasaki Z1000J 1980 1260
Trevor Manley Honda CBX 1981 1170
Mark McVeight Kawasaki 1000J 1980 1166
John Pace Suzuki GSX1100S 1982 1260
Alistair Maxwell Trident GSX1100 1981 1110
Proposed USA Team
Team Captain Dave Crussell
Riders Bike Year Capacity
Dave Crussell Kawasaki TZ750 1980 748
Brian Filo Kawasaki P & M 1978 1200
Ottis Lance Suzuki GS1000S2 1987 1260
James McKay Kawasaki Z1R 1978 1050
Joe Weir Suzuki GS (Kat) 1982 1261
Deano Swims Suzuki Katani 1981 750
Shawn Reilly Yamanah TZ750
Rob Mesa Yamaha TZ 1978 750
Joe Pethoud Honda CB900F 1982 985
Mike Studzinski Yamaha TZ250 1978 749

{gallery}gallery/IslandClassic_2014/SquadsAnnounced_2014{/gallery}

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